By Bertrand Russell
When you consider that its first booklet in 1945? Lord Russell's A historical past of Western Philosophy has been universally acclaimed because the amazing one-volume paintings at the topic — remarkable in its comprehensiveness, its readability, its erudition, its grace and wit. In seventy-six chapters he strains philosophy from the increase of Greek civilization to the emergence of logical research within the 20th century. one of the philosophers thought of are: Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, the Atomists, Protagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Cynics, the Sceptics, the Epicureans, the Stoics, Plotinus, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, Benedict, Gregory the nice, John the Scot, Aquinas, Duns Scotus, William of Occam, Machiavelli, Erasmus, extra, Bacon, Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, the Utilitarians, Marx, Bergson, James, Dewey, and finally the philosophers with whom Lord Russell himself is such a lot heavily linked — Cantor, Frege, and Whitehead, co-author with Russell of the huge Principia Mathematica.
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The lowest class is made up of those who come to buy and sell, the next above them are those who compete. Best of all, however, are those who come simply to look on. '" * The changes in the meanings of words are often very instructive. " For Pythagoras, the "passionate sympathetic contemplation" was intellectual, and issued in mathematical knowledge. In this way, through Pythagoreanism, "theory" gradually acquired its modern meaning; but for all who were inspired by Pythagoras it retained an element of ecstatic revelation.
Hippasos of Metapontion, who violated this rule, was shipwrecked as a result of divine wrath at his impiety. But what has all this to do with mathematics? It is connected by means of an ethic which praised the contemplative life. Burnet sums up this ethic as follows: "We are strangers in this world, and the body is the tomb of the soul, and yet we must not seek to escape by self-murder; for we are the chattels of God who is our herdsman, and without his command we have no right to make our escape.
Two things are to be remembered: that a man whose opinions and theories are worth studying may be presumed to have had some intelligence, but that no man is likely to have arrived at complete and final truth on any subject whatever. When an intelligent man expresses a view which seems to us obviously absurd, we should not attempt to prove that it is somehow true, but we should try to understand how it ever came to seem true. This exercise of historical and psychological imagination at once enlarges the scope of our thinking, and helps us to realize how foolish many of our own cherished prejudices will seem to an age which has a different temper of mind.
A History of Western Philosophy [poor font] by Bertrand Russell