Friday, May 19, 2017

Bertrand Russell, mathematician and philosopher

Image from sapiengames

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was a well known 20th century mathematician and philosopher. His books include Principles of Mathematics (1903), Why I am not a Christian (1927), The Conquest of Happiness (1930) , and A History of Western Philosophy (1945).

He made new mathematical contributions to formal logic and discovered what came to be called Russell's paradox. He is ranked with Kurt Godel as one of his century's top logicians.

In 1950, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature, and in the 1960s, his anti-nuclear and anti-war protests inspired the youth of the day.

Russell was known for his bons mots, many of which are ironic or paradoxical. He said for instance, "...fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." Another of his statements: "It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this." He said that humans were born "ignorant, not stupid," and "made stupid by education," and that "To be without some things that you want is an indispensable part of happiness."

His famous personal essay, What I have lived for, is considered a model of its kind of writing.

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