A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell

A History of Western PhilosophyA History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is valuable, not only for introduction it provides into philosophy, but for the compassion and integrity with which it is presented.

Bertrand Russell writes,

“When an intelligent man expresses a view which seems to us obviously absurd, we should not attempt to prove that it is somehow true, but we should try to understand how it ever came to seem true. This exercise of historical and psychological imagination at once enlarges the scope of our thinking and helps us to realize how foolish many of our own cherished prejudices will seem to an age which has a different temper of mind.” (p. 39)

No truer words were ever spoken. (I often wish that other people would attempt to understand my point of view, as – I hope – I attempt to understand theirs, rather than just assuming I’m uninformed or misguided.) We like to think that we are superior to our predecessors, that we are the inheritors of an enlightened age – but perhaps it would be more accurate to simply say that we are inheritors.

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