Research paper Bertrand Russell philosophy

Published under category: Essay Writing Tips | 2015-06-09 14:22:55 UTC

Context: Philosophy, ethics and epistemology

Bertrand Russell (May 18 1872 –  Feb 2nd 1970)

Bertrand Russell is famous for his philosophy, especially on the subject of existentialism, making him often a subject of custom papers. Whether it is an essay on Russell’s teapot or a research paper on Russell’s opinion of the issue of existence of god, custom writing services here are reliable and will deliver that paper for you. Have expert writers here do your paper. Below is an overview of some of Russell’s fundamental approaches.

Russell differentiates the application of viewpoint with that of the actual sciences. Research has far-reaching results on humanity, through technology, while philosophic study mainly influences the lifestyles of those who study it, and only ultimately affects others through them. Philosophy’s major value is thus to be discovered in its followers. Russell would have his audience free its thoughts of realistic prejudices. Whereas the realistic man would only opt to have meals for his body system and content needs, the philosophic mind-set also identifies the need for meals for the brain (Russell).

Bertrand RussellPhilosophy chooses to use criticism to achieve knowledge. This in return gives oneness to the body of sciences and makes it systematic. However, a notable point is that, unlike what physical sciences, mathematics and history do, philosophy maintains little or no significant collection of definite knowledge. The reason for this as Russell claims is because once this is possible, then the subject changes entirely to a different discipline and ceasing to be philosophical. Research of the skies, of natural sciences, and the individual mind arose in philosophic research but now presupposes the numbers of astronomy, science, and mindset. Thus, with regard to certain solutions, its uncertainty is less real and more apparent (Russell).

The ambiguity of philosophy can be derived from the essence of the questions that it begs to answer. These are the queries that address what man is most interested and curious to find out. For example, man is always curious to know what is the purpose of the universe and whether it holds any plans or whether it is just an accidental concourse of atoms. Other questions such as whether consciousness is a lasting part of the universe and would it give hope of indefinite growth of wisdom and not just a temporary accidental matter on a planet, which happens to sustain life, also raise man’s curiosity. In addition, man also wants to know what importance are good and evil and whether these are only significant to him or the universe as well. Philosophy tends to give various answers this questions, despite their magnitude. However, these answers are not normally palpably true. Answers that philosophy comes up with in a bid to explain to man his pursuits help us be aware of the significance of these questions and also keep an open mind of the speculative nature of the universe. Without these questions, we would simply lose the consciousness of the universe (Russell).

Russell has gone to the extent of designing programs of thought aimed at offering precise conclusions regarding religious perceptions, individual information among other issues of concern. However, he maintains that such efforts are rigid ways of thought and risky in the sense that they are unwise. He maintains that it would be unwise to hope for high degrees of certainty or explicit answers to such questions, as there is less hope that they would be.

A younger Bertrand Russell

Russell in his younger days

At this point Rusell theorizes that the very uncertain nature of philosophy is where its values underlie. He asserts that for a man who is not stained by philosophy, prejudices resulting from common sense and customary beliefs of his normal life among other convictions which he concocts in his mind ted to imprison him throughout his life. This is because this man will never think of a deliberate reason as to justify his actions or what goes on around him. Therefore, considering philosophy is most important as it helps one to think outside the box as regards even the most ordinary things.  It helps o broaden an individual’s thoughts freeing the person from the “tyranny of custom.” It suggests a variety of possibilities. Russell asserts that his way, we are able to open our minds and senses to wonder as we can perceive things for what they might be and not only for what they are (Russell).

Russell continues to claim that philosophy helps bring in the outside world, enlarging an individual’s interests beyond the customary perspective. He believes that man has to escape his private world so that he could live a liberated and great life. Whenever anything becomes over dependent on its private world, then it tends to lose the connection between itself and intellect and ideally becomes distorted. The escape that Russell is talking about is brought about by philosophical contemplation, which serves to enlarge the Self. He argues that the questions and not the answers are where its value exists. His conclusions are that the mind is rendered great as a result of the enormity with which the universe is philosophically contemplated to hold (Russell).

When it comes to philosophical contemplation, Russell declares that it is good to stay away from self assertion. He maintains that any research that presumes the things or personality of the information that it desires to unveil, places challenges in its own direction, because such research is self-defeating in its persistent yearning for a certain type of information. It is thus important for one to build up from the “not-self” and eventually this is bound to grant him or her the capacity to achieve some share in infinity of the universe through the mind that contemplates it. From Russell’s pint of view, knowledge is comprised of the union of “not-Self” and “Self” contrary to the popular belief of forcing the universe into compliance of what we deem in ourselves.

Philosophical questioning arises from the sense of wonder and speculation. Usually there are things in our day to day lives that leave us bewildered, instilling in us a curiosity for which we yearn to seek answers. Those things in existence that appear to us as being impractical are normally the ones that invoke this inquest. Thus philosophical contemplation endeavors to answer those queries that intellectual curiosity raises so as to have a deeper understanding of the world. In other words, it is valuable in the sense that it helps reveal the chimera of knowledge where not an iota in certainty exists. Therefore, anything that philosophy delves into alters from being known to unknown. It is in this regard that Russell’s views regarding the value of philosophy are based. He emphasizes that through philosophy we are able to manifest and keep alive our sense of wonder by perceiving the familiar things in an unfamiliar approach. We acquire self understanding as we discover that those things that we perceived as impractical in reality are of significant importance in our everyday lives.

