Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell, The

by Bertrand Russell


I am not qualified to comment authoritatively on this collection besides stating that I greatly admire Russell’s intellect, reason, and deep humanism. I came to Russell originally through his thoughts on religion, and I still enjoyed those parts most in addition to his political insights.

There was a time when, despite not particularly caring for them, I would have tenaciously delved into the matters he broaches on language, logic, mathematics and physics. At this point in my reading life, however, those topics are virtually impenetrable, and I prefer to save my mental energy for other matters.

There are two main reservations I have in all of Russell’s perspective: 1) his advocacy of a World Government, which frankly terrifies me given what history has shown happens (without exception) when a person or group obtains absolute power, and 2) his understated faith in science/technology and simultaneous antipathy toward nature, for instance when he says, “Science. . . is in its very nature a liberator of bondage to physical nature. . .” (p.724-5).

In my opinion science/technology, in addition to providing well-documented benefits for humanity, is also a chief cause of our biggest modern problems. It is thus illogical to depend solely on science/technology to solve the problems it has itself brought about.

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