On July 27th I sent the following to a philosophy discussion group.

I believe Russell probably introduced Pinsent
to Wittgenstein circa 1913. This is the period
during which Broad was writing his dissertation
and was in close contact with Russell. So it is
possible that Broad introduced Pinsent to Russell.
Supposing, and this would most definitely have
to be checked, that the two Pinsents ("David'
and "Hume") are one and the same; then, we
may have a curious situation: Adrian marries the
daughter of a man who may have had a
personal relationship with someone with whom
he, too, has had a "personal relationship."
The possibility of such a relationship opens the
possibility that Wittgenstein and Broad had an
affair with the same person! Now consider that
Wittgenstein had an aversion to Hume (the
famous philosopher) and that Hume Pinsent is
related to Hume. Might there be more here
than a philosophical aversion? This is all more
or less speculative, but it is the sort of question an
historian must entertain before committing to the
"search" for relevant materials. Adrian's wife
it would appear was a social activist, perhaps
along lines similar to Russell. If so there may be
letters. One wonders if Adrian's papers are
archived. I bet they are.

Steve Bayne
No response to the letter was forthcoming.

On July 30 2004 I wrote to Hist-Analytic:

Edgar Douglas Adrian, to whom C. D. Broad dedicated his dissertation, later married the daughter of one "Hume Pinsent." The Tractatus is dedicated to David Hume Pinsent. Adrian would go on to win the Nobel Prize in physiology. Does anyone know if Hume Pinsent and David Hume Pinsent are one and the same? Hume Pinsent, by the way, was a distant relative of David Hume. Interestingly Wittgenstein appears not to have been very much stimulated by Hume's philosophy.

I suspect they are one and the same. Russell introduced Pinsent to Wittgenstein around the time of Broad's dissertation. There is a possibility of a connection between Broad and Pinsent.

Steve Bayne

July 30 2004, Richard Schmitt replied, informing the discussion list that

"Edgar Douglas Adrian's wife was David Hume Pinsent's sister. See the biography at http://www.nobel.se/medicine/laureates/1932/adrian-bio.html The final paragraph says --

In 1923 Adrian married Hester Agnes Pinsent, daughter of the late Hume Pinsent of Birmingham, England, and a descendant of the philosoper David Hume. They have one son and two daughters."

At this point, Prof. Toulmin made the following reply:

Dear Bayne:

Having known many of the people you refer to personally from my time as an undergraduate at King's College, Cambridge, I am confident that your hypothesis is well-founded. It is a pity that Ludwig Wittgenstein was so little interested in David Hume's arguments. Hume's Scepticism was, on my reading, ironic: "So we must confine ourselves to sensory inputs and formal deductions: let's see where this gets us" -- the unavoidable destination is a total loss of knowledge that can be remedied only by acknowledging that we bring certain patterns of thought to our management of life -- causality, morality, and other structures discussed in Kant's Third Critique. Incidentally, it is worth comparing the closing sentences of the Tractatus with their counterparts in Sextus Empiricus's Adversus Mathematicos. (Our mutual friend Richard Schmitt has much to add on this subject.) It is misleading to call Descartes a "sceptic": strictly speaking, he should be classified as a "negative dogmatist".

I hope this throws some light on your questions ---

Stephen Toulmin