Sunday, October 17, 2010

Gramertsfelder on Russell's Mysticism and Logic

With respect to the recent post on Russell's "Mysticism and Logic," I recently came across a text (fairly critical, and indeed, I don't think at all fair, of Bradley and Bosanquet, and published in 1920) by a man with the unlikely name of Walter Sylvester Gameltsfelder. He notes:

And certainly if we are to accept Mr. Bertrand Russell's designation of the convictions common to all mystics (his position appears tenable), we must assert that a mystical tendency is present throughout the philosophical systems of Mr. Bradley and Prof. Bosanquet. Mr. Russell suggests that all mystics share in the following beliefs: 1) That knowledge is possible through revelation, insight or intuition, as well as through sense and reason; 2) That Reality is a Unity and that there is no opposition or division anywhere; 3) That time is ultimately unreal; and 4) That evil also is unreal and only appearance. Mr. Bradley and Prof. Bosanquet openly subscribe to these four tenets in the creed of Mysticism, as the body of our study shows, and it is this element which leads them to posit the existence of ultimate Reality beyond the reach of human experience, and to accept a criterion of truth and Reality which, for the finite mind, is never wholly realized. With whatever success we have shown that this view of Reality and its criterion are untenable, the same applies in criticism of the above mentioned tenets of mysticism, for Absolutism and Mysticism seldom appear divorced.

Not hugely significant, but it shows one contemporary reader of Russell's essay who saw clearly the connection between the Absolute Idealists and the argument of the work.

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