The Value of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell | Free Essay Sample

Published: 2018-03-27
The Value of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell | Free Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Philosophy Personality Philosophers
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 1957 words
17 min read

Bertrand Arthur William Russell is an eminent mathematician, logician, and philosopher who has had a strong influence on modern philosophy. His methods for evaluating preliminary judgments and the value of philosophy as a science became a springboard for further research. He believed that philosophy has value and people should treat such science as they do mathematics or physics. He was also an ardent opponent of the stereotyping of such a science.

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In particular, Russell argued that many people mistakenly believe that philosophy is nothing more than a collection of meaningless dogmas and reasoning about events that may not happen in real life (Philosophy Has a Value, Russell Para. 1). Yet, at the same time, this science allows you to look much deeper beyond the event horizon and understand what solutions are possible in the future. Given that Bertrand Russell was a supporter of left reformism, his path in philosophy was based on upholding the ideals of man and the right of everyone to self-identification.

This scientist believed that the study of philosophy was the path to the evolution of humankind. One of the key values for Russell was the ability to understand how far a person can go in their research if they can overcome stereotypes and social principles. In particular, according to him, the value of philosophy consists of the possibility of self-knowledge. Russell believed that a person should receive complete freedom of thought and action to analyze life patterns and independently find answers.

Philosophical Values and Starting Points

Many philosophers have spent decades articulating the value of philosophy in the context of ongoing debate. But Russell was in favor of a different path. In particular, he believed that "yes" and "no" are too dogmatic answers that cannot be applied to many situations. Instead, he suggested taking philosophical questions as the key to searching for truth. Most of his books are aimed at broadening the horizons of readers.

Russell argued that there is no clear concept of good and evil, and the study of philosophy should not depend on state factors. In particular, this scientist proposed using a basic research approach to finding answers to questions. Prejudice is a swamp that is a barrier to reason. If a person seeks to find the truth, then only the value of philosophy can become a starting point in accepting reality. Russell believed that philosophy is an energy booster for the mind, and everyone should adhere to common sense theory.

In addition, he promoted a comprehensive approach to analyzing problems that can be solved with the help of philosophy. A person should not rely on the preconceived opinions or judgments of those who are in any way interested in imposing a one-sided opinion (Russell Para.8).

The Aim of Philosophy According to Russell

Since Russell was a philosopher and a mathematician, his views on the scientific approach were more than practical. He believed that the value of philosophy could be realized only by understanding the process of comprehending knowledge. He believed that this science aims to find meaning and discover truth where an ordinary person has no answers. At the same time, he believed that a philosophical approach helps abstract stereotypes and draw attention to what is inaccessible to ordinary people.

Russell believed that blind movement forward is meaningless since a person is a rational being who knows how to reason. In particular, he was a staunch opponent of military conscription and bravely advocated a change in British law during the First World War. His views on politics and philosophy were based on the fact that the goal of every person is evolution and the search for truth. Blind adherence to other people's ideas cannot benefit a person. Only a gradual awareness of the truth makes sense (Russell Para.6).

Russell always urged students not to think of philosophy as a science that offers pseudo-solutions during lectures at renowned universities. According to him, reasoning and speculation are key factors in human progress. People tend to ask questions. It is curiosity and the desire to solve emerging problems that motivate people quickly. Philosophy helps to guess what is inside the box. However, the correct answer depends only on a combination of research, evidence, and common sense (Russell Para.8).

Russell has always encouraged students to be sincere in their desire to find the truth and not rely on the preconceived opinions of others. In his 1946 essay Philosophy for Laymen, Russell noted that the main purpose of philosophy as a science is to maintain an interest in existential and global issues. Can wars be avoided? Will humanity be able to meet alien civilizations? When will politicians stop thinking about constantly enriching themselves through taxes of citizens? Are there parallel universes, and how does life change depending on the decisions made? All these questions look quite global, but the ambitions of philosophy go far beyond reality.

Russell has always believed that the right scientific approach is the key to harmony. His books aimed to show philosophy not as a set of formulas but as a new path to truth and self-knowledge. In particular, he was an open agnostic but argued that it would be very difficult to help people find the strength to move forward without faith. In addition, he always liked to quote Plato, who was shocked by sophists who have no religious goals. Russell believed that religion is not a belief in a deity somewhere in the sky but the pursuit of some goal that, in theory, could bring harmony. That is why he called for adhering to a philosophical approach in all spheres of life.

