The general view of Russell's work among philosophers has been that repeatedly, during his long and distinguished career, crucial changes of mind on fundamental points were significant enough to cause him to successively adopt a diversity of radically new philosophical positions. Thus, Russell is seen to have embraced and then abandoned, amongst others, neo-Hegelianism, Platonic realism, phenomenalism and logical atomism, before settling finally on a form of neutral monism that philosophers have generally found to be incredible. However, in recent years there have been signs of increasing awareness that the extent to which Russell was prone to change philosophical position may have been greatly exaggerated. This book represents the first detailed attempt to trace the fundamental unity that lies within all of Russell's philosophical work, as well as the reasons behind those limited orderly changes that did, in fact, occur within it. The main thesis of the book is that there is a lot more continuity in Russell's philosophy than has been usually acknowledged, and that the major changes that do occur are much more orderly than Russell's reputation for erratically changing his views allows. Drawing on a wide selection of Russell's own statements, a general account of Russellian analysis is developed which shows it to have a highly organised structure, which he consistently applies throughout all of his post-idealist philosophising. This book is addressed primarily to serious students of Russell's philosophy, and is suitable for use in both postgraduate and undergraduate courses on Russell's philosophy generally, on specific aspects of his work, or on analytic philosophy in the twentieth century. However, the book is written clearly enough to be read by the many general readers interested in finding out more about Russell's philosophy.
`... Hager has produced a much-needed demonstration of the constancy in Russell's philosophical methodology. ... the book becomes both a useful guide to Russell's methodology and a detailed dictionary of vital philosophical quotations. In addition, Hager provides an array of diagrams, charts, lists, and other graphics to clearly illuminate his central findings ... I found Hager's work on Russell to be impressive and insightful. ... Hager gives us a useful discussion of methodology and a valuable source book of Russell's views on doing philosophy well.'
John Shosky in The Bertrand Russell Society Quarterly, 89 (1996)
`Hager presents his account with admirable clarity and anchors it firmly in Russells' writings. He is concerned with what Russell actually thought, rather than with what, according to later philosophers, he ought to have thought. ... Few other books are available which range so widely over Russell's philosophy.'
Nicholas Griffin in Australian Journal of Philosophy, 74 (1996)