Bertrand Russell
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Western Philosophy20th century philosophy

Russell in 1907
Bertrand Arthur William Russell¡B3rd Earl Russell
May 18¡B1872(1872-05-18)Trellech¡BMonmouthshire¡BWales
February 2¡B1970 (aged 97)Penrhyndeudraeth¡BWales
Analytic philosophyNobel Prize in Literature (1950)
Main interests
Ethics¡Bepistemology¡Blogic¡Bmathematics¡Bphilosophy of language¡Bphilosophy of science¡Breligion
Notable ideas
Logical atomism¡Btheory of descriptions¡Bknowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description¡BRussell's paradox¡BRussell's teapot.
Leibniz¡BHume¡BG.E. Moore¡BJohn McTaggart¡BFrege¡BWhitehead¡BWittgenstein¡BMill¡BThomas Paine
Analytic Philosophy¡BWittgenstein¡BA. J. Ayer¡BRudolf Carnap¡BKurt Godel¡BKarl Popper¡BW. V. Quine¡BN. Chomsky¡BJ. L. Austin¡BSaul Kripke¡BMoritz Schlick¡BAlfred Tarski¡BFriedrich Waismann¡BDonald Davidson
Bertrand Arthur William Russell¡B3rd Earl Russell¡BOM¡BFRS¡B(18 May 1872 ¡V 2 February 1970)¡Bwas a British philosopher¡Bhistorian¡Blogician¡Bmathematician¡Badvocate for social reform¡Bpacifist¡Band prominent rationalist.
A prolific writer¡Bhe was a populariser of philosophy and a commentator on a large variety of topics. Continuing a family tradition in political affairs; he was a prominent anti-war activist¡Bchampioning free trade between nations and anti-imperialism.[1][2]. He also co-authored ,with Alfred North Whitehead¡BPrincipia Mathematica¡Ban attempt to ground Mathematics on the laws of Logic. The book has had a considerable influence on Analytic Philosophy.
Russell was born at the height of Britain's economic and political ascendancy. When he died almost a century later¡Bthe British Empire had all but vanished¡Bits power had been dissipated by two world wars and its imperial system had been brought to an end. Among his post Second World War political activities¡BRussell was a vigorous proponent of nuclear disarmament¡Bantagonist to communist totalitarianism and an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War.[3] Previously he had achieved notoriety as a "conscientious objector" during the First World War¡Bvisited the emerging Soviet Union which subsequently met with his disapproval and campaigned vigorously against Adolf Hitler in the 1930s as well as being an accomplished mathematician.
In 1950¡BRussell was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature¡B"in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought".[4]
1 Biography
1.1 Ancestry
1.2 Childhood and adolescence
1.3 University and first marriage
1.4 Early career
1.5 First World War
1.6 Between the wars¡Band second marriage
1.7 Second World War
1.8 Later life
1.9 Political causes
1.10 Final years and death
2 Philosophical work
2.1 Analytic philosophy
2.2 Logic and philosophy of mathematics
2.3 Philosophy of language
2.4 Logical atomism
2.5 Epistemology
2.6 Philosophy of science
2.7 Ethics
2.8 Religion and theology
3 Influence on philosophy
4 Activism
4.1 Pacifism¡Bwar and nuclear weapons
4.2 Communism and socialism
4.3 Women's suffrage
4.4 Sexuality
4.5 Race
5 Further reading
5.1 Selected bibliography of Russell's books
5.2 Books about Russell's philosophy
5.3 Biographical books
6 References
7 External links
7.1 Writings available online
7.2 Audio
7.3 Other
8 Succession
[edit] Biography
Bertrand Russell was born on 18 May 1872 at Ravenscroft (now Cleddon Hall)¡BTrellech¡BMonmouthshire¡BWales¡Binto an aristocratic family.[4]

Bertrand Russell's father¡BJohn Russell¡BViscount Amberley
[edit] Ancestry
His paternal grandfather¡BJohn Russell¡B1st Earl Russell¡Bwas the second son of John Russell¡B6th Duke of Bedford¡Band had twice been asked to form a government by Queen Victoria¡Bserving her as Prime Minister in the 1840s and 1860s. [5]
The Russells had been prominent for several centuries in Britain before this¡Bcoming to power and the peerage with the rise of the Tudor dynasty. They established themselves as one of Britain's leading Whig (Liberal) families¡Band participated in every great political event from the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536-40 to the Glorious Revolution in 1688-9 to the Great Reform Act in 1832. [5][6]
Russell's mother Katherine (nee Stanley) was also from an aristocratic family¡Band was the sister of Rosalind Howard¡BCountess of Carlisle.[3]
Russell's parents were quite radical for their times¡XRussell's father¡BViscount Amberley¡Bwas an atheist and consented to his wife's affair with their children's tutor¡Bthe biologist Douglas Spalding. Both were early advocates of birth control at a time when this was considered scandalous. [7]
John Stuart Mill¡Bthe Utilitarian philosopher¡Bstood as Russell's godfather. Mill died the following year¡Bbut his writings had a great impact upon Russell's life.
[edit] Childhood and adolescence
Russell had two siblings: Frank (nearly seven years older than Bertrand)¡Band Rachel (four years older). In June 1874 Russell's mother died of diphtheria¡Bfollowed shortly by Rachel¡Band in January 1876 his father also died of bronchitis following a long period of depression. Frank and Bertrand were placed in the care of their staunchly Victorian grandparents¡Bwho lived at Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park. John Russell¡B1st Earl Russell¡Bhis grandfather¡Bdied in 1878¡Band was remembered by Russell as a kindly old man in a wheelchair. As a result¡Bhis widow¡Bthe Countess Russell (nee Lady Frances Elliot)¡Bwas the dominant family figure for the rest of Russell's childhood and youth. [3][7]
The countess was from a Scottish Presbyterian family¡Band successfully petitioned a British court to set aside a provision in Amberley's will requiring the children to be raised as agnostics. Despite her religious conservatism¡Bshe held progressive views in other areas (accepting Darwinism and supporting Irish Home Rule)¡Band her influence on Bertrand Russell's outlook on social justice and standing up for principle remained with him throughout his life - her favourite Bible verse¡B'Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.' (Exodus 23:2)¡Bbecame his mantra. However¡Bthe atmosphere at Pembroke Lodge was one of frequent prayer¡Bemotional repression and formality; Frank reacted to this with open rebellion¡Bbut the young Bertrand learned to hide his feelings.
Russell's adolescence was thus very lonely¡Band he often contemplated suicide. He remarked in his autobiography that his keenest interests were in sex¡Breligion and mathematics¡Band that only the wish to know more mathematics kept him from suicide [8]. He was educated at home by a series of tutors,[4] and he spent countless hours in his grandfather's library.
His brother Frank introduced him to the work of Euclid¡Bwhich transformed Russell's life.[7][9]
[edit] University and first marriage
Russell won a scholarship to read for the Mathematics Tripos at Trinity College¡BCambridge¡Band commenced his studies there in 1890. He became acquainted with the younger G.E. Moore and came under the influence of Alfred North Whitehead¡Bwho recommended him to the Cambridge Apostles. He quickly distinguished himself in mathematics and philosophy¡Bgraduating with a B.A. in the former subject in 1893 and adding a fellowship in the latter in 1895.[10][11]
Russell first met the American Quaker Alys Pearsall Smith when he was seventeen years old. He became a friend of the Pearsall Smith family ¡X they knew him primarily as 'Lord John's grandson' and enjoyed showing him off ¡X and travelled with them to the continent; it was in their company that Bertrand visited the Paris Exhibition of 1889 and was able to climb the Eiffel Tower soon after it was completed.[12]
He soon fell in love with the puritanical¡Bhigh-minded Alys¡Bwho was a graduate of Bryn Mawr College near Philadelphia¡Band¡Bcontrary to his grandmother's wishes¡Bhe married her in December 1894. Their marriage began to fall apart in 1902 when it occurred to Russell¡Bwhile he was out on his bicycle¡Bthat he no longer loved her; they divorced nineteen years later¡Bafter a lengthy period of separation.[13] During this period¡BRussell had passionate (and often simultaneous) affairs with a number of women¡Bincluding Lady Ottoline Morrell and the actress Lady Constance Malleson.[14]
Alys pined for him for these years and continued to love Russell for the rest of her life.[13]
[edit] Early career
Russell began his published work in 1896 with German Social Democracy¡Ba study in politics that was an early indication of a lifelong interest in political and social theory. In 1896¡Bhe taught German social democracy at the London School of Economics¡Bwhere he also lectured on the science of power in the autumn of 1937.[15] He was also a member of the Coefficients dining club of social reformers set up in 1902 by the Fabian campaigners Sidney and Beatrice Webb.[16]
Russell became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1908.[3] The first of three volumes of Principia Mathematica¡Bwritten with Whitehead¡Bwas published in 1910¡Bwhich ,along with the earlier The Principles of Mathematics¡Bsoon made Russell world famous in his field. In 1911¡Bhe became acquainted with the Austrian engineering student Ludwig Wittgenstein¡Bwhom he viewed as a genius and a successor who would continue his work on logic. He spent hours dealing with Wittgenstein's various phobias and his frequent bouts of despair. The latter was often a drain on Russell's energy¡Bbut he continued to be fascinated by him and encouraged his academic development¡Bincluding the publication of Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus in 1922.[17]
[edit] First World War
During the First World War¡BRussell engaged in pacifist activities¡Band¡Bin 1916¡Bhe was dismissed from Trinity College following his conviction under the Defence of the Realm Act. A later conviction resulted in six months' imprisonment in Brixton prison (see Activism below) [18]
[edit] Between the wars¡Band second marriage
In August 1920¡BRussell travelled to Russia as part of an official delegation sent by the British government to investigate the effects of the Russian Revolution.[19] During the course of his visit¡Bhe met Lenin and had an hour-long conversation with him. (In his autobiography¡Bhe mentions that he found Lenin rather disappointing¡Band that he sensed an "impish cruelty" in him.) He also cruised down the Volga on a steam-ship. Russell's lover Dora Black also visited Russia independently at the same time - she was enthusiastic about the revolution¡Bbut Russell's experiences destroyed his previous tentative support for it.