Black and White Side of the Philosophy According to Russell

Surely everyone understands the value of philosophy. The fact is that this science is much more complex and important than it seems. So this is why Russell often encouraged people to think critically and not rely solely on the majority's opinion. The fact is that this science has a light and dark side. But how can you tell the bad from the good? The positive side of philosophy is discussing a problem and analyzing it from different angles. This approach is correct, and Russell has often promoted critical thinking. At the same time, he never encouraged people to focus solely on logic and discard the possibility of comprehensive analysis.

Sometimes a certain phenomenon requires careful research. However, blindly following classic research patterns is fundamentally wrong. The value of philosophy lies in the ability to abstract from previous experience and say, "What is beyond the horizon? What opportunities await me?" So this is precisely the key to the sweeping philosophical analysis (Russell Para.8). According to Bertrand Russell, "orthodox" philosophical dogmas are rudimentary. They cannot bring the desired effect, especially if you wish to pursue the truth and not dwell on someone else's opinion, which is not supported by anything other than previous experience.

Even though many decades have passed since the death of Bertrand Russell, his theory of harmonization is still valid. He believed that the world always strives for balance, and it is a philosophy that will help people not walk on the edge of the blade. During public speeches, he always emphasized the need for a preliminary analysis of all actions. The world is full of spontaneity, and the task of philosophy is to exclude the so-called gray areas of morality. There is only one way to find a less destructive solution (Russell Para.4).

The Philosophy of Pacifism Vs. Modern Trends

One of the main ideological and philosophical doctrines of Russell was pacifism. He believed that everyone has the right to self-development and freedom of movement. At the same time, he criticized compulsory military conscription and believed that military service was contrary to common sense. Unfortunately, at the same time, he was forced to abandon the original concept due to the Second World War.

According to Russell, the value of philosophy is that a person can be wrong, even if the original idea looks perfect. He also said that philosophical pacifism is good for peacetime when people are not in danger. At that time, he urged people to avoid propaganda and philosophically analyze any information. In particular, he called for versatile opinions to find the truth.

Russell often liked to say that humanity needs philosophy to analyze the opportunities and consequences after certain actions. In particular, he called on many politicians to first think about how their actions could affect humanity. In particular, Russell always supported new views, especially if they allowed thinking outside the box. According to his concept, philosophy makes it possible to create a springboard for the opportunity.

There is no single correct recipe for making humanity happy. Wars and local conflicts are gray areas of philosophy where only the least terrible options can be seen. That is why this scientist spent most of his life trying to convey the concept of peace and philosophical reflections on the advisability of conflicts.

Philosophical Evolution of Views

One of Russell's most important aspects in his biography was evolutionism. The fact is that for 97 years of his life, this outstanding gentleman has repeatedly admitted the imperfection of the world and changed his views on certain events. He believed that the value of philosophy is to understand in time why the old dogmas do not work. In addition, he always strove to promote philosophical socialism, believing that the equality of people is the key to harmony. At the same time, she did not support radical movements and tried to act in the philosophical field, describing all life events as an outside observer.

Russell believed that philosophy was the path to finding answers, even though you would never find the only right path. In his autobiography, he pointed out that thinking "philosophically" allows everyone to see more possibilities. Of course, the right decision doesn't always come right away. Moreover, sometimes all options may not be acceptable. But philosophy helps to see that there is no clear gradation, and the boundaries between good and evil are blurred.

In addition, the absence of dogmatism always allows you to look at the situation objectively. Russell often said that secular and religious dogmas give a false sense of certainty during his lectures at universities. People may think that the opinion of authoritative priests or politicians is the only correct one, but just looking around the wall of convictions can collapse. He also always advised aspiring philosophers to think outside the box and not search for the optimal answer because it cannot be found quickly. According to him, the main task of philosophy is not to impose any response but to see new possibilities.


What is the aim of philosophy according to Russell?

Russell believed that philosophy is a tool for endless self-knowledge that is ideal for critically analyzing any situation to comprehend the truth. He also believed that the main aim of philosophy is not empty reasoning but a complete study of each topic and the search for logical answers.

How is philosophy connected to the sciences?

Philosophy is an intermediate science that allows you to find answers using mathematics, logic, physics, biology, and any other field of knowledge. The empirical method of searching for philosophical meaning is the bridge between the sciences. That is why philosophy is connected to the sciences through references to primary sources and a critical assessment of facts.

What value is there in the uncertainty that philosophical inquiry often produces?

The so-called uncertainty is a key aspect of philosophy. The fact is that this science is initially focused on studying every aspect of life from different angles. Only a critical assessment of information can lead to accurate answers. So this is why uncertainty is valuable as an intermediate step before finding the truth.

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