Two of a Kind: Setting the Record Straight on Russell’s Exchange with Ladd-Franklin on Solipsism


  • Adam Trybus University of Zielona Gora



On 21 August 1912 Christine Ladd-Franklin, by then an established logician, wrote a letter to Bertrand Russell. He replied on 27 September 1912, followed by another letter on 16 November of that year. After a hiatus on his side in 1913–14, they exchanged letters again in 1915. The main topic of their conversations is solipsism: a theme that was important for Russell throughout his writings. In fact, in some of his works he famously mentions his encounters with Ladd-Franklin, hinting at a difference of opinions and her inability to see the inconsistency in what she claimed. After analysing the correspondence, with some letters resurfacing only recently, one sees a completely different picture: Russell not only does not object to what she claims, he even agrees with her! This article aims to show what really transpired as evidenced by the letters, of which seven of the extant eleven are reproduced in full with annotations.



2020-01-25 — Updated on 2023-08-29