Huw Price reviews Cheryl Misak’s biography of Frank Ramsey

Huw Price at the Springer website:

Cheryl Misak’s new book is the first intellectual biography of Frank Plumpton Ramsey, a brilliant but tragically short-lived scholar who illuminated Cambridge in the 1920s. The biography has been eagerly awaited by many of us, in several fields, who’ve built chunks of our own careers from fragments of Ramsey’s astonishing meteorite.

In my case, eagerness came with a few nerves. Ramsey has been a huge figure in my philosophical life. Might my image of him get bruised in some way? I also had a grandfatherly concern about the book itself. By happy accident, I’d helped to steer Misak’s intellectual trajectory towards this project. Like any grandfather, I was anxious for the child to shine.

More on the fate of those anxieties below. I first heard about Ramsey from the Cambridge philosopher, D. H. (Hugh) Mellor (1938–2020). In another happy accident, Mellor was once a huge influence on my intellectual trajectory. In 1975 I was an undergraduate at Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, studying philosophy as a sideline to mathematics. Mellor was visiting ANU, and sat in on some of our teaching seminars. His kind interest in my future plans helped to steer me towards a PhD in philosophy, and to Cambridge to do it (under his supervision).

More here.