Ramsey, Frank Plumpton

Educated at Winchester College and Trinity College, Cambridge, Ramsey (1903-30) was fellow of King's College, Cambridge and university lecturer in mathematics from 1924. A precocious intellect (at 19 he translated Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-philosophicus), Ramsey wrote on mathematics (only eight pages, which much later became the basis of the branch of mathematics called Ramsey theory), economics (only three articles, but of seminal importance, on subjective probability and utility, optimal growth and optimal taxation) and philosophy, in particular on the foundations of mathematics. Harrod met Ramsey in Cambridge in 1922, and found a stimulating companion for discussing philosophical problems in a way he was prevented from doing in Oxford by the local tradition of thought. They subsequently visited each other, and later Harrod gave an affectionate portrait of Ramsey, describing him as "a man of extreme brilliance and precocity", capable of discussing "philosophy in an extraordinarily easy style. Subtle thoughts were distilled into simple straightforward sentences. In an entirely effortless and almost gossipy way he set out the quintessentials of a problem".

See list of letters .

Source: New Palgrave ; DNB ; Harrod, The Life of John Maynard Keynes (1951), pp. 320-21.


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