'Is there any knowledge in the world which is so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it?'
Philosophy is the attempt to answer such ultimate questions, not carelessly and dogmatically, as we might deal with them in ordinary life, but critically, after analysing how and why the questions arise and clarifying the assumptions and concepts on which they are based.
This classic work, first published in 1912, has never been supplanted as an approachable introduction to the theory of philosophical enquiry. It gives Russell's views on such subjects as the distinction between appearance and reality, the existence and nature of matter, idealism, knowledge by acquaintance and by description, induction, and the limits and value of philosophical knowledge.
This edition includes an introduction by John Skorupski contextualizing Russell's work, and a guide to further reading.
Bertrand Russell was one of the most important philosophers of the twentieth century. His primary interest was in the foundations of mathematics, and his three-volume Principia Mathematica (written with Alfred North Whitehead) is the classic attempt to carry out the programme of deriving the whole of mathematics from a set of simple, self-evident truths. He also wrote widely on other areas of philosophy, and published a large number of writings on social and moral issues. John Skorupski is Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of St Andrews, and author of English-Language Philosophy 1750-1945 (1993) and John Stuart Mill (1989).
Introduction ; Preface ; 1. Appearance and Reality ; 2. The Existence of Matter ; 3. The Nature of Matter ; 4. Idealism ; 5. Knowledge by Acquaintance and Knowledge by Description ; 6. On Induction ; 7. On Our Knowledge of General Principles ; 8. How A Priori Knowledge is Possible ; 9. The World of Universals ; 10. On Our Knowledge of Universals ; 11. On Intuitive Knowledge ; 12. Truth and Falsehood ; 13. Knowledge, Error, and Probable Opinion ; 14. The Limits of Philosophical Knowledge ; 15. The Value of Philosophy ; Bibliographical Note ; Appendix: Foreword to the German Edition ; Guide to Further Reading