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Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy Paperback. Justice in Wartime Paperback. Unarmed Victory Paperback. The Analysis of Mind Paperback. Political Ideals Paperback. The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism Paperback. Democracy: Growing or Dying? Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays Paperback. Not registered? Forgotten password Please enter your email address below and we'll send you a link to reset your password. Not you? Forgotten password? Although the logic essays can be tough-going, the social commentaries are witty and eloquent.

Still in print, this compendium is a valuable item in anyone's private library. Preface by Bertrand Russell, [xiv-xv].

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Introduction by John G. Slater, [viii-xiii]. First published thus, First paperback edition by Routledge, First published in Routledge Classics, Schlipp, How I Write [ Portraits from Memory , Language [ An Outline of Philosophy , Symbolic Logic [ The Principles of Mathematics , On Induction [ The Problems of Philosophy , Preface to Principia Mathematica [] Introduction to Principia Mathematica [] Summary of Part V, Principia Mathematica [] Introduction to the Second Edition, Principia Mathematica [] Mathematics and Logic [ Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy , Theory of Knowledge [ My Philosophical Development , Lange, Philosophy in the Twentieth Century [ Sceptical Essays , Truth and Falsehood [ The Analysis of Mind , Styles in Ethics [ Our Changing Morality , ed.

Frida Kirchwey, Individual and Social Ethics [ Authority and the Individual , Paul Edwards, Richard Thruelson and John Kobler, Why I am not a Communist [ Portraits from Memory , Dialectical Materialism [ Freedom and Organisation, , History as an Art [ Portraits from Memory , What is an Agnostic? Leo Rosten.

Why I am not a Christian [Lecture, ; reprinted in Why I am not a Christian, and other essays on religion and related subjects , ed. Can Religion Cure Our Troubles? Science and Education [ St. Louis Post Dispatch , Dec 9, What Would Help Mankind Most? Science and Human Life [ What is Science , ed. James R. Newman, Man's Peril [ Portraits from Memory , It actually consisted of one sentence which I came across while browsing a catalogue for chemicals I forgot the company which its compilers had sought to enliven by including here and there aphorisms and epigrams from great people, mostly but not only scientists.

Many of these made strong enough an impression on me as to jot them down, and the words of Lord Russell are among the ones I most often recall: Most people would rather die than think; in fact they do so. Bertrand Russell - Then I said to myself that this fellow must be worth checking out. Years passed. Now and then I happened to read an essay by Lord Russell - online or in Somerset Maugham's anthology Traveller's Library - that confirmed my initial impression that he is indeed worth reading, but it was not until this volume that my real introduction to Bertrand Russell commenced.

It's been a stimulating and transforming experience such as I have not had for quite some time. For now I can safely say that I will be reading Lord Russell again; I can already even put him in the list of my favourite writers without the slightest hesitation because I am fully convinced that his huge oeuvre is worthy of a much closer scrutiny. Obviously, I am the last man who could tell whether the selection of Messrs Egner and Denonn was well done or not; on the other hand, I am one of the first to judge whether it is useful to the perfect newcomer to Bertrand Russell.

I venture to suggest that for a perfect dilettante in the field of philosophy, such as myself, this book seems to be an excellent place to start the exploration of a world of frightening complexity and scope. The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell is a formidable book, a little too big to be handled comfortably in paperback indeed, but beautifully organised and compulsively readable.


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First published in when the 89 years old Lord Russell was still quite alive and productive, the daunting task to compress his enormous output in a single book fell on the shoulders of Messrs Egner and Denonn. Since the former was a professional philosopher and the latter was a passionate philosophy buff, and of course both of them were Russell enthusiasts par excellence , these fellows did a superb job selecting 81 essays, chapters, articles, lectures, speeches and what not, thematically organised into 17 different parts and altogether amounting to some pages or so.

There is no reason to suppose that the editors did not achieve the best possible approximation of their aim, which is obvious from the table of contents but nonetheless stated in their preface as well, namely to give a comprehensive overview of Bertrand Russell, one of the greatest philosophers, most prolific writers and most controversial thinkers that the XX century, if not the whole history, has ever seen. Of course Russell buffs will cry out that such and such sections are inadequate, others will lament the omission of an epoch-making essay like On Denoting , but the Russell layman will no doubt immerse himself in the book unconcerned by such troubling notions.

