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The Leibniz Review

Volume 28, December 2018

Dedicated to Richard T. W. Arthur

Richard T. W. Arthur
Pages 9-42

The Hegelian Roots of Russell's Critique of Leibniz

At the turn of the century (1899-1903) Bertrand Russell advocated an absolutist theory of space and time, and scornfully rejected Leibniz’s relational theory in his Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz (1900). But by the time of the second edition (1937), he had proposed highly influential relational theories of space and time that had much in common with Leibniz’s own views. Ironically, he never acknowledges this. In trying to get to the bottom of this enigma, I looked further at contemporary texts by Russell, and also those he might have relied on, especially that of Robert Latta. I found that, like Latta’s, Russell’s interpretation of Leibniz was heavily conditioned by his immersion in neo-Hegelian and neo-Kantian philosophy prior to 1898, and that the doctrine of internal relations he attributes to Leibniz was more nearly the view of Lotze.

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