Russell subsequently lectured in Beijing on philosophy for one year¡Baccompanied by Dora.[4] While in China¡BRussell became gravely ill with pneumonia¡Band incorrect reports of his death were published in the Japanese press.[20]When the couple visited Japan on their return journey¡BDora notified the world that "Mr Bertrand Russell¡Bhaving died according to the Japanese press¡Bis unable to give interviews to Japanese journalists". Needless to say¡Bthe press were not amused and did not appreciate the sarcasm.[21]
On the couple's return to England in September 1921¡BDora was seven months pregnant¡Band Russell arranged a hasty divorce from Alys¡Bmarrying Dora six days after the divorce was finalised. Their children were John Conrad Russell¡B4th Earl Russell¡Bborn on November 3 1921 and Katharine Jane Russell (now Lady Katharine Tait) born on December 29¡B1923. Russell supported himself during this time by writing popular books explaining matters of physics¡Bethics and education to the layman.
Together with Dora¡Bhe also founded the experimental Beacon Hill School in 1927. After he left the school in 1932¡BDora continued it until 1943.
Upon the death of his elder brother Frank¡Bin 1931¡BRussell became the 3rd Earl Russell. He once said that his title was primarily useful for securing hotel rooms.
Russell's marriage to Dora grew increasingly tenuous¡Band it reached a breaking point over her having two children with an American journalist¡BGriffin Barry. In 1936¡Bhe took as his third wife an Oxford undergraduate named Patricia ("Peter") Spence¡Bwho had been his children's governess since the summer of 1930. Russell and Peter had one son¡BConrad Sebastian Robert Russell¡Blater to become a prominent historian¡Band one of the leading figures in the Liberal Democrat party.
[edit] Second World War
After the Second World War¡BRussell taught at the University of Chicago¡Blater moving on to Los Angeles to lecture at the University of California¡BLos Angeles. He was appointed professor at the City College of New York in 1940¡Bbut after a public outcry¡Bthe appointment was annulled by a court judgement: his opinions (especially those relating to sexual morality¡Bdetailed in Marriage and Morals ten years earlier) made him "morally unfit" to teach at the college. The protest was started by the mother of a student who would not have been eligible for his graduate-level course in mathematical logic. Many intellectuals¡Bled by John Dewey¡Bprotested his treatment. Dewey and Horace M. Kallen edited a collection of articles on the CCNY affair in The Bertrand Russell Case. He soon joined the Barnes Foundation¡Blecturing to a varied audience on the history of philosophy; these lectures formed the basis of A History of Western Philosophy. His relationship with the eccentric Albert C. Barnes soon soured¡Band he returned to Britain in 1944 to rejoin the faculty of Trinity College.
During his return to Britain¡Bby steamship¡Bthe Captain of the vessel he was sailing on asked Russell if he had read The ABCs of Relativity¡Bwhich he thought an excellent work. Russell then had the pleasure of telling the Captain who had written it.
[edit] Later life

Russell in his later life.
During the 1940s and 1950s¡BRussell participated in many broadcasts over the BBC¡Bparticularly the Third Programme¡Bon various topical and philosophical subjects. By this time in his life¡BRussell was world famous outside of academic circles¡Bfrequently the subject or author of magazine and newspaper articles¡Band was called upon to offer up opinions on a wide variety of subjects¡Beven mundane ones. En route to one of his lectures in Trondheim¡BRussell survived a plane crash in Hommelvik October 1948 (24 survivors¡B43 on board). A History of Western Philosophy (1945) became a best-seller¡Band provided Russell with a steady income for the remainder of his life. On June 9¡B1949¡BRussell was awarded the Order of Merit and the following year he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. When he was given the Order of Merit¡BKing George VI was affable but slightly embarrassed at decorating a former jailbird¡Bsaying that "You have sometimes behaved in a manner that would not do if otherwise adopted". Russell merely smiled¡Bbut afterwards claimed that the reply "That's right¡Bjust like your brother" immediately came to mind¡Bbut he did not say it.
In 1952¡BRussell was divorced by Peter¡Bwith whom he had been very unhappy. Conrad¡BRussell's son by Peter¡Bdid not see his father between the time of the divorce and 1968 (at which time his decision to meet his father caused a permanent breach with his mother). Russell married his fourth wife¡BEdith Finch¡Bsoon after the divorce¡Bon December 15¡B1952. They had known each other since 1926¡Band Edith had taught English at Bryn Mawr College near Philadelphia¡BPennsylvania¡Bsharing a house for twenty years with Russell's old friend Lucy Donnelly. Edith remained with him until his death¡Band¡Bby all accounts¡Btheir relationship was happy¡Bclose and loving throughout their marriage and for the rest of Russell's life. Russell's eldest son¡BJohn¡Bsuffered from serious mental illness¡Bwhich was the source of ongoing disputes between Russell and John's mother¡BRussell's former wife¡BDora. John's wife Susan was also mentally ill¡Band eventually Russell and Edith became the legal guardians of their three daughters (two of whom were later diagnosed with schizophrenia).
[edit] Political causes
Russell spent the 1950s and 1960s engaged in various political causes¡Bprimarily related to nuclear disarmament and opposing the Vietnam war (see also Russell Vietnam War Crimes Tribunal). He wrote a great many letters to world leaders during this period. He also became a hero to many of the youthful members of the New Left. During the 1960s¡Bin particular¡BRussell became increasingly vocal about his disapproval of what he felt to be the American government's near-genocidal policies. In 1963 he became the inaugural recipient of the Jerusalem Prize¡Ban award for writers concerned with the freedom of the individual in society. In October 1965 he tore up his Labour Party card because he feared the party was going to send soldiers to support the Vietnam War.
[edit] Final years and death
Russell published his three-volume autobiography in 1967¡B1968 and 1969. Although he became frail¡Bhe remained lucid¡Bwriting articles and letters in the national newspapers up to his death. In November 1969 he appealed to Secretary General U Thant of the United Nations to support an international war crimes commission to investigate alleged "torture and genocide" by the Americans in South Vietnam. On 31 January 1970 he issued a statement which condemned "Israeli aggression in the Middle East"¡Bsaying that "We are frequently told that we must sympathise with Israel because of the suffering of the Jews in Europe at the hands of the Nazis. ... What Israel is doing today cannot be condoned¡Band to invoke the horrors of the past to justify those of the present is gross hypocrisy". This was read out at the International Conference of Parliamentarians in Cairo on 3 February 1970¡Bthe day after Russell's death.[22]
Bertrand Russell died at 6.30 pm on 2 February 1970 at his home¡BPlas Penrhyn¡Bin Penrhyndeudraeth¡BMerionethshire¡BWales of influenza. He had previously fought that illness off in December 1969. Upon his death¡Bhis peerages descended on his eldest son¡BJohn¡BViscount Amberley¡Bwho thence became the fourth Earl.