There must be a new heaven and a new earth, and a new heart and soul: all new: a pure resurrection" Lawrence has by no means got "rid of all [his] christian religiosity," as he tells Russell that he has after reading Burnet, nor does he "drop all about God" as he tells Russell he will. From the very letter in which he makes these claims onwards, he continues to think about the war in his letters in the ultimately religious, often heterodox Christian, terms in which he had been thinking before his encounter with pre-Socratic philosophy.

In the striking letter of 16 July , for example, in which he underlines the word "must," in the phrase "you must work out the idea of a new state," fifteen times, he criticises Russell both for being inadequately critical of contemporary democracy and for focusing too completely on criticism of the contemporary State. He posits the kind of natural aristocracy he wants to see in place of contemporary democratic institutions and concludes, "The highest aim of the government is the highest good of the soul of the individual, the fulfilment in the Infinite, in the Absolute" L 2: In the original letter, the fifteen underlinings in "You must work out the idea of a new state, not go on criticising the old one" dominate the page, as the next three lines are reduced to half lines.

The final phrase, quoted above, on the highest aim of the government, is squeezed in small handwriting into the space at the bottom of the page which is not sufficient for handwriting of the size Lawrence uses in the rest of the letter.


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The words "of the individual" in the phrase "the soul of the individual" are an afterthought, added above the text after the sentence was finished without them Letter to Bertrand Russell. Nevertheless, what Lawrence calls his "christian religiosity" is not only not absent from his criticism of Russell's lecture on the State but, even though it emerges only at the end of the letter, remains the basis of that criticism. He tells Lady Ottoline on July 29, "Bertie's letter chagrined me. Are we never going to unite in one idea and one purpose? By August 16, he is angry to the point of misanthropy, writing to Lady Cynthia: "Russell and I were to do something together.

He was to give a real course on political reconstruction ideas. But it is no good. He sent me a synopsis of the lectures, and I can only think them pernicious" He goes on:.

Bertrand Russell's philosophical views - Wikipedia

Bertie Russell talks about democratic control and the educating of the artizan, and all this, all this goodness is just a warm and cosy cloak for a bad spirit. They all want the same thing: a continuing in this state of disintegration wherein each separate little ego is an independent little principality by itself.

Russell [ He takes Russell's consistently practical proposals for reform of current democratic institutions as a refusal to be part of the right kind of society in this way, and therefore as an insistence on remaining part of the problem of contemporary society rather than contributing to its solution. It is in this sense that he calls Russell and Lady Ottoline "traitors," who "betray the real truth" Russell's essay, which he later published in Justice in War-Time , is unrecognisable from the accusations Lawrence levelled at him in response to it.

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Russell himself says that in it "I objected to war because of the suffering that it causes" Autobiography ii, 14 , which is an adequate summary. As the title indicates, Russell examines a series of ways in which the war is causing the ways in which Western Europe has led human civilization to cease to exist. The nature of the fighting, wartime propaganda and the length of the war have generated a habit of hatred in the surviving soldiers, which, given that there will not be room in the labour market for them when they all return, will have a "disastrous and profound" effect upon national life Justice , exacerbated by the fact the government has acquired in its turn autocratic and repressive habits during the prosecution of the war.

If the war ends, as seems likely to be the case, only as a result of exhaustion, "any revival of energy may lead to its renewal" The deadening effects of the fighting and the death in it of the majority of able young teachers mean that "the mental calibre of the next generation is almost certain to be considerably lower than that of generations educated before the war" , and Russell criticises the danger to the economy, art and science of the continuation of war.

He concludes, "If the war does not come to an end soon, it is to be feared that we are the end of a great epoch, and that the future of Europe will not be on a level with its past" He asks, "Is there any conceivable gain from the continuation of the war to be set against this loss? It is only in the context of the developing relationship between the two men and their ideas that Lawrence's apparently unjustifiable response to it can be explained. Your basic desire is the maximum of war, you are really the super-war-spirit [ You are satisfying in an indirect, false way your lust to jab and strike [ You are simply full of repressed desires, which have become savage and anti-social [ It is not the hatred of falsehood which inspires you.

