Rejecting Wittgenstein’s Criticism against Russell’s Theory of Knowledge by AIDA ŞMALBELGHER

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Abstract. In this paper I reject Wittgenstein’s criticism of Russell’s theory of
knowledge. First, I present the historical context in which Russell formulated his
theory and Wittgenstein his criticism. Then, I attempt to show that Russell’s views
had the potential to develop into an important conceptual scheme relating
knowledge to mental phenomena. I argue that Wittgenstein’s criticism was a
decisive factor in Russell’s decision not to pursue his line of enquiry. But this
criticism was misdirected, as shown by the fact that Wittgenstein’s later work in
the Tractatus approached a range of problems different from those targeted by
Russell’s theory.

Keywords: history of analytic philosophy, theory of knowledge, knowledge
by acquaintance.


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