Bertrand Russell  

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"I have heard of a touchy owner of a yacht to whom a guest, on first seeing it, remarked, 'I thought your yacht was larger than it is'; and the owner replied, 'No, my yacht is not larger than it is'." --"On Denoting" by Bertrand Russell


"If Mr. Russell, in his essay on "The Elements of Ethics," had wished to propitiate the unregenerate naturalist, before trying to convert him, he could not have chosen a more skilful procedure; for he begins by telling us that "what is called good conduct is conduct which is a means to other things which are good on their own account; and hence ... the study of what is good or bad on its own account must be included in ethics."--Winds of Doctrine (1913) by George Santayana


"Bertie in particular sustained simultaneously a pair of opinions ludicrously incompatible. He held that in fact human affairs were carried on after a most irrational fashion, but that the remedy was quite simple and easy, since all we had to do was to carry them on rationally." --"My Early Beliefs" (1949) by John Maynard Keynes

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS, (18 May 18722 February 1970), was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician and advocate for social reform.

A prolific writer, he was also a populariser of philosophy and a commentator on a large variety of topics, ranging from very serious issues to those much less so. Continuing a family tradition in political affairs, he was a prominent anti-war activist, championing free trade between nations and anti-imperialism.

Russell was born at the height of Britain's economic and political ascendancy. He died of influenza nearly a century later, at a time when the British Empire had all but vanished, its power dissipated by two world wars and the end of the imperial system. As one of the world's best-known intellectuals, Russell's voice carried great moral authority, even into his death. Among his political activities, Russell was a vigorous proponent of nuclear disarmament and an outspoken critic of the American military intervention in Vietnam.

In 1950, Russell was made a Nobel Laureate in Literature, "in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought".

Selected bibliography

A selected bibliography of Russell's books in English, sorted by year of first publication:

  • 1896. German Social Democracy. London: Longmans, Green.
  • 1897. An Essay on the Foundations of Geometry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • 1900. A Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • 1903. The Principles of Mathematics. Cambridge University Press.
  • 1905. On Denoting, Mind, Vol. 14. ISSN: 00264425. Basil Blackwell.
  • 1910. Philosophical Essays. London: Longmans, Green.
  • 1910–1913. Principia Mathematica (with Alfred North Whitehead). 3 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • 1912. The Problems of Philosophy. London: Williams and Norgate.
  • 1914. Our Knowledge of the External World as a Field for Scientific Method in Philosophy. Chicago and London: Open Court Publishing.
  • 1916. Principles of Social Reconstruction. London, George Allen and Unwin.
  • 1916. Why Men Fight. New York: The Century Co.
  • 1916. Justice in War-time. Chicago: Open Court.
  • 1917. Political Ideals. New York: The Century Co.
  • 1918. Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1918. Proposed Roads to Freedom: Socialism, Anarchism, and Syndicalism. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1919. Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy. London: George Allen & Unwin. (ISBN 0-415-09604-9 for Routledge paperback) (Copy at Archive.org).
  • 1920. The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1921. The Analysis of Mind. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1922. The Problem of China. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1923. The Prospects of Industrial Civilization, in collaboration with Dora Russell. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1923. The ABC of Atoms, London: Kegan Paul. Trench, Trubner.
  • 1924. Icarus; or, The Future of Science. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner.
  • 1925. The ABC of Relativity. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner.
  • 1925. What I Believe. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner.
  • 1926. On Education, Especially in Early Childhood. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1927. The Analysis of Matter. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner.
  • 1927. An Outline of Philosophy. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1927. Why I Am Not a Christian. London: Watts.
  • 1927. Selected Papers of Bertrand Russell. New York: Modern Library.
  • 1928. Sceptical Essays. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1929. Marriage and Morals. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1930. The Conquest of Happiness. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1931. The Scientific Outlook. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1932. Education and the Social Order, London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1934. Freedom and Organization, 1814–1914. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1935. In Praise of Idleness. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1935. Religion and Science. London: Thornton Butterworth.
  • 1936. Which Way to Peace?. London: Jonathan Cape.
  • 1937. The Amberley Papers: The Letters and Diaries of Lord and Lady Amberley, with Patricia Russell, 2 vols., London: Leonard & Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press.
  • 1938. Power: A New Social Analysis. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1940. An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
  • 1945. A History of Western Philosophy and Its Connection with Political and Social Circumstances from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  • 1948. Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1949. Authority and the Individual. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1950. Unpopular Essays. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1951. New Hopes for a Changing World. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1952. The Impact of Science on Society. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1953. Satan in the Suburbs and Other Stories. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1954. Human Society in Ethics and Politics. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1954. Nightmares of Eminent Persons and Other Stories. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1956. Portraits from Memory and Other Essays. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1956. Logic and Knowledge: Essays 1901–1950, edited by Robert C. Marsh. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1957. Why I Am Not A Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects, edited by Paul Edwards. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1958. Understanding History and Other Essays. New York: Philosophical Library.
  • 1959. Common Sense and Nuclear Warfare. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1959. My Philosophical Development. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1959. Wisdom of the West, edited by Paul Foulkes. London: Macdonald.
  • 1960. Bertrand Russell Speaks His Mind, Cleveland and New York: World Publishing Company.
  • 1961. The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell, edited by R. E. Egner and L. E. Denonn. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1961. Fact and Fiction. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1961. Has Man a Future? London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1963. Essays in Skepticism. New York: Philosophical Library.
  • 1963. Unarmed Victory. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1965. Legitimacy Versus Industrialism, 1814–1848. London: George Allen & Unwin (first published as Parts I and II of Freedom and Organization, 1814–1914, 1934).
  • 1965. On the Philosophy of Science, edited by Charles A. Fritz, Jr. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company.
  • 1966. The ABC of Relativity. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1967. Russell's Peace Appeals, edited by Tsutomu Makino and Kazuteru Hitaka. Japan: Eichosha's New Current Books.
  • 1967. War Crimes in Vietnam. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • 1951–1969. The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, 3 vols., London: George Allen & Unwin. Vol. 2, 1956
  • 1969. Dear Bertrand Russell... A Selection of his Correspondence with the General Public 1950–1968, edited by Barry Feinberg and Ronald Kasrils. London: George Allen and Unwin.

Russell also wrote many pamphlets, introductions, articles, and letters to the editor. One pamphlet titled, I Appeal unto Caesar: The Case of the Conscientious Objectors, ghostwritten for Margaret Hobhouse, the mother of imprisoned peace activist Stephen Henry Hobhouse allegedly helped secure the release of hundreds of conscientious objectors from prison.

His works can be found in anthologies and collections, perhaps most notably The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell, which McMaster University began publishing in 1983. This collection of his shorter and previously unpublished works is now up to 16 volumes, and many more are forthcoming. An additional three volumes catalogue just his bibliography. The Russell Archives at McMaster University possess over 30,000 of his letters.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Bertrand Russell" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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