The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell

The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell

The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell

The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell

Excerpt

Every serious student of twentieth century philosophy will welcome the appearance of Volume V in our Library of Living Philosophers. For the name of Bertrand Russell has been in the forefront of philosophical discussion for more than forty years. His contributions to mathematical philosophy and symbolic logic have marked him as one of the world's very few really great and seminal thinkers. And the breadth of his interests and variety of his writings have made him at the same time one of the most widely read and critically discussed of our contemporaries.

Yet the present volume is no mere work of supererogation. For, although many of Mr. Russell's philosophical ideas have been the subject of innumerable essays, dissertations, and monographs, they have never before been treated systematically and subject by subject. Still less have most previous criticisms of his ideas been able to elicit from Mr. Russell the careful and studied replies which the reader will find here in his "Reply to Criticisms" (cf. pp. 679-741).

There will be many philosophers, of course, who will not be satisfied with Mr. Russell's "Reply." Some of these will object to the relative brevity of the "Reply." Others, however, will be dissatisfied on more "philosophical"--or is it "temperamental"? --grounds. There is no likely way of meeting the demands of this latter group--unless, indeed, one join their respective camp. As concerns the former, the editor merely desires to say that (only day before yesterday) he discovered what he believes to be the major reason why Mr. Russell did not reply at greater length. In conversation with the editor, Mr. Russell intimated that his greatest surprise, in the reading of the twenty-one contributed essays, had come from the discovery that "over half of their authors had not understood" him [i.e., Russell]. This fact amazed Mr. Russell all the more because he always thought . . .

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