His ashes¡Bas his will directed¡Bwere scattered after his cremation three days later.
[edit] Philosophical work
[edit] Analytic philosophy
Russell is generally recognised as one of the founders of analytic philosophy¡Beven of its several branches. At the beginning of the 20th century¡Balongside G. E. Moore¡BRussell was largely responsible for the British "revolt against Idealism"¡Ba philosophy greatly influenced by G. W. F. Hegel and his British apostle¡BF. H. Bradley. This revolt was echoed 30 years later in Vienna by the logical positivists' "revolt against metaphysics". Russell was particularly critical of a doctrine he ascribed to idealism and coherentism¡Bwhich he dubbed the doctrine of internal relations; this¡BRussell suggested¡Bheld that in order to know any particular thing¡Bwe must know all of its relations. Based on this Russell attempted to show that it would make space¡Btime¡Bscience and the concept of number not fully intelligible. Russell's logical work with Whitehead continued this project.
Russell and Moore strove to eliminate what they saw as meaningless and incoherent assertions in philosophy. They sought clarity and precision in argument by the use of exact language and by breaking down philosophical propositions into their simplest grammatical components. Russell¡Bin particular¡Bsaw formal logic and science as the principal tools of the philosopher. Indeed¡Bunlike most philosophers who preceded him and his early contemporaries¡BRussell did not believe there was a separate method for philosophy. He believed that the main task of the philosopher was to illuminate the most general propositions about the world and to eliminate confusion. In particular¡Bhe wanted to end what he saw as the excesses of metaphysics. Russell adopted William of Ockham's principle against multiplying unnecessary entities¡BOccam's Razor¡Bas a central part of the method of analysis.[23]
[edit] Logic and philosophy of mathematics
Russell had great influence on modern mathematical logic. The American philosopher and logician Willard Quine said Russell's work represented the greatest influence on his own work.
Russell's first mathematical book¡BAn Essay on the Foundations of Geometry¡Bwas published in 1897. This work was heavily influenced by Immanuel Kant. Russell soon realized that the conception it laid out would have made Albert Einstein's schema of space-time impossible¡Bwhich he understood to be superior to his own system. Thenceforth¡Bhe rejected the entire Kantian program as it related to mathematics and geometry¡Band he maintained that his own earliest work on the subject was nearly without value.
Interested in the definition of number¡BRussell studied the work of George Boole¡BGeorg Cantor¡Band Augustus De Morgan¡Bwhile materials in the Bertrand Russell Archives at McMaster University include notes of his reading in algebraic logic by Charles S. Peirce and Ernst Schroder. He became convinced that the foundations of mathematics were to be found in logic¡Band following Gottlob Frege took an existentialist approach in which logic was in turn based upon set theory. In 1900 he attended the first International Congress of Philosophy in Paris¡Bwhere he became familiar with the work of the Italian mathematician¡BGiuseppe Peano. He mastered Peano's new symbolism and his set of axioms for arithmetic. Peano defined logically all of the terms of these axioms with the exception of 0¡Bnumber¡Bsuccessor¡Band the singular term¡Bthe¡Bwhich were the primitives of his system. Russell took it upon himself to find logical definitions for each of these. Between 1897 and 1903 he published several articles applying Peano's notation to the classical Boole-Schroder algebra of relations¡Bamong them On the Notion of Order¡BSur la logique des relations avec les applications a la theorie des series¡Band On Cardinal Numbers.
Russell eventually discovered that Gottlob Frege had independently arrived at equivalent definitions for 0¡Bsuccessor¡Band number¡Band the definition of number is now usually referred to as the Frege-Russell definition. It was largely Russell who brought Frege to the attention of the English-speaking world. He did this in 1903¡Bwhen he published The Principles of Mathematics¡Bin which the concept of class is inextricably tied to the definition of number. The appendix to this work detailed a paradox arising in Frege's application of second- and higher-order functions which took first-order functions as their arguments¡Band he offered his first effort to resolve what would henceforth come to be known as the Russell Paradox. Before writing Principles¡BRussell became aware of Cantor's proof that there was no greatest cardinal number¡Bwhich Russell believed was mistaken. The Cantor Paradox in turn was shown (for example by Crossley) to be a special case of the Russell Paradox. This caused Russell to analyze classes¡Bfor it was known that given any number of elements¡Bthe number of classes they result in is greater than their number. This in turn led to the discovery of a very interesting class - namely¡Bthe class of all classes. It contains two kinds of classes: those classes that contain themselves¡Band those that do not. Consideration of this class led him to find a fatal flaw in the so-called principle of comprehension¡Bwhich had been taken for granted by logicians of the time. He showed that it resulted in a contradiction¡Bwhereby Y is a member of Y¡Bif and only if¡BY is not a member of Y. This has become known as Russell's paradox¡Bthe solution to which he outlined in an appendix to Principles¡Band which he later developed into a complete theory¡Bthe Theory of types. Aside from exposing a major inconsistency in naive set theory¡BRussell's work led directly to the creation of modern axiomatic set theory. It also crippled Frege's project of reducing arithmetic to logic. The Theory of Types and much of Russell's subsequent work have also found practical applications with computer science and information technology.
Russell continued to defend logicism¡Bthe view that mathematics is in some important sense reducible to logic¡Band along with his former teacher¡BAlfred North Whitehead¡Bwrote the monumental Principia Mathematica¡Ban axiomatic system on which all of mathematics can be built. The first volume of the Principia was published in 1910¡Band is largely ascribed to Russell. More than any other single work¡Bit established the specialty of mathematical or symbolic logic. Two more volumes were published¡Bbut their original plan to incorporate geometry in a fourth volume was never realized¡Band Russell never felt up to improving the original works¡Bthough he referenced new developments and problems in his preface to the second edition. Upon completing the Principia¡Bthree volumes of extraordinarily abstract and complex reasoning¡BRussell was exhausted¡Band he never felt his intellectual faculties fully recovered from the effort. Although the Principia did not fall prey to the paradoxes in Frege's approach¡Bit was later proven by Kurt Godel that neither Principia Mathematica¡Bnor any other consistent system of primitive recursive arithmetic¡Bcould¡Bwithin that system¡Bdetermine that every proposition that could be formulated within that system was decidable¡Bi.e. could decide whether that proposition or its negation was provable within the system (Godel's incompleteness theorem).
Russell's last significant work in mathematics and logic¡BIntroduction to Mathematical Philosophy¡Bwas written by hand while he was in jail for his anti-war activities during World War I. This was largely an explication of his previous work and its philosophical significance.
[edit] Philosophy of language
Russell was not the first philosopher to suggest that language had an important bearing on how we understand the world; however¡Bmore than anyone before him¡BRussell made language¡Bor more specifically¡Bhow we use language¡Ba central part of philosophy. Had there been no Russell¡Bit seems unlikely that philosophers such as Ludwig Wittgenstein¡BGilbert Ryle¡BJ. L. Austin¡Band P. F. Strawson¡Bamong others¡Bwould have embarked upon the same course¡Bfor so much of what they did was to amplify or respond¡Bsometimes critically¡Bto what Russell had said before them¡Busing many of the techniques that he originally developed. Russell¡Balong with Moore¡Bshared the idea that clarity of expression is a virtue¡Ba notion that has been a touchstone for philosophers ever since¡Bparticularly among those who deal with the philosophy of language.
Perhaps Russell's most significant contribution to philosophy of language is his theory of descriptions¡Bas presented in his seminal essay¡BOn Denoting¡Bfirst published in 1905 in the Mind philosophical journal¡Bwhich the mathematician and philosopher Frank P. Ramsey described as "a paradigm of philosophy." The theory is normally illustrated using the phrase "the present King of France"¡Bas in "The present king of France is bald." What object is this proposition about¡Bgiven that there is not¡Bat present¡Ba king of France? (Roughly the same problem would arise if there were two kings of France at present: which of them does "the king of France" denote?) Alexius Meinong had suggested that we must posit a realm of "nonexistent entities" that we can suppose we are referring to when we use expressions such as this; but this would be a strange theory¡Bto say the least. Frege¡Bemploying his distinction between sense and reference¡Bsuggested that such sentences¡Balthough meaningful¡Bwere neither true nor false. But some such propositions¡Bsuch as "If the present king of France is bald¡Bthen the present king of France has no hair on his head," seem not only truth-valuable but indeed obviously true.
