Sceptical Essays.

Bertrand Russell



'These propositions may seem mild, yet, if accepted, they would absolutely revolutionize human life.'

With these words Bertrand Russell introduces what is indeed a revolutionary book. Taking as his starting-point the irrationality of the world, he offers by contrast something 'wildly paradoxical and subversive' - a belief that reason should determine human actions. Today, besieged as we are by the numbing onslaught of twenty-first-century capitalism, Russell's defence of scepticism and independence of mind is as timely as ever. In clear, engaging prose, he guides us through the key philosophical issues that affect our daily lives - freedom, happiness, emotions, ethics and beliefs - and offers no-nonsense advice.

What will you learn from this book

  • Value of Skepticism: Russell emphasizes the importance of skepticism in all aspects of life, encouraging readers to question commonly accepted beliefs and to seek evidence before accepting any claim.

  • Critique of Dogmatism: Russell critiques dogmatic thinking, whether it is found in religion, politics, or philosophy. He argues that dogmatism leads to intolerance and hinders intellectual progress.

  • Scientific Method: The essays stress the importance of the scientific method as the best tool for acquiring knowledge. Russell argues that science should be the basis for understanding the world, rather than superstition or tradition.

  • Ethical Implications of Beliefs: Russell explores the ethical implications of holding certain beliefs. He suggests that beliefs should be held tentatively and subject to revision based on new evidence, and that rigid beliefs can lead to harmful actions.

  • Importance of Education: Russell advocates for a liberal education that encourages critical thinking and open-mindedness, rather than rote learning or indoctrination.

  • Individual Freedom: The essays highlight the importance of individual freedom and the right to think and express oneself freely without fear of repression or persecution.

  • Role of Philosophy: Russell sees philosophy as a tool for clarifying thought and removing confusion. He believes that philosophy should help people to think more clearly and to distinguish between what can be known and what is merely believed.

  • Limitations of Human Knowledge: Russell acknowledges the limitations of human knowledge and the uncertainty inherent in many aspects of life. He advises maintaining a humble attitude toward what we can know for certain.

  • Social and Political Critique: The book includes critiques of social and political systems that suppress individual freedom and intellectual inquiry. Russell is particularly critical of totalitarian regimes and uncritical nationalism.

  • Encouragement of Open Inquiry: Finally, Russell encourages open inquiry and the free exchange of ideas as essential to personal and societal progress. He argues that a society that promotes free thought and inquiry will be more vibrant and progressive.

Language English
ISBN-10 0415325080
ISBN-13 9780415325080
No of pages 225
Font Size Medium
Book Publisher Routledge
Published Date 02 Feb 2004

About Author

Author : Bertrand Russell

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