I Wanna be Literated #180

I Wanna be Literated #180

Sunday, 08 April 2018

Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits
by Bertrand Russell

Look, we love Bertrand Russell, OK? And that love is easy to find on Ground Control. Every year we take a chance to read and discuss his books and we’re pleasantly surprised at how they’re unique, witty, and enlightening. The man hardly ever does wrong (like he does on his Autobiography). That’s why Human Knowledge, his last “big book” dealing with epistemology, is such a surprise.

We’re sure more in-depth studies of this book exists and that there even fans of it out there, but if you ask us, this is a very very boring book. And it’s easy to say why. Human Knowledge is just way too philosophical. Russell here is dissecting different aspects of human knowledge (for lack of a better term) and just seems to go on and on discussing and unraveling how we know what we know but uses pure philosophy to do so. So there’s no hard evidence and science to what he says and all “well, if this means that, than that must also mean this” kind of logic. It’s 450 pages dedicated to “if a equals b and b equals c, when does a not equal c?” type of analyses. So, it’s hard to follow, super repeatitive, and mind-tearingly boring. This is the lucid Bertrand Russell we know and love?

We took one for the team here, people. This just went on and on with no end in sight. What a relief that it’s over. This book is for a very specific crowd who gets its jollies dealing with thought-experiments and the abstract. Boo.

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