Recent Issues

February 2004 Contents

Cover / In This Issue

Society News

Russell on Nuclear Deterrence

Generality and Disimilarity

The Russell Cambridge Companion

Early News Reports on Russell

Traveler’s Diary

traveler’s diary / conference report

I'm not afraid of planes, but I am sick of them. Instead of flying to the Eastern Division of the APA, this year I took the celebrated Acela, luxury liner of trains, a futuristic beauty with clean, comfy seats, and all the stretching and walking room you long for while airborne. I reached Washington D.C., where the conference was to be held, three hours after leaving New York's Penn Station. Washington is a lovely city: spacious, clean, and calm compared to New York's thronging masses, dirt, and anxieties. Our hotel, however, was like every other, and so was the conference – with one exception. The check-in: What! No Conference Programs! The Conference Aide explained that a delivery from the warehouse was overdue; I offered to get the programs from the warehouse myself, but apparently no one thought I was serious. Lacking a program, I felt aimless, out-of-it, deaf. I huddled in my room.

Next morning, rise and shine, grab coffee, and rush to an early morning meeting on – Russell! The session was well attended, better than recent years, and I took the opportunity to display Society related materials. Though David White couldn't attend (he'd spent all his travel money on his trip to Istanbul), I spotted other Society members in the audience and among the speakers. The papers were worth hearing and the discussion sessions especially so: Sorin Costreie (University of Western Ontario) gave the first talk, "The Epistemological Difficulty in Russell's Theory of Denoting Concepts"; Kevin Klement (University of Massachusetts-Amherst) was commentator. Next up was "Russell on Appearance, Reality and Color", delivered by Derek Brown (University of Western Ontario) and with commentary by Justin Leiber (University of Houston).

At the APA, days tend to blend into one another. Was it the first or second day that I heard the Joongal Kim speak on Frege ("Are Numbers Objects?"), while Christopher Pincock responded? At this session, Matthew McKeon's paper "Russell and Logical Ontology" prompted a longish informal conversation on Russell in which Gregory Landini grabbed the floor, patiently but urgently demanding the disentangling of problems bearing on Russell's epistemology from those belonging to his logic, and in general adding many points of clarification. The papers here segued interestingly into the last session I attended at the conference: a symposium between Peter Sullivan (University of Stirling) and Thomas Ricketts (University of Pennsylvania), with Michael Friedman (Stanford University) chairing and Michael Kremer (University of Chicago) commenting. Both speakers at this symposium addressed how to read Frege – as a man whose work is philosophical, and who is not simply a mathematician, or as a mathematician to be understood only by looking at the history of mathematics – and neither quite got around to the topic of the symposium: Analytic Philosophy: Past and Future. On this, the last day, I spent considerable time (which, we all know, is money) at the book booths, returning with aching arms and bursting bundles to the DC terminal for the quick and quiet, civilized trip home.

Rosalind Carey