Friday, May 7, 2010

Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell was a giant among 20th century intellectuals. He is remembered primarily as a philosopher and mathematician.  He was one of the founders of analytic philosophy, and with Alfred North Whitehead, he co-authored Principia Mathematica, one of the 20th century's most important works on the foundations of logic and mathematics.

Lord Russell was also a pacifist and political activist.  He was inprisoned and later dismissed from Trinity College for his pacifist activities during World War I. Later in life, he was a tireless advocate of nuclear disarmament and a strong opponent of the Vietnam war.

Russell was an outspoken social critic who often found himself at odds with the establishment. In 1940, his appointment as Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York was annulled by the New York Supreme Court on the grounds that he was morally unfit for the post. In defense of this claim, the court cited, among other things, his liberal views on premarital sex.

A prolific writer on a wide range of topics, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950.

Above all, Russell was a tireless champion of reason in all areas of human affairs.

In the following brief excerpt from a 1959 BBC interview, Russell expresses two ideas he would like to pass down to future generations.


theinvisiblewomanuk said...

I think I may have to buy a book on Mr Russell, just saw a clip of him on BBC2's Culture Show...he's inspiring in his delivery yet the content is so obvious. ;)

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