I Wanna Be Literated! 093

I Wanna Be Literated! 093

Thursday, 03 December 2015
TITLE: I Wanna Be Literated! 093
A critical evaluation of The History of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell
DATE: 11-26-15
WRITER: Ollie Ottoman

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You have got to give props to my main man Bertrand Russell for pulling off such a magnanimous project and pulling it off so well. As he says in the introduction, the key to writing this book involving a rundown of the entire history of Western philosophy is to touch on each of these guys just enough so as not to bore the reader and then move on. Russell does exactly that in what may possibly be his most famous book: History of Western Philosophy.Now I am no fan of philosophy (in the historical sense), but I am a fan of Russell and his body of work so what a perfect combo we have here. Throughout this massive book Russell briefly discusses the major philosophical outlooks which shaped Western society at the time, he gives us an idea of what these philosophers were trying to teach and what their major works were, his interpretation of these philosophers (and where exactly he finds them lacking), and in doing so also manages to give us a history lesson, putting each philosopher into historical perspective. Did I mention that all these philosophers are dudes? Of course, no one is surprised.

As much as I enjoyed learning about these figures I have heard about so much (like Epicurus, Aristotle, Hegel, and Kant just to name a few), I enjoyed even more that Russell discusses the cultural tide affecting the world at the moment. And, although I didn’t always understand the actual philosophy each of these figures was expounding, I don’t really think we are meant to. After all, philosophy can be circular in its argument and has often lacked any facts to back it up, so of course it’s not going to make sense most of the time.

Toward the end of the book, Russell says that philosophy throughout its history has been trying to blend ideas that explain how the world works and what our best way of living ought to be. And if any of them showed any proof, they might have been onto something.

History of Western Philosophy undoubtedly should be read by everyone. If only to teach us how far we’ve come.




Bertrand Russell’s The History of Western Philosophy remains in print. Buy it here on Amazon .

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