The problem is general to what are called "definite descriptions." Normally this includes all terms beginning with "the"¡Band sometimes includes names¡Blike "Walter Scott." (This point is quite contentious: Russell sometimes thought that the latter terms shouldn't be called names at all¡Bbut only "disguised definite descriptions," but much subsequent work has treated them as altogether different things.) What is the "logical form" of definite descriptions: how¡Bin Frege's terms¡Bcould we paraphrase them in order to show how the truth of the whole depends on the truths of the parts? Definite descriptions appear to be like names that by their very nature denote exactly one thing¡Bneither more or less. What¡Bthen¡Bare we to say about the proposition as a whole if one of its parts apparently isn't functioning correctly?
Russell's solution was¡Bfirst of all¡Bto analyze not the term alone but the entire proposition that contained a definite description. "The present king of France is bald," he then suggested¡Bcan be reworded to "There is an x such that x is a present king of France¡Bnothing other than x is a present king of France¡Band x is bald." Russell claimed that each definite description in fact contains a claim of existence and a claim of uniqueness which give this appearance¡Bbut these can be broken apart and treated separately from the predication that is the obvious content of the proposition. The proposition as a whole then says three things about some object: the definite description contains two of them¡Band the rest of the sentence contains the other. If the object does not exist¡Bor if it is not unique¡Bthen the whole sentence turns out to be false¡Bnot meaningless.
One of the major complaints against Russell's theory¡Bdue originally to Strawson¡Bis that definite descriptions do not claim that their object exists¡Bthey merely presuppose that it does.
Wittgenstein¡BRussell's student¡Bachieved considerable prominence in the philosophy of language after the posthumous publication of the Philosophical Investigations. In Russell's opinion¡BWittgenstein's later work was misguided¡Band he decried its influence and that of its followers (especially members of the so-called "Oxford school" of ordinary language philosophy¡Bwhom he believed were promoting a kind of mysticism). However¡BRussell still held Wittgenstein and his early work in high regard¡Bhe thought of him as¡B"perhaps the most perfect example I have ever known of genius as traditionally conceived¡Bpassionate¡Bprofound¡Bintense¡Band dominating." Russell's belief that philosophy's task is not limited to examining ordinary language is once again widely accepted in philosophy.
[edit] Logical atomism
Perhaps Russell's most systematic¡Bmetaphysical treatment of philosophical analysis and his empiricist-centric logicism is evident in what he called Logical atomism¡Bwhich is explicated in a set of lectures¡B"The Philosophy of Logical Atomism," which he gave in 1918. In these lectures¡BRussell sets forth his concept of an ideal¡Bisomorphic language¡Bone that would mirror the world¡Bwhereby our knowledge can be reduced to terms of atomic propositions and their truth-functional compounds. Logical atomism is a form of radical empiricism¡Bfor Russell believed the most important requirement for such an ideal language is that every meaningful proposition must consist of terms referring directly to the objects with which we are acquainted¡Bor that they are defined by other terms referring to objects with which we are acquainted. Russell excluded certain formal¡Blogical terms such as all¡Bthe¡Bis¡Band so forth¡Bfrom his isomorphic requirement¡Bbut he was never entirely satisfied about our understanding of such terms. One of the central themes of Russell's atomism is that the world consists of logically independent facts¡Ba plurality of facts¡Band that our knowledge depends on the data of our direct experience of them. In his later life¡BRussell came to doubt aspects of logical atomism¡Bespecially his principle of isomorphism¡Bthough he continued to believe that the process of philosophy ought to consist of breaking things down into their simplest components¡Beven though we might not ever fully arrive at an ultimate atomic fact.
[edit] Epistemology
Russell's epistemology went through many phases. Once he shed neo-Hegelianism in his early years¡BRussell remained a philosophical realist for the remainder of his life¡Bbelieving that our direct experiences have primacy in the acquisition of knowledge. While some of his views have lost favour¡Bhis influence remains strong in the distinction between two ways in which we can be familiar with objects: "knowledge by acquaintance" and "knowledge by description". For a time¡BRussell thought that we could only be acquainted with our own sense data¡Xmomentary perceptions of colors¡Bsounds¡Band the like¡Xand that everything else¡Bincluding the physical objects that these were sense data of¡Bcould only be inferred¡Bor reasoned to¡Xi.e. known by description¡Xand not known directly. This distinction has gained much wider application¡Bthough Russell eventually rejected the idea of an intermediate sense datum.
In his later philosophy¡BRussell subscribed to a kind of neutral monism¡Bmaintaining that the distinctions between the material and mental worlds¡Bin the final analysis¡Bwere arbitrary¡Band that both can be reduced to a neutral property¡Xa view similar to one held by the American philosopher/psychologist¡BWilliam James¡Band one that was first formulated by Baruch Spinoza¡Bwhom Russell greatly admired. Instead of James' "pure experience"¡Bhowever¡BRussell characterised the stuff of our initial states of perception as "events"¡Ba stance which is curiously akin to his old teacher Whitehead's process philosophy.
[edit] Philosophy of science
Russell frequently claimed that he was more convinced of his method of doing philosophy¡Bthe method of analysis¡Bthan of his philosophical conclusions. Science¡Bof course¡Bwas one of the principal components of analysis¡Balong with logic and mathematics. While Russell was a believer in the scientific method¡Bknowledge derived from empirical research that is verified through repeated testing¡Bhe believed that science reaches only tentative answers¡Band that scientific progress is piecemeal¡Band attempts to find organic unities were largely futile. Indeed¡Bhe believed the same was true of philosophy. Another founder of modern philosophy of science¡BErnst Mach¡Bplaced less reliance on method¡Bper se¡Bfor he believed that any method that produced predictable results was satisfactory and that the principal role of the scientist was to make successful predictions. While Russell would doubtless agree with this as a practical matter¡Bhe believed that the ultimate objective of both science and philosophy was to understand reality¡Bnot simply to make predictions.
The fact that Russell made science a central part of his method and of philosophy was instrumental in making the philosophy of science a full-blooded¡Bseparate branch of philosophy and an area in which subsequent philosophers specialised. Much of Russell's thinking about science is expressed in his 1914 book¡BOur Knowledge of the External World as a Field for Scientific Method in Philosophy. Among the several schools that were influenced by Russell were the logical positivists¡Bparticularly Rudolph Carnap¡Bwho maintained that the distinguishing feature of scientific propositions was their verifiability. This contrasted with the theory of Karl Popper¡Balso greatly influenced by Russell¡Bwho believed that their importance rested in the fact that they were potentially falsifiable.
It is worth noting that outside of his strictly philosophical pursuits¡BRussell was always fascinated by science¡Bparticularly physics¡Band he even authored several popular science books¡BThe ABC of Atoms (1923) and The ABC of Relativity (1925).
[edit] Ethics
While Russell wrote a great deal on ethical subject matters¡Bhe did not believe that the subject belonged to philosophy or that when he wrote on ethics that he did so in his capacity as a philosopher. In his earlier years¡BRussell was greatly influenced by G.E. Moore's Principia Ethica. Along with Moore¡Bhe then believed that moral facts were objective¡Bbut known only through intuition; that they were simple properties of objects¡Bnot equivalent (e.g.¡Bpleasure is good) to the natural objects to which they are often ascribed (see Naturalistic fallacy); and that these simple¡Bundefinable moral properties cannot be analyzed using the non-moral properties with which they are associated. In time¡Bhowever¡Bhe came to agree with his philosophical hero¡BDavid Hume¡Bwho believed that ethical terms dealt with subjective values that cannot be verified in the same way as matters of fact.
Coupled with Russell's other doctrines¡Bthis influenced the logical positivists¡Bwho formulated the theory of emotivism or cognitivism¡Bwhich states that ethical propositions (along with those of metaphysics) were essentially meaningless and nonsensical or¡Bat best¡Blittle more than expressions of attitudes and preferences. Notwithstanding his influence on them¡BRussell himself did not construe ethical propositions as narrowly as the positivists¡Bfor he believed that ethical considerations are not only meaningful¡Bbut that they are a vital subject matter for civil discourse. Indeed¡Bthough Russell was often characterised as the patron saint of rationality¡Bhe agreed with Hume¡Bwho said that reason ought to be subordinate to ethical considerations.
[edit] Religion and theology
For most of his adult life Russell maintained that religion is little more than superstition and¡Bdespite any positive effects that religion might have¡Bit is largely harmful to people. He believed religion and the religious outlook (he considered communism and other systematic ideologies to be forms of religion) serve to impede knowledge¡Bfoster fear and dependency¡Band are responsible for much of the war¡Boppression¡Band misery that have beset the world.
