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Mysticism and Logic: And Other Essays [Paperback]

Bertrand Russell
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 19, 2009 1103669494 978-1103669493
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1918 edition. Excerpt: ...say, contain the point. To secure a i,'definition giving this result, without previously assuming that physical objects are composed of points, is an agreeable problem in mathematical logic. The solution of 'this problem and the perception of its importance are due to my friend Dr. Whitehead. The oddity of regarding a point as a class of physical entrtieslveaiSuQrl-with--v l&miliarity, anoTbugEt: many case not to be felt by those who maintain, as practically every one does, that points are mathematical fictions. The word "fiction " is used glibly in such connexions by many men who seem not to feel the necessity of explaining how it can come about that a fiction can be so useful in the study of the actual world as the points of mathematical physics have been found to be. By our definition, which regards a point as a class of physical objects, it is explained both how the use of points can lead to important physical results, and how we can nevertheless avoid the assumption that points are themselves entities in the physical world. Many of the mathematically convenient properties of abstract logical spaces cannot be either known to belong or known not to belong to the space of physics. Such are all the properties connected with continuity. For to know that actual space has these properties would require an infinite exactness of sense-perception. If actual space is continuous, there are nevertheless many possible non-continuous spaces which will be empirically indistinguishable from it; and, conversely, actual space may be non-continuous and yet empirically indistinguishable from a possible continuous space. Continuity, therefore, though obtainable in the a priori region of arithmetic, is not with certainty obtainable in the...

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: BiblioLife (March 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1103669494
  • ISBN-13: 978-1103669493
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7.9 x 4.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,472,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970). Philosopher, mathematician, educational and sexual reformer, pacifist, prolific letter writer, author and columnist, Bertrand Russell was one of the most influential and widely known intellectual figures of the twentieth century. In 1950 he was awarded the Noble Prize for Literature in 1950 for his extensive contributions to world literature and for his "rationality and humanity, as a fearless champion of free speech and free thought in the West."

Customer Reviews

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let us reject power from our hearts October 14, 2009
While the essays on physics are rather outdated, Russell's sarcastic comments on the philosophy of Bergson, education, ethics or vegetarianism are still well worth reading.

Bergson's crucial idea of `durée' is an error: `Since the past has effects now, it must still exist in some sense. The mistake in this maxim consists in the supposition that causes `operate'. The belief that causes `operate', results from assimilating them to volitions.'

For B. Russell, `ethics is essentially a product of the gregarious instinct, that is to say, of the instinct to co-operate with those who are to form our own group against those who belong to other groups. Those who belong to our own group are good; those who belong to hostile groups are wicked,'

`The endeavor to teach virtue has led to the production of stunted and contorted hypocrites instead of full-grown human beings"

`Even vegetarians do not hesitate to save the life of a man in a fever, although in doing so they destroy the lives of many millions of microbes.'

Philosophy and man's place in the universe
`No heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; all the noonday brightness of human genius are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system. All these things are yet so nearly certain that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand.'

