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Frank Ramsey: Truth and Success: Belief and Truth Hardcover – 21 Nov 2002

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'A short introduction to Ramsey is very welcome. There is a good market for this book.' - Hanko Glock, University of Reading 'The proposal seems to me excellent, this is a profound and original combination of contributions to the philosophy of truth, of mind, of language, decision theory and probability theory.' - Hugh Mellor, Cambridge University 'Frank Ramsey is as important as any other British philosopher of the last century.' - David Papineau, The Philosophers' Magazine - 'For since beginning to occupy myself with philosophy again, sixteen years ago, I have been forced to recognize grave mistakes in what I wrote in that first book. I was helped to realize these mistakes - to a degree which I myself am hardly able to estimate - by the criticism which my idea encountered from Frank Ramsey, with whom I discussed them in numerable conversations during the last two years of his life.' - Ludwig Wittgenstein, preface to Philosophical Investigations -

About the Author

Jerome Dokic is "maitre de conferences" in Philosophy at the University of Rouen, and a member of the Institut Jean Nicod in Paris. He is the author of L'esprit en movement: essai sur la dynamique cognitive (2001) and has published various articles on the philosophy of language and mind.Pascal Engel is professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris-Sorbonne. He is the author of The Norm of Truth: an introduction to the philosophy of logic (1991) and the editor of New Enquiries into Meaning and Truth (1991) and Believing and Accepting (2000).

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First Sentence
Ramsey's philosophical and mathematical background was almost entirely shaped by the intellectual atmosphere of Cambridge during the 1920s, and by the writings of the great Cambridgians who surrounded him: Russell, whose Principia Mathematica he read quite early; Moore, whose essays he discussed and with whom he participated in the Moral Sciences Club; John Maynard Keynes, his mentor, whose Treatise on Probability he discussed as soon as it was published (1921); C.D. Broad, whose Scientific Thought had appeared in 1923; his friend Richard Braithwaite, but also logicians such as W.E. Johnson and philosophers such as C.K. Ogden. Read the first page
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A good,brief overview of Ramsey,but screws up on Keynes 12 July 2005
By Michael Emmett Brady - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Dokic and his coauthor,Engel, do a good job of covering the contributions of Frank Ramsey in this book.For instance,Dokic shows how Ramsey's initial, basically Platonic, view of mathematical entities( and his acceptance of the logicist attempt to base all of mathematics on logical principles) evolved and changed,moving toward an intuitionistic(Brouwer)view of the foundations of mathematics.The book is marred by Dokic's blind acceptance of Ramsey's extremely weak attack on J M Keynes's logical theory of probability that is contained in Keynes's masterpiece,the 1921 A Treatise on Probability.Dokic makes the following claims:"Ramsey makes two criticisms against Keynes.The first is that,for practically every pair of propositions,such as "This is Red" and "This is blue", we do not have the slightest idea of the probability relation between them."(Dokic,p.7).Given that Keynes's probability relations are always conditional,Dokic needed to combine tham in some fashion.Suppose we compare the conditional probability of" This is Red,given that That is red" with "This is Red,given that That is Blue".It is obvious that the first conditional probability is greater than the second,although one can not say how much greater.This problem, in the form of the red-blue books problem(just add "book" after Red or Blue) ,was covered by Keynes in chapter III of the TP to illustrate precisely that point.The point went completely over Ramsey's head.What we can't do is say that the first conditional probability is .7 and the second conditional probability is .6.Of course,Ramsey's error is to believe that all probabilities are point estimates.The second criticism of Keynes is that"...contrary to what Keynes holds,we cannot perceive these probability relations through introspection..."(Dokic,p.7).This is a mere assertion.Ramsey never supplied any deductive proof for his claim.Nor has anyone else.Finally,the foundation for Ramsey's entire approach is the claim that there exist" ethically neutral"propositions.These "propositions"are simply postulated to exist and be perceived by the individual decision maker so as to be able to always derive precise numerical probabilities,assuming that he/she is willing to bet on all propositions.This appears to be a hidden assumption of Keynes's principle of indifference,which Ramsey claimed his system of subjective probability did not need.
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