It is the hatred of people, of flesh and blood. It is a perverted, mental blood-lust. No hermeneutic of suspicion can justify Lawrence's response. The conclusions he draws cannot be read out of Russell's essay. Perhaps the most revealing fact about the context in which Lawrence was able to make them is Russell's later account of the "devastating effect" they had upon him: "I was inclined to believe that he had some insight denied to me, and when he said that my pacifism was rooted in blood-lust I supposed he must be right.

Bertrand Russell

For twenty-four hours I thought that I was not fit to live and contemplated suicide" Autobiography ii, In the six pages of his autobiography in which he recounts his relationship with Lawrence, Russell mentions three times that he felt that Lawrence was possessed of a kind of insight into human nature deeper than his own logical mind would allow. This seems to indicate that there was an aspect of their relationship in which Russell encouraged Lawrence to articulate "a vivifying dose of unreason," "an insight into human nature [ Ultimately, however, the meaning of Lawrence's response must be understood in terms of his increasingly angry expressions of disagreement with Russell in the weeks leading up to this break.

Russell's practical proposals to reform democratic institutions were, for Lawrence, an ultimately unforgivable refusal in Russell to move beyond democracy, and the Christian world-view which underlies it, which brought about the war in the first place. In Kangaroo , Richard Somers, reflecting back on the war, thinks:.

When the idea is really dead, and still man persists in following it, then he is the unwilling man whom the Fates destroy, like Kaiser Wilhelm or President Wilson, or, today, the world at large K Lawrence sees Russell to be a man like Kaiser Wilhelm or President Wilson, a man who persists in arguing for dead ideals, in Russell's case as in President Wilson's the ultimately Christian ideals on which contemporary democratic institutions are based.

His thought, therefore, can only continue to harm, rather than to help, as he claims, a society which those very ideals have lead to war. Sir Joshua is an integral part of the dead and destructive thinking, conversation and relationships that characterise the Breadalby circle in the novel. He is "learned" and "dry," and he is the only member of the circle who seems to enjoy the party's kind of conversation, which has a "sententiousness that was only emphasised by the continual crackling of a witticism [ In Lawrence's fine metaphor, it is "a canal of a conversation rather than a stream," artificial and constrained rather than living.

The attitude is "mental and rather wearying," and "only the elderly sociologist, whose mental fibre was so tough as to be insentient, seemed to be thoroughly happy" The character based on Russell is a sociologist, which may indicate that it is his theory of society in particular whose nature Lawrence wishes to portray in fictional form. When the conversation becomes "political or sociological," it is, to Ursula, "interesting, curiously anarchistic," but above all "destructive" and "cruelly exhausting," the product of a "powerful, consuming, destructive mentality" Sir Joshua, as seen through Birkin's consciousness, always has "a strong mentality working," is "always interesting," but everything he says is "always known," "everything he said known beforehand, however novel it was, and clever" The conversation, indeed, is as familiar as a game of chess, with the same figures, "the same now as they were hundreds of years ago," "moving round in one of the innumerable permutations that make up the game" To Birkin, the continuation of this game is "like a madness, it is so exhausted.

Sir Joshua's argument is that "the great social idea [ It is true that the impulse towards natural growth on which Russell bases his politics in Principles of Social Reconstruction is absent from Sir Joshua's thought, but this sentence is surely intended by Lawrence to encapsulate what he sees to be Russell's democratic thought.

In Chapter I of Principles of Social Reconstruction , Russell writes, "What is necessary, if an organic society is to grow up, is that our institutions should be so fundamentally changed as to embody that new respect for the individual and his rights which modern feeling demands" It is a view like this one that Lawrence intends to embody, however simply, in Sir Joshua's statement. Hermione expresses a belief in a kind of spiritual democracy: " If [ Her final point recalls Russell's claim, in Principles of Social Reconstruction , that "the principal source of the harm done by the State is the fact that power is its chief end" In response, Birkin articulates precisely the criticism of this view that Lawrence had been addressing to Russell, with increasing force, throughout their dialogue:.

