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Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits by Bertrand Russell (Author)

Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits by Bertrand Russell (Author)
'Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits'
By Bertrand Russell  (Author)

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How do we know what we "know"? How did we –as individuals and as a society – come to accept certain knowledge as fact? In 
Human Knowledge, Bertrand Russell questions the reliability of our assumptions on knowledge. This brilliant and controversial work investigates the relationship between ‘individual’ and ‘scientific’ knowledge. First published in 1948, this provocative work contributed significantly to an explosive intellectual discourse that continues to this day.

‘The nearest thing to a systematic philosophy written by one who does not believe in systems of philosophy. Its scope is encyclopedic…a joy to read.’ 

(New York Times)

‘His intelligibility comes of stating things directly as he himself seems them, sharply defined and readily crystallized in the best English philosophical style.’ 

The Times Literary Supplement)
Bertrand Russell, an early student of Whitehead, is one of the most well-known of the British philosophers and logicians of this century. At once an accomplished mathematician and philosopher, he was also an activist in the political realm especially during his later days. Much.of his later fame in fact rests upon his political and social activities rather than the purely philosophical works for which he became known in his earlier years.

Early in life, Russell became a religious skeptic and remained so until his death. It was at Cambridge that, while studying philosophy, he became interested in the foundations of knowledge. Influenced first by idealists such as G.E. Moore, he turned more and more towards empiricism, positivism and materialism and remained a positivist the rest of his life. In An Enquiry into the Meaning of Truth and Human Knowledge/ Its Scope and Limits, he sought to pare down and reduce to the simplest expression, the claims of human knowledge. In The Principle of Mathematics, he investigated the relation between philosophy and mathematics which culminated in the joint work, Principia Mathematica/ with Whitehead. He exerted altogether an immense influence upon the analytical movement as well as on the study of logic in general in the fourteenth/twentieth century. 

Russell also wrote a number of more popular works, such as A History of Western Philosophy/ Why I am not a Christian and Autobiography which made him more influential and famous than other philosophers in non-philosophical circles. He epitomizes the domination of positivistic philosophy which refuses to deal with any subject that cannot be logically, and for some operationally, defined and has a strong anti-metaphysical bias and opposition to religious and spiritual matters which have concerned so many philosophers over the ages. This type of philosophy has been dominant in most British and American universities during the past few decades. As a result, Russell has also influenced a number of Muslim writers and philosophers who have studied in England and America in contrast to the European continent, where existentialism and phenomenology have been more prevalent to this day. 

(Seyyed Hossein Nasr)
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