'The Problems of Philosophy'
By Bertrand Russell (Author)
In Problems of Philosophy Russell attempts to create a brief and accessible guide to the problems of philosophy. He introduces important theories of Plato, Aristotle, René Descartes, David Hume, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Georg Hegel and others to lay the foundation for philosophical inquiry. The Theory of Knowledge occupies a larger space than metaphysics in the present volume, and some topics much discussed by philosophers are treated very briefly, if at all. Still this volume is a must read for anyone wishing a better understanding of philosophy.
"Treats its subject in a way that will arouse the interest of any one who has any latent ability to become interested in it."
(The New York Times)
Bertrand Russell, an early student of Whitehead, is one of the most well-known of the British philosophers and logicians of this century. At once an accomplished mathematician and philosopher, he was also an activist in the political realm especially during his later days. Much.of his later fame in fact rests upon his political and social activities rather than the purely philosophical works for which he became known in his earlier years.
Early in life, Russell became a religious skeptic and remained so until his death. It was at Cambridge that, while studying philosophy, he became interested in the foundations of knowledge. Influenced first by idealists such as G.E. Moore, he turned more and more towards empiricism, positivism and materialism and remained a positivist the rest of his life. In An Enquiry into the Meaning of Truth and Human Knowledge/ Its Scope and Limits, he sought to pare down and reduce to the simplest expression, the claims of human knowledge. In The Principle of Mathematics, he investigated the relation between philosophy and mathematics which culminated in the joint work, Principia Mathematica/ with Whitehead. He exerted altogether an immense influence upon the analytical movement as well as on the study of logic in general in the fourteenth/twentieth century.
Russell also wrote a number of more popular works, such as A History of Western Philosophy/ Why I am not a Christian and Autobiography which made him more influential and famous than other philosophers in non-philosophical circles. He epitomizes the domination of positivistic philosophy which refuses to deal with any subject that cannot be logically, and for some operationally, defined and has a strong anti-metaphysical bias and opposition to religious and spiritual matters which have concerned so many philosophers over the ages. This type of philosophy has been dominant in most British and American universities during the past few decades. As a result, Russell has also influenced a number of Muslim writers and philosophers who have studied in England and America in contrast to the European continent, where existentialism and phenomenology have been more prevalent to this day.
(Seyyed Hossein Nasr)