21_russell - 24.01 Classics of Western Philosophy Prof Rae...

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24.01 Classics of Western Philosophy Prof. Rae Langton VI. Russell Lecture 2 1 . The Problems of Philosophy 1. Brief biographical remarks. Russell’s life spanned nearly a century ((1872-1970), and brings us from the historical period to the contemporary. His work in logic, philosophy of language and mathematics was revolutionary, although he ultimately failed in his ambition to prove that mathematics can be reduced to logic (in Principia Mathematica , co-authored with Whitehead). He was an outspoken atheist, and a vociferous protester against the First World War and the Vietnam war. He founded the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. He was married four times, sacked twice (once from Trinity college, Cambridge; once from the Barnes Foundation in Pennsylvania), and imprisoned twice. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. 2. Chapter I. Appearance and Reality. In this chapter Russell shows how philosophy can make us question the most ordinary of our beliefs. He begins, as Descartes does, with the question, what can we know, what can we be certain of? And he says that in the search for certainty it is natural to begin with our present experiences . But what exactly do our present sensory experiences reveal? This chapter is reminiscent of both Descartes and Hume, in its insistence that our senses do not in fact justify the beliefs that we base on them. We think that
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This note was uploaded on 01/25/2012 for the course PHIL 201H1F taught by Professor Derekallen during the Fall '10 term at University of Toronto.

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21_russell - 24.01 Classics of Western Philosophy Prof Rae...

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