And even in Europe. In my own case i had virtually absolute freedom of how and even what I would do with my classes, what to read, even where and when to meet were i able to get student agreement to the assigned place and time of classes. Increasingly after the mid-1980s. University education has become less friendly to liberal arts and much more directed toward providing students university level job training, not a challenge toward the students growth as a person and citizen. I find this tendency to be a tragic loss. Ideas that have helped manking:. Russell considers what counts as a helpful idea or pattern of behavior. He sums up his notion as: The ideas with which we shall be concerned may be broadly divided into two kinds, those that contribute to knowledge and technique, and those that are concerned with morals and politics.
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The modern school, however, is vastly different. One major area of difference is the attempt to offer education to nearly all. However: Something called education is given to everybody, usually by the state but sometimes by the churches. The teacher has thus become, in the vast majority of cases, a civil servant obliged to carry out the behests of men who have not his food learning, who have no experience of dealing with the young, and whose only attitude toward education is that. Despite russells insistence on the freedom of the individual teacher to be trusted to do an adequate job of teaching, russell commits the same inconsistency he did in an earlier essay he then announces certain values which for the teacher cant teach. The proper teacher has to have something like russells quite liberal and individualist values. I was especially delighted with this essay. He was attacking much that I deplored in my elementary thought college education ( ). And yet in 1965 (18 years after this essay had been written) when I began my own teaching career at the university level, i had this exact intellectual freedom which Russell calls for. I often think the years from the mid-1960s to about the middle 1980s were a high point for liberal arts education in the.
An outline of thesis intellectual rubbish. A number of these essays could have well been used as stand-up comedy routines; bits for a modestly intelligent audience, but none as much as this, the longest essay in the book. Russell scours the history of thought through the centuries and looks at the whole globe. He wants to demonstrate that huge portions of popular belief are rooted in fear and dishonesty and that the typical human, himself and the reader included, are often guilt of such silly, even often harmful beliefs. It is both a persuasive and very funny essay. The functions of the teacher: Pp: In this essay russell limits himself to western culture. He claims the best examples of historical teachers were people (mainly men) who taught their own ideas. Ancient Greece was a model, the dark Ages were lost, medieval centuries were controlled by the church, but from the renaissance until very recently great teachers returned though he believes few of them were connected to schools.
65 70 The speed lined with which popular ideas change and the lure of being famous and/or wealthy, pressures thinkers to assume much of current wisdom while trying, at most, to incrementally influence. Russell still believes in the usefulness and power of thinkers who pay less attention to the popular wisdom of the moment than to seek larger more future oriented insights. Factors he identifies as leading to our modern situation are: Speed of new discoveries. Emotional tones change more quickly. The separation of public and private life is also hastened. The root cause was the movement toward subjectivity. It has, on his view, gone too far. To have lost objective truth by attacking mini dogmatism should not lead to subjectivism, but to hard searches for evidence.
Philosophys ulterior motives: Pp. This is a quite funny and sarcastic attack on many major philosophers reducing all their theories to nonsense in a few very good jokes and twists. I think the essay has little intellectual merit, but it is quite funny and well-written, certainly there are enough laughs and challenges to make it worth reading. The superior virtue of the oppressed: Pp 58 64 As appears from the various instances that we have considered, the stage in which superior virtue is attributed to the oppressed is transient and unstable. It begins only when the oppressors come to have a bad conscience, and this happens when their power is no longer secure. Reformers often idealized the goodness of X group, thus want to destroy the very conditions that made the. A challenging and provocative essay. On being modern-minded.
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The future of mankind pp. It was marvelous to read this essay 62 years after it was written. Russell says that by the end of the 20th century one of three outcomes is likely: The end of human life nehru on the planet, if not of all life. Complete barbarism and much smaller human population. World unification with a single world government.
Obviously none of those have occurred so it makes it interesting to read Russells contra-factual reasoning. He tends to see a single benevolent world state to be about the only hope of avoiding the first two outcomes, and, as he sees it, it could be only the leadership of the United States which could achieve this outcome. It was especially interesting that the current political situation before of the time with the cold war between the. And soviet Union so dominating consciousness, that he even indicates that, while having large populations, neither India nor China would never, at least in the near future, be nations that mattered much to the global construct of the human world. Ah me, future prediction is indeed a weak phenomenon.
What philosophy does about some important non-scientific areas of human thought is: to speculate on the might be of the area and what those possibilities look like. Discredit both dogmatism (claiming to know what one doesnt) and skepticism (claiming we cant know because we dont now know. Philosophy, on this view, Treats important non-scientific areas with rational speculation and serious studies. But, it is not able to settle matters in a scientific manner. Russell sees a very practical aim for philosophy with these four main planks: It must advocate a certain way of life. Unlike religion the appeal is to reason, not a sacred or privileged body of truths.