Philosophers formulate questions that are intended to articulate the initial bewilderment raised by the impractical things that we perceive around us. Thus in order to comprehend a problem, questions are important to philosophers. Philosophy proves valuable in the sense that it helps one to understand and become enlightened in matters regarding complexity of the universe as well as human life. It keeps away from precise and shorthand answers as mathematics, physical sciences and other disciplines tend to provides. Russell’s views help demonstrate that philosophy aims at revealing the truth however it is vital to note that once we start philosophizing, there is bound to be more complexity and difficulty as pertains those issues that we seek to understand.

In view of Russells points as regards the value that philosophy holds, it is wise to note that being an idealist can have an impairing influence on our lives. Man has developed the tendency to construct truths as he believes or sees fit and thus his convictions act as the measure of all things. He has forced himself to believe that everything that exists including space time and distance are all creations of the mind. Furthermore, anything beyond this scope is indecipherable. This is a rigid way of thinking and it tends to rob off philosophy its core values. Therefore, it is vital to think outside the box as this rigid way of thinking cuts us from the outside world, which holds numerous possibilities. Thus according to Russell, an individual who has the perception that the knowable world only exists in the mind is an erroneous belief. As a philosopher, it is significant not to let our self importance get in the way of our philosophical contemplations. A philosopher should be a supreme thinker who strives to attain absolute impartiality between him and the things he is contemplating about.

It is important for an individual to take into account the relationships between philosophy and other kinds of questions that the human mind desires to get answered. Such questions such as what the importance of life is, what plans the universe holds for humankind and/or whether there is a cosmic scheme, are significant in that they help one contemplate on the impossibilities that lie beyond. It would be imprudent to rely solely on definite answers. Life as such would be insolvent if they were to be forgotten. Therefore it is important to recognize philosophy as it helps to keep these questions and inquiries “alive” and also helps analyze any answers that arise or are given. The value of philosophy is thus to enlighten an individual and bring him to personal serenity. Obstinacy should therefore be disregarded as it bars one from democracy. A little philosophical knowledge could go along way into ensuring an individual rids himself off rigid ways of thinking and attains a broader perception of things.

According to Russell, it is clear that in terms of respective utility, philosophy differs significantly from other disciplines such as physical sciences. Physical sciences tend to provide answers that are practical and intended to benefit everyone. On the contrary philosophy as Russell argued is primarily for the benefit of the individual contemplating it. It thus helps the individual such as a student garner knowledge of a certain kind which is to the benefit of that particular student. However, this is what philosophy aims at, whereas in reality it is obvious that such pursuits have yielded little or no clear-cut knowledge. Russell in his work maintains that philosophy is the reason that those ambiguous questions that an individual pursues retain value. When one contemplates such questions, his or her brain becomes more aware and the individual attains a more imaginative perspective. Therefore, as a result, one develops an open mind, one that is not prone to dogmatic tendencies of presuppositions. Furthermore, philosophical study helps one to develop a global perspective that can positively assist a student in other areas of life.

Bertrand Russell on happiness

Russell on Happiness

One may feel compelled to look at philosophy in a rather biased viewpoint, as it normally does not yield conclusive results. Philosophy fails to produce definitive results as it remains on the level of conceptual analysis, novel ideas and critical scrutiny. However as Russell maintains, philosophy is valuable as it helps to explain the obvious vagueness that philosophical answers pose. Thus if any questions arise that cannot be explained with definite answers, philosophizing helps comprehend their complexity. There is the possibility of philosophical questions transforming into scientific truths once they are answered and as Russell continues to note, there is likely hood that some of the scientific truths that stand today might have began as philosophical inquests. It is thus a deceptive notion to think that philosophy never entirely produced any positive results throughout its history. In the modern world there still remains many questions of interest that are not answered. Such questions such as the neurological foundations of the human brain or the extent and magnitude of the universe remain without a definite answer and it is only through philosophizing that we normally broaden our perspectives and become enlightened.

Putting this in mind, it is however not entirely right to dismiss philosophy as struggling to answer only the questions that do not permit direct questions. According to philosophers, there are other questions that exist, however whose answers are supposed to remain ambiguous for the sake of our own sanity. These questions are very significant but are in principle insoluble to the human intellect. Most of these questions revolve around theology or cosmology as Russell notes. Their very nature allows them to resist any definite answers. Philosophy takes an interest in tackling these two spheres but it is important to note that it cannot perceive the entire universe as an object nor decisively confirm or refute the inspirational content of religious values.

Bertrand Russell on Belief

Bertrand Russell on beliefThe desire to discover the meaning and purpose of life is what unites philosophy and religion. The both hold the view that our finite self is transcended by both infinity and the whole. However a notable difference is that as opposed to religion which seeks to account for infinity’s quality by appealing to the true world, philosophy tends to combine these two without splitting the universe into two entities. Philosophy thus is valuable as it helps one to comprehend the contemplations of the entire world and remains impartial. It involves itself in perpetuity of the universe and in so doing it helps us broaden our self. Thus, Russell maintains that philosophy is ideally contemplative.

For a pragmatic philosopher such as Russell, his views of philosophical knowledge such as the union of both the self and the not self may seem platonic. These views are in contrast to those that are held by modern philosophy, which states that knowledge is a process that aims at differentiating the “self from the object” that ought to be represented as such. In Russell’s point of view is that the self cannot be entirely taken as it is and comprehensively projected to the world. When he says that "All acquisition of knowledge is an enlargement of the Self," he means that the self is required to fine-tune itself accordingly with the world. Therefore, it is conclusive to point out that in order to achieve the right enlargement of the self, it is important for the object at hand to be appreciated.

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