BERTRAND RUSSELL: Philosopher of the Century by A. J. et al. Ayer

BERTRAND RUSSELL: Philosopher of the Century

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A testimonial to the man Einstein called ""wise, honorable, bold and humorous,"" and to his work, called ""a diversity of excellence, "" by Ralph Schoenman, Russell's young American secretary, who edited these essays. Surprisingly, in view of Schoenman's militancy, the total effect is to reinforce the cliche that Russell may have been ""the philosopher of the century""(a blurb closer to the truth than most), but his current views are those of an aged crank. The Tribunal gets no mention at all, and the political commentary by Fromm, Pauling, I. F. Stone and others is barely mediocre. The reminiscent essays, however, are lively, supplying some fine letters and quotations, and more insights than the Autobiography, with which they may be cross-referenced by admirers. The articles on Russell's work in philosophy, mathematics and logic comprise the most substantial part of the book, and the most eminent professional contributors, including Broad, Ayer, Reichenbach, and the number one living American logico-philosopher, W. V. Quine. General readers will find them a bit forbidding;the collection, accordingly, does have something for everybody but most for students of Russell's splendid technical accomplishments.

Pub Date: Jan. 11th, 1967
Publisher: Little Brown