Frank Plumpton Ramsey

Here is David Papineau’s review of PF Ramey’s sister’s memoir. (See also David Mellor, 1998. Ramsey, Frank Plumpton. In E. Craig (Ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London: Routledge.)

For some geniuses, an early death accelerates the route to canonization. But for Ramsey it had the opposite effect. Ramsey’s death coincided with Ludwig Wittgenstein’s return to Cambridge after his reclusive years in the Austrian Alps. The cult surrounding Wittgenstein quickly caught fire, and for the next fifty years dominated philosophy throughout the English-speaking world. By the time it subsided, Ramsey had somehow been relegated to a minor role in history, a footnote to an archaic Cambridge of Russell, Keynes and the Bloomsbury set.


The opening paragraph to Facts and Propositions, Aristotelian Society Supplementary 1927, Volume 7, 153–170.

THE problem with which I propose to deal is the logical analysis of what may be called by any of the terms judgment, belief, or assertion. Suppose I am at this moment judging that Caesar was murdered; then it is natural to distinguish in this fact on the one side either my mind, or my present mental state, or words or images in my mind, which we will call the mental factor or factors, and on the other side either Caesar or Caesar’s murder, or Caesar and murder, or the proposition Caesar was murdered, or the fact that Caesar was murdered, which we will call the objective factor or factors, and to suppose that the fact that I am judging that Caesar was murdered consists in the holding of some relation or relations between these mental and objective factors. The questions that arise are in regard to the nature of the two sets of factors and of the relations between them, the fundamental distinction between these elements being hardly open to question.