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The Problems of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell

Discussion in 'Books About Cults and Extracting Oneself from Coer' started by petal, May 30, 2013.

  1. petal

    petal Patron Meritorious

    This the book I am reading now. It is an easy read in to the proofs, belief and ideas of philosophy.
    It is free on the gutenberg website:

    Last edited: May 30, 2013
  2. Gadfly

    Gadfly Crusader

    It is a great book.

    Coincidentally, I picked my copy up this morning and read (again) the first chapter.

    It is open in front of me, and I am just now setting off to sit down and spend the rest of the afternoon reading it.

    I have a goal to finally, once and for all, tackle philosophy, but to do so I will have to read about ALL of them, right from the start up until now (or at least the major figures and ideas).

    I also pulled out my copy of, "A History of Western Philosophy", by Russell, and my plan is to study it (again), and finally, this time around, GET every idea mentioned. I have about 100 philosophy books on my shelves - most of key authors and ideas. Sadly, while I have read many, for the life of me I cannot recall details, thought no doubt I did absorb MANY different notions along the way.

    I feel that until I do so, study this stuff seriously, that my intellect will not be sufficiently "exercised" nor properly developed. :confused2:

    I have read quite a few books by Russell over the years and I found him to be quite understandable, and yet unique.

    Why I am Not a Christian is also a great read of his. Almost as funny as reading Crowley's autobiography (where he talks quite a great deal about what he dislikes about Christianity and Christians - especially the endless hypocrisy of many of its advocates).
  3. Gadfly

    Gadfly Crusader

    This is the first line of the book:

    Is there any knowledge in the world which is so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it?

    Interestingly, the key problem of philosophy is immediately tied to this thing called "certainty".

    I find it interesting that for most people they need or want to be "certain". Scientology sells "certainty". Personally, I think "certainty" is overrated and somewhat of a delusion. But many people strive very HARD for it.

    But as Mr. Russell goes onto say in this book and elsewhere, certainty is not so easily gained, not without compromise and illusions.

    A Scientologist, and many other ideologues would well benefit by a careful reading of this paragraph (along with the rest of Bertrand's book):

    "This question, which at first sight might not seem difficult, is really one of the most difficult that can be asked. When we have realized the obstacles in the way of a straightforward and confident answer, we shall be well launched on the study of philosophy - for philosophy is merely the attempt to answer such ultimate questions, not carelessly and dogmatically, as we do in ordinary life and even in the sciences, but critically, after exploring all that makes such questions puzzling, and after realizing all the vagueness and confusion that underlie our ordinary ideas."

    Of course, most Scientologists wouldn't even continue with the book because it aims to answer such ultimate questions CRITICALLY, and NOT carelessly or dogmatically. Hubbard made sure to set up Scientology so that critical analysis was forbidden, and that dogma ruled. In a very real sense, REAL philosophy and Scientology are mutually exclusive.
  4. petal

    petal Patron Meritorious

    Dear Gadfly:
    I find this book very interesting! It seems that philosophy starts with an idea and then asks: “how do you know” that idea is certain. Russell gives a structure or progression of ideas made from different philosophers through time whom put their arguments to the same problems/ideas that earlier philosophers have worked on and the subject progresses with work built on the previous ideas.
    If I make a summary of what I read:
    Russell gives the idea that he has a table in the room he is in. he can perceive the table with his senses: sight, touch, etc. That gives him certainty that the table exists.
    If he leaves the room is the table still there? He cannot perceive the table and therefore it does not exist (this is the idea put forward by Bishop Berkeley (1685-1753)). So for you if one cannot perceive something it does not exist(Idealism)! I imagine a bubble with you in it walking around in it and the only things that exist are the things one can perceive with the body. Outside of the bubble nothing exists. Are you creating the things in this bubble for your senses to perceive? Anyway, I digress.
    Having left the room possibly the table is still there even that you cannot perceive it any more. This is come to be known as matter. If this matter does exist,Berkeley says that it is the minds of others or the mind of God. As one cannot perceive it oneself any more it does not exist for you.
    Along comes Descartes and doubts everything and comes to a conclusion that the only thing one can be certain of that exists is oneself.
    And so on…!
    So there is:
    perceiving with body senses,
    perceiving matter - the minds of others or god,
    perceiving oneself(self awareness),
    creating one’s mind,
    And from accessing these states one gains or has certainty to a degree with agreement or disagreement between them.
    Note: by the fifth chapter I was a bit lost! A MU? Possibly as the subject has many new words added to it to describe ideas, concepts and theories. Any way I would end-up rewriting the whole book in my ideas and it is better to read the book itself. And have one’s own considerations.

  5. Gadfly

    Gadfly Crusader

    I finished it yesterday. I will have more to say about it later (but I have to go out and cut the grass before it starts raining).

    Here are some comments on it:

    Gadfly's Philosophical Ramblings
  6. petal

    petal Patron Meritorious

    Dear, Gadfly:
    I read your link and it seems that you have the same understandings of the book as me.
    I will read the whole thread/post and answer some of the ideas.