I Wanna Be Literated! 092

I Wanna Be Literated! 092

Thursday, 05 November 2015
TITLE: I Wanna Be Literated! 092
A critical evaluation of An Outline of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell
DATE: 11-05-15
WRITER: Ollie Ottoman

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One of the great pleasures in reading Bertrand Russell for me is when he discusses the role of philosophy in a society where science has been the approach to finding out what is real and true in our universe. As science plays a greater role in our lives, there seems to be less space for philosophy. The other was when Russell plainly says that he doesn’t understand Kant. As someone who openly praises science over philosophy, I take a certain joy in this. However, it should be understood that science is good at answering the small questions in life, not the large ones. Sometimes it’s good to step back and see exactly what the larger picture is of the small questions science has been answering. And that’s where Russell’s Outline of Philosophy comes in.Although much has changed since this book was first published in 1927, some of the philosophical questions Russell examines are still worthwhile considering given what we’ve learned about the world around us. Philosophy becomes important when we  ask a really precise question but find that such precision is either too fine or not fine enough to produce an acceptable answer; we sometimes depend on larger ‘philosophical’ points to make sense of our world in situations like that. “How does an eye work” is easier than asking how a certain wavelength causes a certain cell in the retina to send a signal to the brain.

Outline of Philosophy is broken down into questions relating to, among other things, man (sic) and his environment (his focus on manipulating the earth into making more human beings), the process of learning (how he is able to labor in the present for reward in the future, and focus on behavior that maximizes the amount of offspring), language (what words can mean), how it relates to physics and relativity (how do we know that’s really there and how can two people experience something the exact same way?) and how can we describe and properly study events that happen internally and privately (like a headache). Though some of these questions are more interesting than others, on the whole the topics are discussed by Russell in a very interesting fashion.

And although I thought this book would serve as an appetizer for Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, the truth is that Outline of Philosophy is no supplement but stands on its own.



An Outline Of Philosophy
is available now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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