bertrand Russellquotes

1872 - 1970

Photograph of Bertrand RussellWinner of the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize in Literature, Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), philosopher and mathematician, wrote, incredibly, a total of 70 books and over 2,000 articles in his 98-year lifespan. Gifted with the ability to write about difficult philosophical and mathematical topics in a language accessible to the layperson, Russell inspired readers with his passion and insight.

Orphaned at age 3, Russell was raised by his grandmother and schooled at home by governesses and tutors. He perfected French and German, and called Euclidean geometry his “first love.” At Trinity College, he earned degrees in both Mathematics and the Moral Sciences. He combined both passions in an attempt to discover a way to prove that truth was immutable and eternal. Initially, Russell argued for a metaphysical idealism in his works, but later on abandoned that theory for analytic philosophy.

After being fired from his position at Trinity College for campaigning against conscription during WWI, and jailed for six months by the British government, Russell found journalism and freelance writing more to his taste and carved a name for himself as an anti-war activist. Later, he campaigned against nuclear weapons and the Vietnam War, which led the British judiciary system to jail him again at the age of 89.

His extensive writing on social, political and moral issues granted him popularity in his day as a writer, but his contributions to logic and the philosophy of mathematics earned him the respect of generations to come as one of the foremost philosophers of the 20th century.