Russell’s first contact with mereology occurred probably in the time around 1899 during his investigations on the philosophy of Leibniz. In the early idealistic phase (1895-1899) he did not reflect much about the parthood relation, because it “has been wrapped in obscurity – though not without certain more or less valid logical reasons – by writers who may be roughly called Hegelian” (1903: § 133). The main ‘logical reason’ for this is the idealistic doctrine Russell begins to reject at this time, namely, that analysis (decomposition of a whole in its parts) implies falsification, i.e. only a theory of the reality as a unified whole can be true (see Russell 1918: 178). But even recognising some importance of mereological analysis after 1900, he never accepted it to be so fundamental as set theory or predicate logic (1903: § 139).
1 Gödel, K., (1989), “Russell’s Mathematical Logic” in Schilpp, P.A. (ed.), The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell, Illinois: Open Court.
2 Hylton, P., (1990), Russell, Idealism and the Emergence of Analytic Philosophy, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
3 Imaguire, G., (2001), Russells Frühphilosophie: Propositionen, Realismus und die Sprachontologische Wende, Hildesheim: Olms.
4 Russell, B., (1900), A Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz, London: Routledge, 1992.
5 Russell, B., (1903 ), The Principles of Mathematics, London: Routledge.
6 Russell, B., (1908), “Mathematical Logic as Based on The Theory of Types”, in Logic and Knowledge. London: Routledge, 1994.
7 Russell, B., (1910)/1997, Principia Mathematica. Volume I., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
8 Russell, B., (1918), “The Philosophy of Logical Atomism”, in: Logic and Knowledge. London: Routledge, 1994.