Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
If I was to write a Weltanschaung I should call it not “What I believe” but “What I feel.” This is connected with Wittgenstein’s view that philosophy does not give us beliefs, but merely relieves feelings of intellectual discomfort. . . . I don’t feel the least humble before the vastness of the heavens. The stars may be large, but they cannot think or love; and these are qualities which impress me far more than size does. (Ramsey 1931: 290–91) In one of those extraordinary serendipities with which greatness is tinged, and Frank Ramsey – despite the cruelty of a life cut short at its prime – was blessed with an abundance of it, he was born in Cambridge on 22 February 1903, the year the defining works of the twentieth century in ethics and the foundations of mathematics were published: Principia Ethica by G.E. Moore and the Principles of Mathematics by Bertrand Russell, the latter presaging the monumental Principia Mathematica (written jointly with Whitehead). With equal irony, Ramsey died in London, on 19 January 1930, the year Kurt Gödel announced his famous incompleteness theorem(s) in Königsberg. With the celebrated Paris–Harrington results (Paris and Harrington 1977), the connection between Ramsey’s posthumously published classic, On a Problem of Formal Logic (Ramsey 1928a, 1928b), and Gödel’s pioneering results have been shown to be woven from the same foundational fabric of the Entscheidungsproblem that Hilbert had formulated, to settle, decisively, the grundlagenkrise of the 1920s, precipitated by Brouwer’s intuitionistic and constructive challenges....
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