The Philosophy of Mr. Bertrand Russell with an Appendix of Leading Passages from Certain Other Worksby Philip E. B. Jourdain
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When Mr. Bertrand Russell, following the advice of Mr. William James, again “got into touch with reality” and in July 1911 was torn to pieces by Anti-Suffragists, many of whom were political opponents of Mr. Russell and held strong views on the Necessity of Protection of Trade and person, a manuscript which was almost ready for the press was fortunately saved from the flames on the occasion when a body of eager champions of the Sacredness of Personal Property burnt the late Mr. Russell’s house. This manuscript, together with some further fragments found in the late Mr. Russell’s own interleaved copy of his Prayer-Book of Free Man’s Worship, which was fortunately rescued with a few of the great author’s other belongings, was first given to the world in the Monist for October 1911 and January 1916, and has here been arranged and completed by some other hitherto undecipherable manuscripts. The title of the above-mentioned Prayer-Book, it may perhaps be mentioned, was apparently suggested to Mr. Russell by that of the Essay on “The Free Man’s Worship” in the Philosophical Essays (London, 1910, pp. 59-70) of Mr. Russell’s distinguished contemporary, Mr. Bertrand Russell, from whom much of Mr. Russell’s philosophy was derived. And, indeed, the influence of Mr. Russell extended even beyond philosophical views to arrangement and literary style. The method of arrangement of the present work seems to have been borrowed from Mr. Russell’s Philosophy of Leibniz of 1900; in the selection of subjects dealt with, Mr. Russell seems to have been guided by Mr. Russell’s Principles of Mathematics of 1903; while Mr. Russell’s literary style fortunately reminds us more of Mr. Russell’s later clear and charming subtleties than his earlier brilliant and no less subtle obscurities. But, on the other hand, some important points of Mr. Russell’s doctrine, which first appeared in books published after Mr. Russell’s death, were anticipated in Mr. Russell’s notes, and these anticipations, so interesting for future historians of philosophy, have been provided by the editor with references to the later works of Mr. Russell. All editorial notes are enclosed in square brackets, to indicate that they were not written by the late Mr. Russell.
At the present time we have come to take a calm view of the question so much debated seven years ago as to the legitimacy of logical arguments in political discussions. No longer, fortunately, can that intense feeling be roused which then found expression in the famous cry, “Justice--right or wrong,” and which played such a large part in the politics of that time. Thus it will not be out of place in this unimpassioned record of some of the truths and errors in the world to refer briefly to Mr. Russell’s short and stormy career. Before he was torn to pieces, he had been forbidden to lecture on philosophy or mathematics by some well-intentioned advocates of freedom in speech who thought that the cause of freedom might be endangered by allowing Mr. Russell to speak freely on points of logic, on the grounds, apparently, that logic is both harmful and unnecessary and might be applied to politics unless strong measures were taken for its suppression. On much the same grounds, his liberty was taken from him by those who remarked that, if necessary, they would die in defence of the sacred principle of liberty; and it was in prison that the greater part of the present work was written. Shortly after his liberation, which, like all actions of public bodies, was brought about by the combined honour and interests of those in authority, occurred his lamentable death to which we have referred above.
Mr. Russell maintained that the chief use of “implication” in politics is to draw conclusions, which are thought to be true, and which are consequently false, from identical propositions, and we can see these views expressed in Chapters 3 and 19 of the present work. These chapters were apparently written before the Government, in the spring of 1910, arrived at the famous secret decision that only “certain implications” are permitted in discussion. Naturally the secret decision gave rise to much speculation among logicians as to which kinds of implication were barred, and Mr. Russell and Mr. Bertrand Russell had many arguments on the subject, which naturally could not be published at the time. However, after Mr. Russell’s death, successive prosecutions which were made by the Government at last made it quite clear that the opinion held by Mr. Russell was the correct one. There had been numerous prosecutions of people who, from true but not identical premisses, had deduced true conclusions, so that the possible legitimate forms of “implication” were reduced. Further, the other doubtful ... continued...
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