The Principles of Mathematics (1903)
Free online edition (Version 0.22: 19 Jun 2023)
This is one of the foundational works of 20th century analytic philosophy, and an important contribution to logic, metaphysics, and the philosophy of mathematics. It argues that the notions and propositions of mathematics reduce to the notions and principles of logic. When first published in 1903, it was labeled “Volume I”, and was meant as a preparatory study for carrying out the deductions of the principles of mathematics using symbolic logic in a subsequent work. Russell, along with his collaborator A. N. Whitehead, eventually published this subsequent work in 1910–1913 under the new title Principia Mathematica.
While there are a number of free versions of The Principles of Mathematics online, most are either unsearchable scanned documents of the original printing, or are substantially incomplete. I have sought to create a complete, high-quality, searchable, text version, with correct vector-format diagrams and mathematical symbols. I cleaned up an OCR copy, re-added italics, added hyperlinks, and so on. I also fixed some typographical errors in the print editions.
Special thanks to Kenneth Blackwell of the Bertrand Russell Archives at McMaster University for checking some of my changes against Russell’s handwritten manuscript.
It is likely, however, that there remain OCR errors or formatting errors in this version. If you spot any, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know, or create an issue report in this project’s Bitbucket repository.
Missing here, unfortunately, is the (excellent) introduction to the 2nd edition of The Principles of Mathematics, published in 1937, which is not yet in the public domain.
(Created with XELATEX; the best for printing and reading offline.)
HTML (Web page)
(Recommended for viewing online, or converting to another format.)
E-book and plain text formats
(For mobile devices.)
The “master” format is a PHP script which is used to create all the above. It is available from the project’s Bitbucket repository.
Bertrand Russell’s The Principles of Mathematics is in the Public Domain.
This typesetting, by Kevin C. Klement, including LaTeX, PHP, HTML/CSS code, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license.
You may use the materials on this page in any way you see fit, without asking, provided you comply with the licenses above.
Please also visit the pages for the other online editions I have created:
- Bertrand Russell: Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy (Online corrected edition)
- Ludwig Wittgenstein: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (Side-by-side-by-side edition)