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The Cambridge Companion to Bertrand Russell (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy) Hardcover – June 30, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0521631785 ISBN-10: 0521631785
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Editorial Reviews


"...the editor and authors have done a tremendous job selectively choosing topics and themes within Russell's philosophical work to focus on. ...there is nothing to compare to it in providing an accessible but comprehensive introduction to Russell's philosophy..." The Bertrand Russell Society Quarterly

"Unequalled by any other collection of essays on Russell." Journal of Bertrand Russell studies

"Despite the editor's modest claims for the book, The Cambridge Companion to Bertrand Russell succeeds in giving an accurate, multi-dimensional account of Russell's early and late epistemological, metaphysical and moral theories, one that shows the continuity in the development of his philosophy." u De Philosophia, Iva Apostolova

"There is no work currently available that would provide a better overall guide to Russell's philosophy and views of logic. It is certainly worth a read for studetns and scholars in philosophy and logic alike." Kevin C. Klement, University of Massachusetts

Book Description

Bertrand Russell ranks as one of the giants of 20th century philosophy. Through his books, journalism, correspondence and political activity he exerted a profound influence on modern thought. This companion centers on Russell's contributions to modern philosophy and, therefore, concentrates on the early part of his career. New readers will find this the most convenient and accessible guide to Russell available. Advanced students and specialists will find a conspectus of recent developments in the interpretation of Russell.

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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Companions to Philosophy
  • Hardcover: 572 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (June 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521631785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521631785
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,091,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Steven M. Duncan on June 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
There are at least four Bertrand Russells: The English aristocrat whose values were forged during the Edwardian revolt against Victorianism, the mathematical logician, the Nobel Prize winning popular author and the radical activist. The authors of this collection have obviously decided to focus on Russell the mathematical logician of the period between 1900-1920, with a little attention to some of his later work in metaphysics, epistemology and philosophy of science. Undoubtedly, this reflects Russell's true legacy to philosophy and his ongoing influence in that discipline. Unfortunately, most people know Russell from his popular writings, which, though they often deal with topics discussed by philosophers (such as God and morality) are hardly distinguished by the sort of rigor or seriousness that a genuinely philosophical discussion of these questions deserve. Most of his essays on these topics date badly and are of no more than sociological interest today; the views he expresses, however radical they may have been at the time, have become (even if true - and that is certainly debateable) either banal through repetition or long since bypassed in the course of philosophical discussion. They may still be read with pleasure by some but not to much profit by anyone who has kept abreast of philosophical developments in these areas. Russell's genius in mathematics and logic (like Einstein's in physics) was not reflected in most of the other areas to which he turned his active mind, such as religion, politics and educational theory despite the fact that his authority was often accepted in these areas as well. As such, his popular influence is well out of proportion to his actual contribution to the philosophical discussion of these questions.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Moises Macias Bustos (@logicalanalysis) on September 22, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This volume is, in my view, an excellent introduction to its subject, namely Bertrand Russell. The introduction by Nicholas Griffin is superb, and indeed has suggested to me new avenues for the investigation of Russell's thought (such as the controversy between realists and anti-realists regarding the Law of the Excluded Middle, or his definition of Scepticism in AMa as a boundary problem), it then goes on, to examine the place of Mathematics in Russell's thought and Russell's contributions to Mathematics, it then sketches the young Russell's views regarding Idealism and his rejection of Kant and Hegel as well as his short-lived partnership with G.E. Moore, it then goes on to give an account of his Logicism (the view which takes mathematics to be in some sense reducible to logic) of his Theory of Types for solving the paradox which bears his name and his Theory of Definite Descriptions in an excellent paper by Peter Hylton which shows ways to evade Kripke's criticisms of the russellian analysis of proper names in terms of definite descriptions. Michael Beaney, editor of The Frege Reader, also contributes with an splendid 70 page paper on the philosophies of Frege and Russell. There is a complicated paper in the jargon of mathematical logic dealing with one of Russell's attempts, a sophisticated one, to deal with the paradoxes in set theory, namely the Substitutional Theory, but it is mostly here, and a bit in the paper on Types where mathematical logic features more proficiently. Most of the papers in the book are quite intelligible without much knowledge of logic.Read more ›
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Very helpful. Deals with Russell's work in modern philosophy (and, so, his earlier writings), rather than his activities as a political activist.
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10 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Donald E. Fannin on September 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have never felt compelled to review any book before. I have read 14 of the Cambridge Companions, some of them have been spotty but this one should be thrown out and the second edition let out to a new editor.
The biographical introduction explains Russell's long varied and interesting career. It then spends the first half of the book on articles on his logic. Most of these articles are not written in English but in an academic jargon of symbolic logic, pages and pages of it. (If you buy the book read chapter 3 and skip the rest.) The book then goes on to be a little more interesting concerning his epistomology and metaphysics.
The final chapter concerns whether he was a moral philospher and I believe justifies that he was.
But the book barely notes what his moral philosphy was, anything about his political philosophy and nothing about his comments on religion. Russell spent a large part of his life expressing couragious and unpopular ideas. This volume totally ignores this aspect of his works and concentrates on how one might legitimately say "The current King of France is bald" (hint- there is no current King of France)While this is an interesting logical question, it is not worth 300 pages.
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