It must not establish a church. Lastly, it must stress the importance of the intellectual virtues. While i am most sympathetic with Russells prescription, and without me having articulated it as clearly as Russell, those rules might well have been seen as how I conducted myself as a professor of philosophy in all but my most advanced courses. Nonetheless I think it should be noted this is russells definition and much of the history of western philosophy has been closely integrated with religion and other forms of absolutism. He argues that in the complexity of the modern times ethics must be expressed in a larger political and social world since a more radical individualistic ethics simply cannot survive and/or prosper in our world where most must work and live within society. The essay moved me deeply. I taught philosophy for 36 years, and while i didnt teach too many lower level courses, but when I did in such courses as Introduction to Ethics, or Philosophy of Education, or Critical Thinking, i taught in a russelian manner but wish I had been. Had I read this essay in my early teaching years I would probably have sought even more chances to teach the lower level courses and have done them more self-consciously in the manner Russell suggests.
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Philosophy for laymen:. Russell begins with a distinction between general liberal learning in all fields of humanitarian study and the much more technical studies among professional scholars. His general position is that education for the general masses need not be only the very specialized knowledge that professional scholars fight about among themselves, but in a more general attempt to give the educated public a decent overview of human knowledge and behavior. Having said that he says his focus salon in this essay is on what that view would mean to the field of philosophy as studied by the masses. He maintains: Philosophy had had from its earliest days two different objects which were believed to be closely interrelated. On the one hand it aimed at a theoretical understanding of the structure of the world; on the other hand it tried to discover and articulate the best possible way of life. From Heraclitus to hegel, or even to marx, it consistently kept both ends in view; it was neither purely theoretical nor purely practical. Russell sees philosophy as a sign post along the way to knowledge. It is an activity to rationally analyze some area of interest, clarify, probing, even speculating until that area develops the full rigors of science, then we are able to separate that area from philosophy and it takes its place among the recognized sciences.
Russell characterizes philosophy, as he understands it, as closer to physics and chemistry than religion or value theory. Philosophy, in his sense, is well-characterized by john Lockes empiricism. On Russells view virtually all scientists and the philosopher whom Russell awards the title, use the methods of scientific reasoning to tell us, not what is, but given the evidence available, what is most likely of competing ideas. He examines some famous philosophers (not in Russells sense of philosophy, but within tradition) and argues their theories produce social and political theories quite harmful to too many people. He especially attacks the views of Plato, hegel and Marx. He ties the term liberal to the work of John Locke and argues that the social and political consequences are that the sciences such as economics, history, and the natural sciences could suggest the consequences of this or that social policy. One would not know for sure, but they would have the projected outcome and they would thus be more honest about it and would justify much business less dogmatism and be more likely to create a better world for more folks. He makes a very strong case indeed.
of value. Yet he himself makes this exact mistake when he confuses facts and values when speaking of the holocaust. I was quite taken aback to read: If it were certain that without Jews the world would be a paradise, there could be no valid objection to auschwitz; but if it is much more probable that the world resulting from such methods would. Russell is assuming this is a matter of fact. To choose a world where all the people except jews were to stay alive and these living folks would be in a paradise is itself a value for which Russell gives no argument at all. Its the same fact/value confusion which he denounces earlier. Overall this is a challenging, funny but overall quite persuasive essay. Even more delightful is the writing itself.
There are some very funny parts of the essays, many would be worthy of a stand up owl comic speaking to a group of intellectuals. I would enjoy to meet those 10 year olds who, unlike his unusually stupid ones, could understand very many of the sentences of this work. Nonetheless, the book is a great delight and challenge, even 62 years after it was published. Philosophy and politics: Pp:. Russell leans to the view that philosophy is much like physics or chemistry. However, he accepts that this view is quite modern and that a more traditional sense of philosophy has resulted from the attempt to produce a synthesis of science and religion, or perhaps more exactly, to combine a doctrine as to the nature of the universe. There was a traditional fear that philosophy would lead to skepticism which would be damaging to social order and lead philosophers into bad philosophy. Real skeptics have never been popular politically nor influential, but. Had served chiefly as bug-bears to be used by reactionaries in frightening people into irrational dogmatism.
Bertrand, russell (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Book review - by bertrand Russell - unpopular essays. By bertrand Russell, new York: Simon and Schuster. Inc., pages, comments by bob Corbett, july 2012. I was delighted with his warning in the page preface: A word as to the title. In the Preface to my i said that I was writing not only for professional philosophers, apple and that philosophy proper deals with matters of interest to the general educated public. Reviewers took me to task, saying they found parts of the book difficult, and implying that my words were such as to mislead purchasers. I do not wish to expose myself again to this charge; I will therefore confess that there are several sentences in the present volume which some unusually stupid children of ten might find a little puzzling. On this ground I do not claim that the essays are popular; and if not popular, then unpopular. I loved the humor of the beginning and he carries it though much of the book.