"The Problems of Philosophy" Essay by Professor Victor Verb

"The Problems of Philosophy"
This paper discusses "The Problems of Philosophy" by Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), widely regarded as one of the great philosophers of the 20th century.
# 61256 | 1,415 words | 5 sources | APA | 2004 | US
Published on Sep 24, 2005 in Philosophy (Science) , Philosophy (Epistemology)

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This paper explains that Bertram Russell is considered the founder of analytic philosophy, the tradition dominating 20th century Anglo-American philosophy. He is know for his writings in the fields of epistemology, logic, the foundations of mathematics, ethics, political and social philosophy, the philosophy of science and antiwar. The author points out that Russell in Chapter V of "The Problems of Philosophy" emphasizes that the knowledge of things is comprised of two components: (1) "Knowledge of Acquaintance" wherein the person is knows directly through his or her acquaintance with the object, without the intermediary of any process of inference or any knowledge of truths and (2) "Knowledge by Description" wherein, similar to Plato's "Forms" analysis, the person knows a description and knows that there is just one object to which this description applies. The paper relates that Russell states that people process information in different ways, but everyone must use the same fundamental steps to arrive at an accurate perception of the world and to understand it.

Table of Contents
Review and Discussion
Background and Overview
Knowledge of Acquaintance
Knowledge by Description
Evaluation and Critique of Russell's Position and Arguments

From the Paper:

"Russell was not trying to develop a comprehensive definition of his ideas about how and why people think about the world in the ways they do; rather, he was attempting - to borrow a phrase from the academicians - operationalize the terms involved in understanding. Certainly, in order to understand the subtle nuances of how people think about "things," "ideas," and "truths," there must be some solid basis for describing the components involved. For instance, Russell sums up Chapter V by pointing out that "We shall not at this stage attempt to answer all the objections which may be urged against this fundamental principle. For the present, we shall merely point out that, in some way or other, it must be possible to meet these objections, for it is scarcely conceivable that we can make a judgment or entertain a supposition without knowing what it is that we are judging or supposing about.""

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