The Bertrand Russell Professorship

In the official words of the Cambridge University Reporter,

The Council submits the following Graces to the Regent House. … (3) That the Professorship of Philosophy (1896) be retitled as the Bertrand Russell Professorship of Philosophy.

This means that when my colleague Simon Blackburn retires at the end of next academic year, his successor will glory in a splendid title — and because we have raised funding for the chair, the post will indeed be filled, even in these straightened times. (Not of course that Russell himself ever held this chair: its previous holders have, however, included Moore, Wittgenstein, Anscombe and Mellor). And wouldn’t it be good if the new incumbent had Russell’s passion for logic and the philosophy of mathematics, to maintain and enhance that thread of Cambridge interest? Potential applicants watch this space for an early warning about when the appointment process starts later in the year!

I fear, however, that things aren’t looking at all good for the filling of my post when I have to go at the same time as Simon. (Oh dear. I can feel a rant coming on, about the absurd bloating of the central administration and the proliferation of ludicrous expenditure away from the university’s core purposes, at the cost of running down core humanities departments. But that would be boring, so I’ll have another wee dram of Talisker instead.)

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