Bertrand Russell

Philosophy From a Contemporary Perspective: Bertrand Russell

We have thus far been concerned with the ancient Greeks and how they thought of philosophy. But as we saw in the introductory material, for them there was no real distinction between Philosophy and Natural Science. For us, on the other hand, there is a distinction between Philosophy and the other sciences--even if it is an artificial one. So we should again ask our question (What is Philosophy?) taking the Modern distinctions into account.

  1. The Difference between Science and Philosophy

    1. The Scope of knowledge: Universal versus Individual

    2. The Type of knowledge: "Practical" versus Theoretical

    3. The Method of knowledge: Division versus Unity

    4. The Result of knowledge: Certainty versus Uncertainty

  2. The Value of Philosophy: Why Philosophy Ought to be Studied:

    1. It Creates an Enlargement of the Self Beyond . . .

      1. common sense (egocentrism - the failure to see beyond oneself)

      2. family (familiocentrism - the failure to see beyond one’s family beliefs)

      3. culture (ethnocentrism - the failure to see beyond one’s cultural beliefs)

      4. species (athropocentrism - the failure to see beyond one’s species beliefs)

    2. It Makes Possible a Reevaluation of the Self in relation to the Not-Self

      1. Contemplation of the Non-Self

      2. The Struggle for Objectivity

    3. Philosophical contemplation can, indirectly, influence the "real world"

      1. How we feel about the world

      2. How we act in the world

Return to Notes Index
Return to Barry's HP