In his 1949 speech¡B"Am I an Atheist or an Agnostic?"¡BRussell expressed his difficulty over whether to call himself an atheist or an agnostic:
As a philosopher¡Bif I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic¡Bbecause I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one can prove that there is not a God. On the other hand¡Bif I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think that I ought to say that I am an Atheist¡Bbecause¡Bwhen I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God¡BI ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods.
¡V Bertrand Russell¡BCollected Papers¡Bvol. 11¡Bp. 91
The problem with the word "agnostic" comes from its misuse in the hands of Aldous Huxley's uncle¡Bthe biologist who backed Darwin's "theory of evolution"; none other than Thomas Huxley. He used the word "agnostic" to mean "he wasn't sure" while the word itself in its real sense means "ignorant". Perhaps the word "ignorant" for Huxley¡Bas for anyone else¡Bis too-strong-a-word.
Though he would later question God's existence¡Bhe fully accepted the ontological argument during his undergraduate years:
For two or three years...I was a Hegelian. I remember the exact moment during my fourth year [in 1894] when I became one. I had gone out to buy a tin of tobacco¡Band was going back with it along Trinity Lane¡Bwhen I suddenly threw it up in the air and exclaimed: "Great God in Boots! -- the ontological argument is sound!"
¡V Bertrand Russell¡BAutobiography of Bertrand Russell¡BVol. 1¡B1967.
This quote has been used by many theologians over the years¡Bsuch as by Louis Pojman in his Philosophy of Religion¡Bwho wish for readers to believe that even a well-known atheist-philosopher supported this particular argument for God's existence. However¡Bsuch theologians should note that¡Belsewhere in his autobiography¡BRussell mentions the following:
About two years later¡BI became convinced that there is no life after death¡Bbut I still believed in God¡Bbecause the "First Cause" argument appeared to be irrefutable. At the age of eighteen¡Bhowever¡Bshortly before I went to Cambridge¡BI read Mill's Autobiography¡Bwhere I found a sentence to the effect that his father taught him the question "Who made me?" cannot be answered¡Bsince it immediately suggests the further question "Who made God?" This led me to abandon the "First Cause" argument¡Band to become an atheist.
¡V Bertrand Russell¡BAutobiography of Bertrand Russell¡BVol. 1¡B1967.
Russell made an influential analysis of the omphalos hypothesis enunciated by Philip Henry Gosse¡Xthat any argument suggesting that the world was created as if it were already in motion could just as easily make it a few minutes old as a few thousand years:
There is no logical impossibility in the hypothesis that the world sprang into being five minutes ago¡Bexactly as it then was¡Bwith a population that "remembered" a wholly unreal past. There is no logically necessary connection between events at different times; therefore nothing that is happening now or will happen in the future can disprove the hypothesis that the world began five minutes ago.
¡V Bertrand Russell¡BThe Analysis of Mind¡B1921¡Bpp. 159¡V60; cf. Philosophy¡BNorton¡B1927¡Bp. 7¡Bwhere Russell acknowledges Gosse's paternity of this anti-evolutionary argument.
As a young man¡BRussell had a decidedly religious bent¡Bhimself¡Bas is evident in his early Platonism. He longed for eternal truths¡Bas he makes clear in his famous essay¡B"A Free Man's Worship"¡Bwidely regarded as a masterpiece of prose¡Bbut a work that Russell came to dislike. While he rejected the supernatural¡Bhe freely admitted that he yearned for a deeper meaning to life.
Russell's views on religion can be found in his popular book¡BWhy I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects (ISBN 0-671-20323-1). Its title essay was a talk given on March 6¡B1927 at Battersea Town Hall¡Bunder the auspices of the South London Branch of the National Secular Society¡BUK¡Band published later that year as a pamphlet. The book also contains other essays in which Russell considers a number of logical arguments for the existence of God¡Bincluding the first cause argument¡Bthe natural-law argument¡Bthe argument from design¡Band moral arguments. He also discusses specifics about Christian theology.
His conclusion:
Religion is based¡BI think¡Bprimarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly¡Bas I have said¡Bthe wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. [¡K] A good world needs knowledge¡Bkindliness¡Band courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men.
¡V Bertrand Russell¡BWhy I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects
[edit] Influence on philosophy
Russell had a major influence on modern philosophy¡Bespecially in the English-speaking world. While others were also influential¡Bnotably Frege¡BMoore¡Band Wittgenstein¡BRussell made analysis the dominant methodology of professional philosophy. The various analytic movements throughout the last century all owe something to Russell's earlier works.
Russell's influence on individual philosophers is singular¡Bperhaps most notably in the case of Ludwig Wittgenstein¡Bwho was his student between 1911 and 1914. It should also be observed that Wittgenstein exerted considerable influence on Russell¡Bespecially in leading him to conclude¡Bmuch to his regret¡Bthat mathematical truths were purely tautological truths. Evidence of Russell's influence on Wittgenstein can be seen throughout the Tractatus¡Bwhich Russell was instrumental in having published. Russell also helped to secure Wittgenstein's doctorate and a faculty position at Cambridge¡Balong with several fellowships along the way. However¡Bas previously stated¡Bhe came to disagree with Wittgenstein's later linguistic and analytic approach to philosophy¡Bwhile Wittgenstein came to think of Russell as "superficial and glib"¡Bparticularly in his popular writings. Russell's influence is also evident in the work of A. J. Ayer¡BRudolf Carnap¡BAlonzo Church¡BKurt Godel¡BDavid Kaplan¡BSaul Kripke¡BKarl Popper¡BW. V. Quine¡BJohn R. Searle¡Band a number of other philosophers and logicians.
Some see Russell's influence as mostly negative¡Bprimarily those who have been critical of Russell's emphasis on science and logic¡Bthe consequent diminishing of metaphysics¡Band of his insistence that ethics lies outside of philosophy. Russell's admirers and detractors are often more acquainted with his pronouncements on social and political matters¡Bor what some (e.g.¡Bbiographer Ray Monk) have called his "journalism"¡Bthan they are with his technical¡Bphilosophical work. There is a marked tendency to conflate these matters¡Band to judge Russell the philosopher on what he himself would certainly consider to be his non-philosophical opinions. Russell often cautioned people to make this distinction.
Russell left a large assortment of writing. From his adolescent years¡BRussell wrote about 3,000 words a day¡Bin long hand¡Bwith relatively few corrections; his first draft nearly always was his last draft¡Beven on the most complex¡Btechnical matters. His previously unpublished work is an immense treasure trove¡Band scholars are continuing to gain new insights into Russell's thought.
[edit] Activism
Political and social activism occupied much of Russell's time for most of his long life¡Bwhich makes his prodigious and seminal writing on a wide range of technical and non-technical subjects all the more remarkable.
Russell remained politically active to the end¡Bwriting and exhorting world leaders and lending his name to various causes. Some maintain that during his last few years he gave his youthful followers too much license and that they used his name for some outlandish purposes that a more attentive Russell would not have approved. There is evidence to show that he became aware of this when he fired his private secretary¡BRalph Schoenman¡Bthen a young firebrand of the radical left.
[edit] Pacifism¡Bwar and nuclear weapons
"War does not determine who is right¡Bonly who is left."
Despite the ready image still provided by popular culture¡BRussell was never a complete pacifist. He resisted specific wars¡Bprotesting against them in specific ways¡Bon the grounds that they were contrary to the interests of civilization¡Band thus immoral. Indeed¡Bin his 1915 article on "The Ethics of War"¡Bhe defended wars of colonization on the same utilitarian grounds: he felt conquest was justified if the side with the more advanced civilization could put the land to better use. So¡Bwhen it is said¡Brightly¡Bthat Russell opposed nearly all wars between modern nations¡Bit must be understood in this sense.
Russell's activism against British participation in World War I led to fines¡Ba loss of freedom of travel within Britain¡Band the non-renewal of his fellowship at Trinity College¡BCambridge. He was attacked as a 'traitor' in the press¡Btreated like a security risk by his own government¡Band many of his closest friends deserted him. He was eventually sentenced to prison in 1918 on the tenuous grounds that he had interfered in British Foreign Policy - he had argued that British workers should be wary of the United States Army¡Bfor it had experience in strike-breaking. He was released after serving six months¡Bbut was still closely supervised until the end of the war.
