Bertrand Russell Unpopular Essays

Bertrand Russell Unpopular Essays-5
This leads to an insincere philosophy, one that responds not solely to truth but to the fear that “clear thinking would lead to anarchy...[p. Protagoras and Hume, skeptics both, are exceptions.It wasn’t the skeptics, but rather the empiricists Democritus and Locke, who were the formidable intellectual opponents with whom Plato and Hegel had to contend.Democracy, alternatively, receives a theoretical justification only from Lockean-style empiricism.

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“The decisions of the Council of Nicaea are still authoritative, but in science fourth-century opinions no longer carry any weight [p.

26].” Look at how Marxian dogma affects Soviet science. 27].” With the nuclear threat, global survival requires “liberal tentativeness and tolerance [p.

Hegel somehow is able to conclude from these philosophical foundations that “true liberty consists in obedience to an arbitrary authority, that free speech is an evil, that absolute monarchy is good…[p. The intermediate steps involve the logic of the ‘dialectio,’ the uncovering of “contradictions in abstract ideas and correcting them by making them less abstract [p.

22],” with ideas thereby progressing to the Absolute Idea.

It was Hegel’s contemporary Germany that has progressed closest to the Absolute Idea.

Hegel’s “farrago of nonsense” carried the day in philosophy for a long time, and Russell would have succumbed, like his peers, had he not seen that Hegel’s writing on the philosophy of mathematics was “plain nonsense [p.

Liberalism concerns itself not with what opinions are held, but how they are held.

This is the approach of science, though not of theology.

Hegel compounds the folly by asserting that “the temporal process of history repeats the logical development of the dialectic [p.

22].” Despite the universality of the philosophy, the historical process applies only to earth, and develops fully only in those times and places on earth with which Hegel was familiar.

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