Frank Ramsey: A Sheer Excess of Powers

ISBN : 9780192856753

Cheryl Misak
560 Pages
153 x 234 mm
Pub date
Jan 2022
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The full story of Frank Ramsey's extraordinary life. When he died in 1930 aged 26, Frank Ramsey had already invented one branch of mathematics and two branches of economics, laying the foundations for decision theory and game theory. Keynes deferred to him; he was the only philosopher whom Wittgenstein treated as an equal. Had he lived he might have been recognized as the most brilliant thinker of the century. This amiable shambling bear of a man was an ardent socialist, a believer in free love, and an intimate of the Bloomsbury set. For the first time, Cheryl Misak tells the story of his tragically short, but extraordinary life.


Foreword: 'Mind and Heart'
Part I: Boyhood
1 The Ramseys
2 Winchester Nearly Unmade Him
3 'We really live in a great time for thinking'
Part II: The Cambridge Man
4 Undergraduate Life
5 'To my generation, he was rather frightening'
6 Ramsey and the Early Wittgenstein
7 Vienna Interlude
8 'The fundamentals are so philosophical'
9 The New Don
10 Passion Found
Part III: An Astonishing Half Decade
11 Settling Down in Work and Life
12 Revolution in Philosophy
13 Two Crises
14 Cambridge Economics
15 Ramseyan Economics: The Feasible First Best
16 1928 Return to Mathematics
17 Wittgenstein Comes Home
18 'The problem of philosophy must be divided if I am to solve it'
19 The End and Meaning of a Life

About the author: 

Cheryl Misak is Professor of Philosophy, as well as Vice-President and Provost at the University of Toronto. She received a BA from the University of Lethbridge, an MA from Columbia University, and a DPhil from the University of Oxford. She works on American pragmatism, the theory of truth, moral and political philosophy, and the philosophy of medicine. She has published and edited books with Oxford University Press, Routledge, and Cambridge University Press, and has published over forty scholarly articles. In 2008, her 'Experience, Narrative, and Ethical Deliberation' was declared one of the ten best papers in philosophy by The Philosopher's Annual. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and has been a Humboldt Fellow at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, a Visiting Fellow of St. John's College Cambridge, and a Rhodes Scholar.

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