Is Motion “Contradiction’s Immediate Existence”?

  • Graham Stevens University of Manchester
  • Michaael Rush University of Birmingham


A driving concern of Russell’s rejection of Idealism was his conviction that reality is free of contradictions. However, echoing the neo-Hegelians that Russell is usually taken successfully to have refuted, Graham Priest has argued that the analysis of motion provides a motivation to adopt dialetheism (the thesis that some contradictions may be true). Furthermore, Priest argues that the Russellian account of motion as given in The Principles of Mathematics fails accurately to capture the phenomenon. In this paper we argue that Priest’s objections to Russell are neither new nor decisive. We show that even if one shares Priest’s concerns about the Russellian model there are alternatives inspired by Russell’s own contemporaries that do not entail dialetheism. We conclude that not only are Priest’s objections to Russell unconvincing, but even one who shares Priest’s intuitions has no reason to resurrect the Hegelian account of motion.