In 1943 Russell called his stance towards warfare "relative political pacifism"¡Xhe held that war was always a great evil¡Bbut in some particularly extreme circumstances (such as when Adolf Hitler threatened to take over Europe) it might be a lesser of multiple evils. In the years leading to World War II¡Bhe supported the policy of appeasement; but by 1940 he acknowledged that in order to preserve democracy¡BHitler had to be defeated. This same reluctant value compromise was shared by his acquaintance A.A. Milne.
Russell was fairly consistently opposed to the continued existence of nuclear weapons from the time of their first use. However¡Bon November 20¡B1948¡Bin a public speech at Westminster School¡Baddressing a gathering arranged by the New Commonwealth¡BRussell shocked some observers with comments that seemed to suggest a preemptive nuclear strike on the Soviet Union might be justified. Russell apparently argued that the threat of war between the United States and the Soviet Union would enable the United States to force the Soviet Union to accept the Baruch Plan for international atomic energy control. (Earlier in the year he had written in the same vein to Walter W. Marseille.) Russell felt this plan "had very great merits and showed considerable generosity¡Bwhen it is remembered that America still had an unbroken nuclear monopoly." (Has Man a Future?¡B1961). However Nicholas Griffin of McMaster University¡Bin his book The Selected Letters of Bertrand Russell: The Public Years¡B1914-1970¡Bhas claimed (after obtaining a transcript of the speech) that Russell's wording implies he didn't advocate the actual use of the atom bomb¡Bbut merely its diplomatic use as a massive source of leverage over the actions of the Soviets. Griffin's interpretation was disputed by Nigel Lawson¡Bthe former British Chancellor¡Bwho was present at the speech¡Bclaims it was quite clear that Russell was advocating an actual First Strike. Whichever interpretation is correct¡BRussell later relented¡Binstead arguing for mutual disarmament by the nuclear powers¡Bpossibly linked to some form of world government.
In 1955 Russell released the Russell-Einstein Manifesto¡Bco-signed by Albert Einstein and nine other leading scientists and intellectuals¡Ba document which led to the first of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs in 1957. In 1958¡BRussell became the first president of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. He resigned two years later when the CND would not support civil disobedience¡Band formed the Committee of 100. In September 1961 he was imprisoned for a week for inciting civil disobedience¡Bwhen he took part in a huge ban-the-bomb demonstration at the Ministry of Defence but the sentence was quashed on account of his age.
In 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis Russell sent telegrams to Kennedy¡BKhrushchev¡Bthe UN Secretary-General U Thant and British prime minister Macmillan¡Bwhich may have helped to prevent further escalation and a possible nuclear war. Khrushchev replied with a long letter¡Bpublished by the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS¡Bwhich was mainly addressed to Kennedy and the Western world.[24]
Increasingly concerned about the potential danger to humanity arising from nuclear weapons and other scientific discoveries¡Bhe also joined with Einstein¡BOppenheimer¡BRotblat and other eminent scientists of the day to establish the World Academy of Art and Science which was formally constituted in 1960.
Russell made a cameo appearance playing himself in the anti-war Bollywood film "Aman" which was released in India in 1967. This was Russell's only appearance in a feature film.
The Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation began work in 1963¡Bin order to carry forward Russell's work for peace¡Bhuman rights and social justice. He began public opposition to U.S. policy in Vietnam with a letter to the New York Times dated March 28¡B1963. By the autumn of 1966 he had completed the manuscript of "War Crimes in Vietnam". Then¡Busing the American justifications for the Nuremberg Trials¡BRussell¡Balong with Jean-Paul Sartre¡Borganised what he called an international War Crimes Tribunal¡Ba.k.a the Russell Tribunal.
Russell was an early critic of the official story in the John F. Kennedy assassination; his "16 Questions on the Assassination" from 1964 is still considered a good summary of the apparent inconsistencies in that case.
[edit] Communism and socialism
Russell initially expressed great hope in "the Communist experiment". However¡Bwhen he visited the Soviet Union and met Lenin in 1920¡Bhe was unimpressed with the system in place. On his return he wrote a critical tract¡BThe Practice and Theory of Bolshevism. He was "infinitely unhappy in this atmosphere¡Xstifled by its utilitarianism¡Bits indifference to love and beauty and the life of impulse." He believed Lenin to be similar to a religious zealot¡Bcold and possessing "no love of liberty."
In the United Kingdom general election¡B1922 and UK General Election¡B1923 Russell stood as a Labour Party candidate in the Chelsea constituency¡Bbut only on the basis that he knew he was extremely unlikely to be elected in such a safe Conservative seat¡Band he wasn't on either occasion.
Politically¡BRussell envisioned a kind of benevolent¡Blibertarian socialism¡Bsimilar in some ways to¡Byet possessing important differences from¡Bthe conception promoted by the Fabian Society. He was strongly critical of Stalin's regime¡Band of the practices of states proclaiming Marxism and Communism generally. Russell was a consistent enthusiast for democracy and world government¡Band advocated the establishment of a democratic international government in some of the essays collected in In Praise of Idleness (1935)¡Band also in Has Man a Future? (1961).
One who believes as I do¡Bthat free intellect is the chief engine of human progress¡Bcannot but be fundamentally opposed to Bolshevism as much as to the Church of Rome. The hopes which inspire communism are¡Bin the main¡Bas admirable as those instilled by the Sermon on the Mount¡Bbut they are held as fanatically and are as likely to do as much harm.
¡V Bertrand Russell¡BThe Practice and Theory of Bolshevism¡B1920
For my part¡Bwhile I am as convinced a Socialist as the most ardent Marxian¡BI do not regard Socialism as a gospel of proletarian revenge¡Bnor even¡Bprimarily¡Bas a means of securing economic justice. I regard it primarily as an adjustment to machine production demanded by considerations of common sense¡Band calculated to increase the happiness¡Bnot only of proletarians¡Bbut of all except a tiny minority of the human race.
¡V Bertrand Russell¡B"The Case for Socialism" (In Praise of Idleness¡B1935)
Modern methods of production have given us the possibility of ease and security for all; we have chosen¡Binstead¡Bto have overwork for some and starvation for the others. Hitherto we have continued to be as energetic as we were before there were machines; in this we have been foolish¡Bbut there is no reason to go on being foolish for ever.
¡V Bertrand Russell¡BIn Praise of Idleness¡B1935
[edit] Women's suffrage
As a young man¡BRussell was a member of the Liberal Party and wrote in favor of free trade and women's suffrage. In his 1910 pamphlet¡BAnti-Suffragist Anxieties¡BRussell wrote that some men opposed suffrage because they "fear that their liberty to act in ways that are injurious to women will be curtailed." In 1907 he was nominated by the National Union of Suffrage Societies to run for Parliament in a by-election¡Bwhich he lost by a wide margin.
[edit] Sexuality
Russell wrote against Victorian notions of morality. Marriage and Morals (1929) expressed his opinion that sex between a man and woman who are not married to each other is not necessarily immoral if they truly love one another¡Band advocated "trial marriages" or "companionate marriage"¡Bformalised relationships whereby young people could legitimately have sexual intercourse without being expected to remain married in the long term or to have children (an idea first proposed by Judge Ben Lindsey). This might not seem extreme by today's standards¡Bbut it was enough to raise vigorous protests and denunciations against him during his visit to the United States shortly after the book's publication. Russell was also ahead of his time in advocating open sex education and widespread access to contraception. He also advocated easy divorce¡Bbut only if the marriage had produced no children - Russell's view was that parents should remain married but tolerant of each other's sexual infidelity¡Bif they had children. This reflected his life at the time - his second wife Dora was openly having an affair¡Band would soon become pregnant by another man¡Bbut Russell was keen for their children John and Kate to have a "normal" family life.
Russell was also active within the Homosexual Law Reform Society¡Bbeing one of the signatories of Anthony Edward Dyson's letter calling for a change in the law regarding homosexual practices¡Bwhich were legalised in 1967¡Bwhen Russell was still alive.
Russell's private life was even more unconventional and freewheeling than his published writings revealed¡Bbut that was not well known at the time. For example¡Bphilosopher Sidney Hook reports that Russell often spoke of his sexual prowess and of his various conquests.
[edit] Race
As with his views on religion¡Bwhich developed considerably throughout his long life¡BRussell's views on the matter of race did not remain fixed. By 1951¡BRussell was a vocal advocate of racial equality and intermarriage; he penned a chapter on "Racial Antagonism" in New Hopes for a Changing World (1951)¡Bwhich read:
It is sometimes maintained that racial mixture is biologically undesirable. There is no evidence whatever for this view. Nor is there¡Bapparently¡Bany reason to think that Negroes are congenitally less intelligent than white people¡Bbut as to that it will be difficult to judge until they have equal scope and equally good social conditions.
