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Philosophy

Correspondence

The Samuel Alexander Papers

The Samuel Alexander Papers, housed at the John Rylands Library, contain a vast correspondence between Alexander and other famous philosophers of his time.

Since much philosophical activity occurred in meetings and conferences in the south of England, Alexander relied heavily on the post, writing to his peers about their work and receiving criticism of his own views.

On this site, we have two unique threads of communication between Alexander and C D Broad, and between Alexander, Bertrand Russell and A E Taylor.

Alexander-Broad

In the Alexander-Broad correspondence we see Broad writing to Alexander about his problems with Alexander’s argument in chapter 1 of Space, Time and Deity (volume 1) for the claim that Space-Time is a monistic whole or unity that really has Space and Time as parts or aspects. This exchange was the impetus for Broad’s publication ‘Prof Alexander’s Gifford Lectures’ Mind30/117, 1921) and Alexander’s reply ‘Some Explanations’ Mind 30/120 (1921).

Read transcripts of their letters and see the originals

Alexander-Russell-Taylor

In the Alexander-Russell-Taylor correspondence we have Alexander acting as mediator between Taylor and Russell’s arguments about subjectivism and Taylor’s concerns about Russell’s current philosophical position.

Taylor and Russell both agree that subjectivism is incorrect. But they disagree on what arguments demonstrate that this is so. The discussion that arises provides a wonderful statement by Russell of what he takes to be one of the fundamental components of his theory as found in his classic 1903 book Principles of Mathematics.

Read transcripts of their letters and see the originals

More letters

Below are links to more letters on Alexander's philosophy by leading philosophers of the day. These are external links that take you directly to the John Rylands Image Collections.