These almost `lyrical' essays are a must read for all fans of the superb free mind of Bertrand Russell.
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39 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A contradictory sort of fellow December 21, 2000
Will Durant, in his congenial The Story of Philosophy, describes Bertrand Russell as "...resolved to be hard-headed because he knows he can not be."-This is a bit unfair, as it doesn't really take into account Russell's philosophy, merely the man. But the two are so hard to separate!-Basically, Russell believes that mysticism "is the inspirer of what is best in man." But that it is absolutely muddle-headed and has lead mankind down numerous philosophic blind alleys in the past thousand or so years (I think anyone who has read Kant or Hegel can't help but come to this conclusion).-University professors (especially those of Philosophy) are excepted from the previous parenthetical remark! -But I don't guess Russell (a Nobel prize winner in literature, by the way) matters so much anymore: This book I'm reviewing is out of print, nobody else has reviewed it and I haven't heard his name mentioned in highbrow discussions for many a year. He was a mathematical genius, wrote prose that could cut like a razor blade concerning the most abstruse subjects in a manner understandable to most laymen, and was a profound skeptic in re matters religious. This latter got him into all kinds of trouble with women's societies and the like back in the earlier part of the century and actually got him fired from the City College of New York. So he packed his bags and went to teach at Harvard.-You see, he was a British aristocrat (an Earl) and all this rabble rousing by the hoi polloi was really a non-issue for him. In his autobiography, he recounts how his mother always told him, "Never follow a crowd to do Evil." Russell never followed a crowd to do anything! Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insight from Russell on life and math July 19, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very deep essays on the human being, being human with essay I. "Mysticism and Logic" the most popular, but don't stop reading at the end of that essay. My favorite that resonated the most with me was III. "A Free Man's Worship" in which Russell struggles with finding meaning in life through helping fellow travelers along the journey through life. A life changing read for sure! One of the most compassionate authors for sure. A true foul to the writings of authors such as Rand and Friedman's pro Capitalism stances.

Favorite quote:
“The life of Man is a long march through the night, surrounded by invisible foes, tortured by weariness and pain, towards a goal that few can hope to reach, and where none may tarry long. One by one, as they march, our comrades vanish form our sight, seized by the silent orders of omnipotent Death. Very brief is the time in which we can help them, in which their happiness or misery is decided. Be it ours to shed sunshine on their path, to lighten their sorrows by the balm of sympathy, to give them the pure joy of a never-tiring affection, to strengthen failing courage, to instill faith in times of despair.”
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Missing Pages June 16, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have not read all of the essays in this book yet, but the lead essay "Mysticism and Logic" has pages missing. There is a gap of probably two pages between the bottom of the first page in print, and the next page in print, which is numbered "4." Then pages 6 and 7 are missing. The rest of this essay appears to be present.

This book is printed from a scan of the copy in the Cornell University Library. I found an online copy of this book on Internet Archive, and it is missing the same pages in this essay. So the problem may be in the scan of the original in the Cornell library. Internet Archive has two other scans from different sources that appear to be complete.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Love Russell
I love his writings and find myself laughing at times (even when it's not supposed to be funny). I think he would have been a great dinner guest, he would be fun and make everyone... Read more
Published 1 month ago by dreaming of the sun
5.0 out of 5 stars Bertie at his best
The ideas my be a little off-the-wall but this can well be studied as an excellent example of how to write
clearly, concisely and with wit -- Bertie had it all in this... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Neal Wakershauser
4.0 out of 5 stars Russell the Skeptic
There is something strange about Russell’s writing. Although he often adopts a formal, even stilted, style, and tackles the most abstruse logical problems, his personality is... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Rlotz
5.0 out of 5 stars Favorite Philosopher
Many years have passed,since first printing, but his clarity of writing makes any of early works classics. I am forward to reading them again.
Published 2 months ago by James Tygum
5.0 out of 5 stars Its Russell
This is my favorite 20th century philosopher and I find him to be honest and illuminating. Some of his logic is left unproven, but the book itself is grand.
Published 4 months ago by Leo Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars So far so good
I purchased this a while ago but have been busy with classes that I haven't really read too much of it. But what I have read is interesting. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Brandi
4.0 out of 5 stars ok
Is ok, Cant do much better for the price, Can be a slow read at some times in the book.
Published 9 months ago by Patricia
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Includes some excellent early essays by Bertrand Russell, from about the time the first volumes of Principia Mathematica were rolling off the presses, on philosophy of... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Jill Bemis
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage stuff from the polymath of the 20th century.
Vintage stuff from one of the great minds of all time,
One really needs to read russel to realize how far ahead he was -
anyone who wants to think of themselves as... Read more
Published 12 months ago by E Maurer
5.0 out of 5 stars This item is what it was represented to be, and I am most appreciative...
This item is what it was represented to be, and I am most appreciative of the fact that I received what I paid for.
Published 18 months ago by Dennis Finney
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