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Bertrand Russell

With extraordinary concision and clarity, A. J. Ayer gives an account of the major incidents of Bertrand Russell’s life and an exposition of the whole range of his philosophy. "Ayer considers Russell to be, except possibly for Wittgenstein, the most influential philosopher of our time. In this book [he] gives a lucid account of Russell’s philosophical achievements."—James Rachels, New York Times Book Review

"I am sure [this] is the best introduction of any length to Russell, and I suspect that it might serve as one of the best introductions to modern philosophy. . . . Ayer begins with a brief, austere, and balanced account of Russell’s life: as in Russell’s autobiography this means his thought, books, women, and politics. Tacitus (and Russell) would have found the account exemplary. Ayer ends with a sympathetic and surprisingly detailed survey of Russell’s social philosophy. But the bulk of this book consists of a chapter on Russell’s work in logic and the foundations of mathematics, followed by a chapter on his epistemological views and one on metaphysics. . . . I find it impossible to imagine that this book will not remain indefinitely the very best book of its sort."—Review of Metaphysics

"The confrontation or conjunction of Ayer and Russell is a notable event and has produced a remarkable book—brilliantly argued and written."—Martin Lebowitz, The Nation

175 pages | 5.25 x 8.00 | © 1972

Philosophy: History and Classic Works, Logic and Philosophy of Language

Table of Contents

i. Russell’s Life and Works
ii. Russell’s Philosophy of Logic
A. The Motives for Logical Construction
B. The Reduction of Mathematics to Logic
C. The Theory of Types
D. The Theory of Descriptions
E. Russell’s Theories of Belief and of Truth
iii. Russell’s Theory of Knowledge
A. His Theories of Perception
B. On Self-Consciousness and Memory
C. His Theory of Induction
iv. Russell’s Conception of Reality
A. His Logical Atomism
B. Mind and Matter
v. Russell’s Moral Philosophy
A. Ethics
B. Religion
C. Politics
Short Bibliography

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