[lit-ideas] Re: Which thinker/writer had the greatest personality defects?

  • From: Paul Stone <pas@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 06 May 2004 10:23:40 -0400

At 09:55 AM 5/6/2004, you wrote:
>Of course, as usual I suggest the greatest is Popper, though here
>Wittgenstein arguably runs him a very close second.
>For example, Popper's long-time friend and writer of the best-selling
>introduction to his ideas, Bryan Magee fondly recalls Popper in these=
><Magee, who knew Popper and wrote a book about him in 1973, describes him=
>"a major philosopher but not really a very likeable man. I hugely valued my
>relationship with him, but to be honest I never really liked him." Instead
>Magee picks out Bertrand Russell as the most impressive individual he met,
>"because of his extraordinary intelligence. Anything you say about it will
>sound like a clich=E9, but it was extraordinary.">

I agree about Russell and I've read many of his books. He had a great gift=
to make difficult things sound not so difficult. But as far as philosophy,=
was he really a philosopher? Or a philosophologist? I mean, can you point=20
to a "Russellian" Philosophy? What's his deal? He explained everyone else.=
He was a great historian. He even had ideas that he wrote about. He was a=20
great scientist. He proposed incredibly interesting ideas, but it all seems=
to be in the wake of other people and always within the context of other=20

Maybe it's just that he lived to 98 and was such a prolific author of=20
'other' stuff that I seem to have lost sight of his original purpose. Even=
his central work "Principia Mathematica" was written 'WITH' someone else.=20
Why isn't Whitehead a "great philsopher"? Well, because he didn't do all=20
the other stuff.

I'm not trying to be combative, but can someone simply put forth what=20
Bertrand Russell's "philosophy" was? He was on the boat with logicism, but=
he surely didn't invent it as much as develop it and apply it to new=20
things. And this is more science than philosophy. Anyway, I just thing he's=
listed in the wrong category as a great "philosopher"? He was definitely a=
great thinker and great man sometimes.


Paul Stone
Kingsville, ON, Canada=20

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