The History of Western Philosophy

作者:Bertrand Russell

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The History of Western Philosophy内容简介

Since its first publication in 1945, Lord Russell's A History of Western Philosophy has been universally acclaimed as the outstanding one-volume work on the subject -- unparalleled in its comprehensiveness, its clarity, its erudition, its grace and wit. In seventy-six chapters he traces philosophy from the rise of Greek civilization to the emergence of logical analysis in the twentieth century. Among the philosophers considered 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 Great, John the Scot, Aquinas, Duns Scotus, William of Occam, Machiavelli, Erasmus, More, Bacon, Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, the Utilitarians, Marx, Bergson, James, Dewey, and lastly the philosophers with whom Lord Russell himself is most closely associated -- Cantor, Frege, and

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The problem of finding a collection of "wise" men and leaving the government to them is thus an insoluble one. That is the ultimate reason for democracy.

Sin has not been sent upon the earth, but man of himself has created it.

I would rather be reported by my bitterest enemy among philosophers than by a friend innocent of philosophy.

The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways - I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows.

Unlike many other subjects treated by Greek philosophers, ethics has not made any definite advances, in the sense of ascertained discoveries; nothing in ethics is known in a scientific sense.

Philosophy is no longer the pillar of fire going before a few intrepid seekers after truth; it is rather an ambulance following in the wake of the struggle for existence and picking up the weak and wounded.

By nature, the Stoics held, all human beings are equal.

But if the Arabs had not preserved the tradition, the men of the Renaissance might not have suspected how much was to be gained by the revival of classic learning.

Like some other very great books, it composes itself, in the memory of those who have read it, into something better than at first appears on rereading.

The contrast is surprising; but the most effective men of action are often intellectually second-rate.

Mohammedan civilization in its great days was admirable in the arts and in many technical ways, but it showed no capacity for independent speculation in theoretical matters. Its importance, which must not be underrated, is as a transmitter.

Scientific technique requires the co-operation of a large number of individuals organized under a single direction. Its tendency, therefore, is against anarchism and even individualism, since it demands a well-knit social structure.

It must be admitted, however, that life in More's Utopia, as in most others, would be intolerably dull. Diversity is essential to happiness, and in Utopia there is hardly any. This is a defect of all planned social systems, actual as well as imaginary.

The reign of law had established its hold on men's imaginations, making such things as magic and sorcery incredible. In 1700 the mental outlook of educated men was completely modern; in 1600, except among a very few, it was still largely medieval.

Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night. God said "Let Newton be," and all was light.

The above argument, "I think, therefore I am" (cogito ergo sum), is known as Descartes's cogito, and the process by which it is reached is called "Cartesian doubt."

However that may be, wherever the principle of checks and balances prevailed the judiciary became a third independent branch of government alongside of the legislative and executive. The most noteworthy example is the United States' Supreme Court.

At the present time, Hitler is an outcome of Rousseau; Roosevelt and Churchill, of Locke.

"Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. One man think himself the master of others, but remains more of a slave than they are."

Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education.

To frame a philosophy capable of coping with men intoxicated with the prospect of almost unlimited power and also with the apathy of the powerless is the most pressing task of our time.

Men are to be punished by the criminal law in order to prevent crime, not because we hate the criminal. It is more important that the punishment should be certain than that it should be severe.

He defines "pure experience" as "the immediate flux of life which furnishes the material to our later reflection."

If all three are to have equal chances, each must be more likely to be false than true. In this sort of way James's principle collapses as soon as we are allowed to bring in considerations of probability.

The civilized man is distinguised from the savage mainly by prudence, or, to use a slightly wider term, forethought. He is willing to endure present pains for the sake of future pleasures, even if the future pleasure are rather distant.

[...] prudence may easily involve the loss of some of the best things in life.

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