We're all the same in point of number. But spiritually, there is pure difference and neither equality nor inequality counts. It is upon these two bits of knowledge that you must found a state. Your democracy is an absolute lie — your brotherhood of man is a pure falsity, if you apply it further than the mathematical abstraction.

From Hermione, Birkin feels "dynamic hatred and loathing, coming strong and black out of the unconsciousness" WL Her next response, that evening, is to attempt to murder Birkin with a ball of lapis lazuli. Although several hours pass between Birkin's criticism of Hermione's politics and her attempt to kill him, they are narrated in just three-and-a-half lines, which essentially amplify the word "later" , emphasising for the reader that the latter event is a direct response to the former.

In that paragraph, Birkin reflects that he has been "violent" to Hermione WL , precisely the same word that Lawrence uses to describe his own attack on "The Danger to Civilisation" — "today I wrote very violently to Russell" L 2: Birkin even feels "a little compunction" WL , just as Lawrence writes, "I am very sorry" about his harangue of Russell at the same time as asserting that he is "glad," "because it had to be said sometime" L 2: It is going to be "her voluptuous consummation," and we hear how, "with unutterable satisfaction, she brought down the ball of jewel stone with all her force, crash on his head" I take this episode to indicate, with respect to his relationship to Russell, that Lawrence remains committed to the view he expressed in his letter of 14 September , breaking with the latter.

However outspoken that letter may have been, Lawrence meant it at the time and continued to mean it throughout the years in which he drafted and re-drafted Women in Love. His view that Russell's reformist democratic ideas are based on a repressed violence, a hatred of any other person, or even God, who makes a claim on the autonomy of the individual's ego, is not to be explained away by the mental anguish of the autumn of The following year he says it again, in portraying Hermione responding with unconscious hatred which results in murderous violence to precisely the critique of democracy which Lawrence had levelled at Russell.

Birkin ends Women in Love in the "consoling" belief in "the eternal creative mystery," in the religion of the non-human he has been articulating throughout the novel: "to have one's pulse beating direct from the mystery, this was perfection, unutterable satisfaction" Lawrence's response to Russell continues to revolve around which religious beliefs an individual, and a fortiori the community, should orient their lives around. In Lawrence's view, Russell's beliefs are old, dead and ultimately Christian.

What is needed, he believes, for English society to end the war and live better is nothing more nor less than a new religion. The character in this story based on Russell, Bertie Reid, is portrayed as a man unable to live from the sensual sources of life. Bertie's "mind was much quicker than his emotions, which were not so fine" EME Maurice Pervin, the blind veteran of the story's title, is able both to live authentically with his wife and to form, in his mind at least, an authentic relationship with another man.

Bertie, however, is unable to form such relationships, remaining in the grip of "his incurable weakness, which made him unable to enter into close contact of any sort" We shall know each other now. Bertie, however, although he allows the touch "out of very philanthropy," is "almost annihilated," he "quivered with revulsion," at Maurice's "hot, poignant love" 61, 62 and at the end of the story, "he had one desire — to escape from this intimacy, this friendship, which had been thrust upon him [ The simile here picks up Lawrence's imagery from his first letter to Russell, of 12 February , in which he writes:.

There comes a point when the shell, the form of life, is a prison to the life [ We have to break the shell, the form, the whole frame [ Then, and only then, shall we able to begin living. In his final response to Russell, Lawrence portrays the breaking of this shell. In his letter to Russell of 8 December , Lawrence writes that, having read Frazer, he has become convinced that "there is a blood-consciousness which exists in us independently of the ordinary mental consciousness.

This is very important to our living, that we should realise that we have a blood-being, a blood-consciousness, a blood-soul, complete and apart from the mental and nerve consciousness [ The whole of our future life depends on it. The following abbreviations have been used for works by D. Bruce Steele, K: Kangaroo. L: The Letters of D. James T. Boulton et al.