The Cambridge revolt against idealism: was there ever an Eden?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


According to one creation myth, analytic philosophy emerged in Cambridge when Moore and Russell abandoned idealism in favour of naive realism: every word stood for something; it was only after ?the Fall,? Russell's discovery of his theory of descriptions, that they realized some complex phrases (?the present King of France?) didn't stand for anything. It has become a commonplace of recent scholarship to object that even before the Fall, Russell acknowledged that such phrases may fail to denote. But we need to go further: even before the Fall, Russell had taken an altogether more discerning approach to the ontology of logic and relations than is usually recognized.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-146
Number of pages12
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012