¡V Bertrand Russell¡BNew Hopes for a Changing World (London: Allen & Unwin¡B1951¡Bp. 108)
Passages in some of his early writings support birth control. On November 16¡B1922¡Bfor instance¡Bhe gave a lecture to the General Meeting of Dr. Marie Stopes's Society for Constructive Birth Control and Racial Progress on "Birth Control and International Relations," in which he described the importance of extending Western birth control worldwide; his remarks anticipated the population control movement of the 1960s and the role of the United Nations.
This policy may last some time¡Bbut in the end under it we shall have to give way--we are only putting off the evil day; the one real remedy is birth control¡Bthat is getting the people of the world to limit themselves to those numbers which they can keep upon their own soil... I do not see how we can hope permanently to be strong enough to keep the coloured races out; sooner or later they are bound to overflow¡Bso the best we can do is to hope that those nations will see the wisdom of Birth Control.... We need a strong international authority.
¡V "Lecture by the Hon. Bertrand Russell"¡BBirth Control News¡Bvol 1¡Bno. 8 (December 1922)¡Bp.2
Another passage from early editions of his book Marriage and Morals (1929)¡Bwhich Russell later clarified as referring only to the situation as resulting from environmental conditioning¡Band which he had removed from later editions¡Breads:
In extreme cases there can be little doubt of the superiority of one race to another.... There is no sound reason to regard negroes as on the average inferior to white men¡Balthough for work in the tropics they are indispensable¡Bso that their extermination (apart from questions of humanity) would be highly undesirable.
¡V Bertrand Russell¡BMarriage and Morals (1929)
Russell later criticized eugenic programs for their vulnerability to corruption¡Band¡Bin 1932¡Bhe condemned the "unwarranted assumption" that "Negroes are congenitally inferior to white men" (Education and the Social Order¡BChap. 3).
Responding in 1964 to a correspondent's enquiry¡B"do you still consider the Negroes an inferior race¡Bas you did when you wrote Marriage and Morals?"¡BRussell replied:
I never held Negroes to be inherently inferior. The statement in Marriage and Morals refers to environmental conditioning. I have had it withdrawn from subsequent editions because it is clearly ambiguous.
¡V Bertrand Russell¡Bletter dated March 17¡B1964 in Dear Bertrand Russell... a selection of his correspondence with the general public¡B1950-1968. edited by Barry Feinberg and Ronald Kasrils.(London: Allen & Unwin¡B1969¡Bp. 146)
[edit] Further reading
[edit] Selected bibliography of Russell's books
This is a selected bibliography of Russell's books in English sorted by year of first publication.
¡P 1896¡BGerman Social Democracy¡BLondon: Longmans¡BGreen.
¡P 1897¡BAn Essay on the Foundations of Geometry¡BCambridge: At the University Press.
¡P 1900¡BA Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz¡BCambridge: At the University Press.
¡P 1903¡BThe Principles of Mathematics¡BCambridge: At the University Press.
¡P 1905 On Denoting¡BMind vol. 14¡BNS¡BISSN: 00264425¡BBasil Blackwell
¡P 1910¡BPhilosophical Essays¡BLondon: Longmans¡BGreen.
¡P 1910¡V1913¡BPrincipia Mathematica (with Alfred North Whitehead)¡B3 vols.¡BCambridge: At the University Press.
¡P 1912¡BThe Problems of Philosophy¡BLondon: Williams and Norgate.
¡P 1914¡BOur Knowledge of the External World as a Field for Scientific Method in Philosophy¡BChicago and London: Open Court Publishing.
¡P 1916¡BPrinciples of Social Reconstruction¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1916¡BJustice in War-time¡BChicago: Open Court.
¡P 1917¡BPolitical Ideals¡BNew York: The Century Co.
¡P 1918¡BMysticism and Logic and Other Essays¡BLondon: Longmans¡BGreen.
¡P 1918¡BRoads to Freedom: Socialism¡BAnarchism¡Band Syndicalism¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1919¡BIntroduction to Mathematical Philosophy¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin¡B(ISBN 0-415-09604-9 for Routledge paperback).
¡P 1920¡BThe Practice and Theory of Bolshevism,London: George Allen & Unwin
¡P 1921¡BThe Analysis of Mind¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1922¡BThe Problem of China¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1923¡BThe Prospects of Industrial Civilization (in collaboration with Dora Russell)¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1923¡BThe ABC of Atoms¡BLondon: Kegan Paul¡BTrench¡BTrubner.
¡P 1924¡BIcarus¡Bor the Future of Science¡BLondon: Kegan Paul¡BTrench¡BTrubner.
¡P 1925¡BThe ABC of Relativity¡BLondon: Kegan Paul¡BTrench¡BTrubner.
¡P 1925¡BWhat I Believe¡BLondon: Kegan Paul¡BTrench¡BTrubner.
¡P 1926¡BOn Education¡BEspecially in Early Childhood¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1927¡BThe Analysis of Matter¡BLondon: Kegan Paul¡BTrench¡BTrubner.
¡P 1927¡BAn Outline of Philosophy¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1927¡BWhy I Am Not a Christian¡BLondon: Watts.
¡P 1927¡BSelected Papers of Bertrand Russell¡BNew York: Modern Library.
¡P 1928¡BSceptical Essays¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1929¡BMarriage and Morals¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1930¡BThe Conquest of Happiness¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1931¡BThe Scientific Outlook¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1932¡BEducation and the Social Order¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1934¡BFreedom and Organization¡B1814¡V1914¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1935¡BIn Praise of Idleness¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1935¡BReligion and Science¡BLondon: Thornton Butterworth.
¡P 1936¡BWhich Way to Peace?¡BLondon: Jonathan Cape.
¡P 1937¡BThe Amberley Papers: The Letters and Diaries of Lord and Lady Amberley (with Patricia Russell)¡B2 vols.¡BLondon: Leonard & Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press.
¡P 1938¡BPower: A New Social Analysis¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1940¡BAn Inquiry into Meaning and Truth¡BNew York: W. W. Norton & Company.
¡P 1946¡BA History of Western Philosophy and Its Connection with Political and Social Circumstances from the Earliest Times to the Present Day¡BNew York: Simon and Schuster.
¡P 1948¡BHuman Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1949¡BAuthority and the Individual¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1950¡BUnpopular Essays¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1951¡BNew Hopes for a Changing World¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1952¡BThe Impact of Science on Society¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1953¡BSatan in the Suburbs and Other Stories¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1954¡BHuman Society in Ethics and Politics¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1954¡BNightmares of Eminent Persons and Other Stories¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1956¡BPortraits from Memory and Other Essays¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1956¡BLogic and Knowledge: Essays 1901¡V1950 (edited by Robert C. Marsh)¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1957¡BWhy I Am Not A Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects (edited by Paul Edwards)¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1958¡BUnderstanding History and Other Essays¡BNew York: Philosophical Library.
¡P 1959¡BCommon Sense and Nuclear Warfare¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1959¡BMy Philosophical Development¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1959¡BWisdom of the West ("editor"¡BPaul Foulkes)¡BLondon: Macdonald.
¡P 1960¡BBertrand Russell Speaks His Mind¡BCleveland and New York: World Publishing Company.
¡P 1961¡BThe Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell (edited by R.E. Egner and L.E. Denonn)¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1961¡BFact and Fiction¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1961¡BHas Man a Future?¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1963¡BEssays in Skepticism¡BNew York: Philosophical Library.
¡P 1963¡BUnarmed Victory¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1965¡BOn the Philosophy of Science (edited by Charles A. Fritz¡BJr.)¡BIndianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company.
¡P 1967¡BRussell's Peace Appeals (edited by Tsutomu Makino and Kazuteru Hitaka)¡BJapan: Eichosha's New Current Books.
¡P 1967¡BWar Crimes in Vietnam¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1967¡V1969¡BThe Autobiography of Bertrand Russell¡B3 vols.¡BLondon: George Allen & Unwin.
¡P 1969¡BDear Bertrand Russell... A Selection of his Correspondence with the General Public 1950¡V1968 (edited by Barry Feinberg and Ronald Kasrils)¡BLondon: George Allen and Unwin.
