"The value of philosophy is . . . to be sought largely in its very uncertainty. The man who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned in the prejudices derived from common sense, from the habitual beliefs of his age or his nation, and from convictions which have grown up in his mind without the co-operation or consent of his deliberate reason. To such a man the world tends to become definite, finite, obvious; common objects rouse no questions, and unfamiliar possibilities are contemptuously rejected. As soon as we begin to philosophize, on the contrary, we find . . . that even the most everyday things lead to problems to which only very incomplete answers can be given. Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom. Thus, while diminishing our feeling of certainty as to what things are, it greatly increases our knowledge as to what they may be; it removes the somewhat arrogant dogmatism of those who have never travelled into the region of liberating doubt, and it keeps alive our sense of wonder by showing familiar things in an unfamiliar aspect." Bertrand Russell: The Problems of Philosophy, p. 157

Bertrand Russell

A web page by Alan Nicoll

It was Bertrand Russell's Unpopular Essays collection that first got me interested in philosophy thirty years ago, and I've never regretted it. He has remained in the top three of "my favorite philosophers" ever since (the other two are probably Walter Kaufmann and Henry Thoreau).

Here's my tiny, tiny Bertrand Russell collection. The only "unique" item is my selection of quotes from the works of Russell.

A young Bertrand Russell

A small collection of Russell links: