Close Notification

Your cart does not contain any items

Frank Ramsey

A Sheer Excess of Powers

Cheryl Misak (University of Toronto)



In stock
Ready to ship


Oxford University Press
27 February 2020
When he died in 1930 aged 26, Frank Ramsey had already invented one branch of mathematics and two branches of economics, laying the foundations for decision theory and game theory. Keynes deferred to him; he was the only philosopher whom Wittgenstein treated as an equal. Had he lived he might have been recognized as the most brilliant thinker of the century. This amiable shambling bear of a man was an ardent socialist, a believer in free love, and an intimate of the Bloomsbury set. For the first time Cheryl Misak tells the full story of his extraordinary life.
By:   Cheryl Misak (University of Toronto)
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 237mm,  Width: 159mm,  Spine: 46mm
Weight:   790g
ISBN:   9780198755357
ISBN 10:   019875535X
Pages:   544
Publication Date:   27 February 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Cheryl Misak is University Professor and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. She works on American pragmatism, the history of analytic philosophy, ethics and political philosophy, and the philosophy of medicine. Her most recent books include Frank Ramsey: A Sheer Excess of Powers (forthcoming 2020), Cambridge Pragmatism: From Peirce and James to Ramsey and Wittgenstein, The American Pragmatists, Truth and the End of Inquiry: A Peircean Account of Truth, Truth, Politics, Morality: Pragmatism and Deliberation. She has had visiting fellowships or positions at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, the Free University in Berlin, Trinity College Cambridge, St. Johns College Cambridge, and New York University. In 2013, she completed a long run in academic administration at the University of Toronto, culminating as Vice-President and Provost.

Reviews for Frank Ramsey: A Sheer Excess of Powers

In this brilliantly written biography of Frank Ramsey, the philosophical and mathematical genius, Cheryl Misak helps us to understand how this innovative thinker could transform so much of the intellectual world of the twentieth century in a short life that ended before he turned 27. The story of Ramsey - his life, his ideas and his engaging arguments with others - as told by Misak is both deeply insightful and much fun to read. * Amartya Sen, Harvard University * This is a gripping read about the twentieth century's forgotten genius. It provides a fascinating and meticulously detailed portrait of Frank Ramsey's life and times. Finally, Ramsey has the biography he deserves. * David Edmonds, co-author of Wittgenstein's Poker * A monument to good scholarship while still conveying the human being at the centre ... A landmark book if you dwell among the modernists. * Richard Lofthouse, QUOD * In her important new work, Cheryl Misak [...] finally gives Ramsey the consideration he deserves ... it is an impressive work. She has a devotion to the archive and her book is thoroughly researched and well put together ... We should feel lucky that we have the work we do, and that Misak has done such a good job of drawing our attention to one of the most important and intriguing figures in 20th-century philosophy. * Alex Dean, Prospect * Philosophers sometimes play the game of imagining how twentieth-century thought might have been different if Ramsey had survived and his ideas had caught on earlier. That exercise has become more entertaining with the publication of the first full biography ... Misak tells a more colorful story than one might have thought possible so long after such a short life ended. * Anthony Gottleib, The New Yorker * Frank Ramsey [...] makes noble reading. Ms Misak is a born teacher who explains tricky intellectual abstractions with a clarity that is exceptional. More than that, she writes with love. Her tenderness toward Ramsey, his parents and siblings, his wife and friends gives spirit and delicacy to the whole. There is astounding emotional intelligence in every chapter. One feels on each page Ms. Misak's fine mind concentrating hard on doing the best she can. This is an enthralling and glorious book. * Richard Davenport-Hines, The Wall Street Journal *

See Also