Russell

Russell

Russell

Russell

Synopsis

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was renowned as one of the founding figures of "analytic" philosophy, and for his lasting contributions to the study of logic, philosophy of language, philosophy of mathematics and epistemology. He was also famous for his popular works, where his humanism, ethics and antipathy towards religion came through in books such as The Problems of Philosophy, Why I am Not A Christian, and The Conquest of Happiness.

Beginning with an overview of Russell's life and work, Gregory Landini carefully explains Russell's philosophy, to show why he ranks as one of the giants of British and Twentieth century philosophy. He discusses Russell's major early works in philosophy of mathematics, including The Principles of Mathematics, wherein Russell illuminated and developed the ideas of Gottlob Frege; and the monumental three volume work written with Alfred North Whitehead, Principia Mathematica, where the authors attempted to show that all mathematical theory is part of logic, understood as a science of structure.

Landini discusses the second edition of Principia Mathematica, to show Russell's intellectual relationship with Wittgenstein and Ramsey. He discusses Russell's epistemology and neutral monism before concluding with a discussion on Russell's ethics, and the relationship between science and religion.

Featuring a chronology and a glossary of terms, as well as suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter, Russell is essential reading for anyone studying philosophy, and is an ideal guidebook for those coming to Russell for the first time.

Excerpt

The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.

What I Believe

Bertrand Russell was born into aristocracy in Ravenscroft, Wales during the Victorian age in England on 18 May 1872. His family was famous, a cadet branch of the Dukes of Bedford. His father, Viscount Amberly, was an avowed atheist whose political career in Parliament was destroyed by views then still shocking to public sentiment, such as support of women’s suffrage and birth control. His mother’s intellectual freedom from the subjugations of the age was a product of her friendship with John Stuart Mill, who was appointed as little Bertie’s honorific godfather. Tragically, his mother and sister died of diphtheria when he was two and his father died some eighteen months later. Amberly’s will left instructions for his sons to be raised by agnostics, one of whom was scientist D. A. Spalding, who was originally employed as a tutor to Bertie’s older brother Frank. But the grandparents won the ensuing court battle. Frank found life in the house of his grandfather John Russell unhappy and his rebellions eventuated in his being sent away to boarding school. His grandfather died shortly thereafter, and Bertie was left at the mercy of his puritanical Scottish Presbyterian grandmother, practicing the virtues of Victorian middle-class morality.

They lived in Pembroke Lodge, where Bertie’s German and Swiss governesses made him fluent in German from an early age. Isolated by class from a usual childhood and adolescent socializing, he . . .

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