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Bertrand Russell : The Greatest Welsh Philosopher

Updated on May 17, 2011

Bertrand Russell - The Greatest Welsh Philosopher

In celebration of the St. Davids Day, 1st day of March every year in Wales, I will pay tribute to one of the most notable Welsh greatest (if not the worlds greatest) and famous philosopher - Bertrand Russell -- the greatest philosopher of the modern world or the 20th century notable for his work not just to logic and philosophy, but to a broad range of other subjects including -education-, history, political theory plus -religious studies- as well.

  • In brief, Bertrand Russell is a philosopher, logician, essayist and a social critic best known of course for his mathematical logic and analytical philosophy.
  • He also made contributions to -education-, history, political theory plus studies of region.

Bertrand Russell - The Greatest Welsh Philosopher

Brief Description of Personal Life:

  • Bertrand Russell was a philosopher and a who was born in Penrhyndeudraeth, Wales, UK on May 18, 1872 and died on February 2, 1970 at the age of 97. Bertrand Russell grew up with his grandparents -- LORD John Russell who are well known in the United Kingdom being twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom because his parents died and his sister earlier on. Finally in 1876 his grandfather died and his grandmother took care of him.
  • He is known as a woman's men married and divorced many times
  • He smoke pipe and this is one of his trademark

Bertrand Russell Greatest Welsh Philosopher
Bertrand Russell Greatest Welsh Philosopher

Area of study : epistemology (study of knowledge), ethics, logic, knowledge by acquaintance and description, philosophy of language, Russell's Paradox, Russell's teapot and analytical philosophy, and of course mathematics -- his forte.

Bertrand Russell - The Greatest Welsh Philosopher

  • Bertrand Russell is considered the greatest among Welsh philosophers, in fact he is one of the greatest philosophers of the modern world. His works writings and philosophy is diverse covering a multitude of subject. I studied philosophy in college and I am impressed with the thinking and philosophy of Bertrand Russell even though I am a Christian. A whole article about his works is not sufficient so I will just summarize his thoughts and the gist of his philosophy. In an attempt to understand his work, let me begin by saying that he is a well known atheist.

Awards and Achievement of Bertrand Russell

  • Russell was awarded the Order of Merit in 1949
  • Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950
  • Russell is generally recognized as one of the founders of analytic philosophy
  • His most influential contributions include his defense of logicism ---the view that mathematics is in some important sense reducible to logic
  • His theories of definite descriptions and logical atomism
  • Russell is generally recognized as one of the founders of analytic philosophy alongside Moore
  • He is also regularly credited with being one of the two most important logicians of the twentieth century (together with Kurt Gödel)
  • Known for his Russell's Paradox
  • Known for his many spirited anti-war and anti-nuclear protests.

He is a controversial figure and he was fined and dismissed from Trinity College , Cambridge, UK and City College, New York, USA because of his anti war protest stance.

Education:

  • 1890 -- Enrolled in Trinity College, Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1893 -- Awarded first class Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics
  • 1894 -- Completed the Moral Sciences Tripos

 

Russell is also known for his PARADOX called Russell's Paradox which is the most famous of set theoretical paradoxes.

Simply put it is stated like this:

  • "The paradox arises within naive set theory by considering the set of all sets that are not members of themselves. Such a set appears to be a member of itself if and only if it is not a member of itself, hence the paradox. Some sets, such as the set of all teacups, are not members of themselves. Other sets, such as the set of all non-teacups, are members of themselves. Call the set of all sets that are not members of themselves “R.” If R is a member of itself, then by definition it must not be a member of itself. Similarly, if R is not a member of itself, then by definition it must be a member of itself. Discovered by Bertrand Russell in 1901, the paradox has prompted much work in logic, set theory and the philosophy and foundations of mathematics".

 

"This is the prologue to the Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, written on 25 July 1956 in his own hand. The text follows:"

PROLOGUE : WHAT I HAVE LIVED FOR

"Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a deep ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair".

"I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy -- ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness -- that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it, finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what -- at last -- I have found."

"With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved."

"Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a hated burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer."

"This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me."

 

Sources:

  • If you want to know more about Bertrand Russell site please click this site: Standard Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  • BERTRAND RUSSELL Gallery

Comments

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    • profile image

      John Davies 

      6 years ago

      Russell was born in Monmouthshire, not Penrhyndeudraeth- that was where he died

    • Shahid Bukhari profile image

      Shahid Bukhari 

      7 years ago from My Awareness in Being.

      Russel was Skeptical of all Philosophies and Philosophers ... Thus, at best, he is describable as a Pragmatic Thinker, or a Mathematician ... he should never be considered a Philosopher, in any normal sense, of the word.

    • alexandriaruthk profile imageAUTHOR

      alexandriaruthk 

      8 years ago from US

      thank you janiek,

    • janiek13 profile image

      Mary Krenz 

      8 years ago from Florida's Space Coast

      Interesting hub, I tend to love and hate math in equal measure. I enjoyed reading about Bertram Russell.

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