Note: This is a mere sampling¡Bfor Russell also authored many pamphlets¡Bintroductions¡Barticles and letters to the editor. His works also can be found in any number of anthologies and collections¡Bperhaps most notably The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell¡Bwhich McMaster University began publishing in 1983. This collection of his shorter and previously unpublished works is now up to 16 volumes¡Band many more are forthcoming. An additional three volumes catalogue just his bibliography. The Russell Archives at McMaster University also have more than 30,000 letters that he wrote.
Additional References:
A. Russell
¡P 1900¡BSur la logique des relations avec des applications a la theorie des series¡BRivista di matematica 7: 115-148.
¡P 1901¡BOn the Notion of Order¡BMind (n.s.) 10: 35-51.
¡P 1902¡B(with Alfred North Whitehead)¡BOn Cardinal Numbers¡BAmerican Journal of Mathematics 23: 367-384.
B. Secondary references:
¡P John Newsome Crossley. A Note on Cantor's Theorem and Russell's Paradox¡BAustralian Journal of Philosophy 51: 70-71.
¡P Ivor Grattan-Guinness¡B2000. The Search for Mathematical Roots 1870-1940. Princeton University Press.
[edit] Books about Russell's philosophy
¡P Bertrand Russell: Critical Assessments¡Bedited by A. D. Irvine¡B4 volumes¡BLondon: Routledge¡B1999. Consists of essays on Russell's work by many distinguished philosophers.
¡P Bertrand Russell¡Bby John Slater¡BBristol: Thoemmes Press¡B1994.
¡P Bertrand Russell's Ethics. by Michael K. Potter¡BBristol: Thoemmes Continuum¡B2006. A clear and accessible explanation of Russell's moral philosophy.
¡P The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell¡Bedited by P.A. Schilpp¡BEvanston and Chicago: Northwestern University¡B1944.
¡P Russell¡Bby A. J. Ayer¡BLondon: Fontana¡B1972. ISBN 0-00-632965-9. A lucid summary exposition of Russell's thought.
¡P The Lost Cause: Causation and the Mind-Body Problem¡Bby Celia Green. Oxford: Oxford Forum¡B2003. ISBN 0-9536772-1-4 Contains a sympathetic analysis of Russell's views on causality.
[edit] Biographical books
¡P Bertrand Russell: 1872¡V1920 The Spirit of Solitude by Ray Monk (1997) ISBN 0-09-973131-2
¡P Bertrand Russell: 1921¡V1970 The Ghost of Madness by Ray Monk (2001) ISBN 0-09-927275-X
¡P Bertrand Russell: Philosopher and Humanist¡Bby John Lewis (1968)
¡P Bertrand Russell¡Bby A. J. Ayer (1972)¡Breprint ed. 1988: ISBN 0-226-03343-0
¡P The Life of Bertrand Russell¡Bby Ronald W. Clark (1975) ISBN 0-394-49059-2
¡P Bertrand Russell and His World¡Bby Ronald W. Clark (1981) ISBN 0-500-13070-1
[edit] References
1. ^ Richard Rempel (1979). "From Imperialism to Free Trade: Couturat¡BHalevy and Russell's First Crusade". Journal of the History of Ideas 40 (3): 423-443.
2. ^ Bertrand Russell [1917] (1988). Political Ideals. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-10907-8.
3. ^ a b c d
4. ^ a b c d The Nobel Foundation (1950). Bertrand Russell: The Nobel Prize in Literature 1950. Retrieved on June 11¡B2007.
5. ^ a b Bloy¡BMarjie¡BPh.D.. Lord John Russell (1792-1878). Retrieved on 2007-10-28.
6. ^ Cokayne¡BG.E.; Vicary Gibbs¡BH.A. Doubleday¡BGeoffrey H. White¡BDuncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden¡Beditors. The Complete Peerage of England¡BScotland¡BIreland¡BGreat Britain and the United Kingdom¡BExtant¡BExtinct or Dormant¡Bnew ed.. 13 volumes in 14. 1910-1959. Reprint in 6 volumes¡BGloucester¡BU.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing¡B2000.
7. ^ a b c Paul¡BAshley. Bertrand Russell: The Man and His Ideas.. Retrieved on 2007-10-28.
8. ^ The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell¡Bp.38
9. ^ Lenz¡BJohn R. (date unknown). "Bertrand Russell and the Greeks" (PDF). Retrieved on 2007-10-27.
10. ^ O'Connor¡BJ. J.; E. F. Robertson (October 2003). Alfred North Whitehead. School of Mathematics and Statistics¡BUniversity of St Andrews¡BScotland. Retrieved on 2007-11-08.
11. ^ Griffin¡BNicholas; Albert C. Lewis. Bertrand Russell's Mathematical Education. Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London¡BVol. 44¡BNo. 1. 51-71. Retrieved on 2007-11-08.
12. ^ Wallechinsky¡BDavid; Irving Wallace (1981). Famous Marriages Bertrand Russell & Alla Pearsall Smith¡BPart 1. The People's Almanac. Retrieved on 2007-11-15.
13. ^ a b Wallechinsky¡BDavid; Irving Wallace (1981). Famous Marriages Bertrand Russell & Alla Pearsall Smith¡BPart 3. The People's Almanac. Retrieved on 2007-11-15.
14. ^ Kimball¡BRoger. Love¡Blogic & unbearable pity: The private Bertrand Russell. The New Criterion Vol. 11¡BNo. 1¡BSeptember 1992. The New Criterion. Retrieved on 2007-11-15.
15. ^ Simkin¡BJohn. London School of Economics. Retrieved on 2007-11-16.
16. ^ Russell¡BBertrand (2001). in Ray Perkins: Yours Faithfully¡BBertrand Russell: Letters to the Editor 1904-1969. Chicago: Open Court Publishing¡B16. ISBN 0-8126-9449-X. Retrieved on 2007-11-16.
17. ^ Russell on Wittgenstein
18. ^ Vellacott¡BJo (1980). Bertrand Russell and the Pacifists in the First World War. Brighton: Harvester Press. ISBN 0855274549.
19. ^ Bertrand Russell (1872-1970). Farlex¡BInc.. Retrieved on 2007-12-11.
20. ^ "Bertrand Russell Reported Dead" (PDF). The New York Times (April 21¡B1921). Retrieved on 2007-12-11.
21. ^ Russell¡BBertrand (2000). in Richard A . Rempel: "Uncertain Paths to Freedom: Russia and China¡B1919-22". Routledge¡Blxviii. ISBN 0415094119.
22. ^ Russell's last political speech
23. ^ Russell¡BBertrand (1992). The Analysis of Matter. London: Routledge¡B424. ISBN 0-415-08297-8.
24. ^ Horst-Eberhard Richter (2006). Die Krise der Mannlichkeit in der unerwachsenen Gesellschaft. Psychosozial-Verlag. ISBN 3898065707.
[edit] External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Bertrand Russell

Wikisource has original works written by or about:
Bertrand Russell
[edit] Writings available online
Works by Bertrand Russell at Project Gutenberg
"Mysticism" (1961)
"A Free Man's Worship" (1903)
"Am I an Atheist or an Agnostic?" (1947)
"Icarus¡Bor The Future of Science" 1923
"Has Religion Made Useful Contributions to Civilization?" 1930
"Ideas that Have Harmed Mankind" (1950)
"In Praise of Idleness" (1932)
"What Desires Are Politically Important?" (1950)
Political Ideals (1917)
The Problem of China
The Problems of Philosophy
Proposed Roads to Freedom (1918)
"16 Questions on the Assassination" (of President Kennedy)
The Analysis Of Mind
What is an Agnostic?
Why I am not a Christian
The War and Non-Resistance¡XA Rejoinder to Professor Perry
War and Non-Resistance (1915)
The Ethics of War (1915)
Principia Mathematica (1910)
"The Elements of Ethics" (1910)
The Principles of Mathematics (1903)
An essay on the foundations of geometry
History of Western Philosophy (1946)
My Philosophical Development (1959)
Portraits from Memory and Other Essays (1956)
Unpopular Essays (1950)
Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy (1920)
The Scientific Outlook (1954)
An Outline of Philosophy (1951)
Common Sense and Nuclear Warfare (1959)
Our Knowledge of the External World (1914)
Legitimacy Versus Industrialism 1814-1848 (1935)
Authority and the Individual (1949)
Education and the Social Order (1932)
Nightmares of Eminent Persons and Other Stories (1954)
Why Men Fight: A Method of Abolishing the International Duel (1917)
Justice in Wartime (1917)
Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays (1917)