Bertrand Russell is an acknowledged philosopher and mathematician who managed to conceptualize many philosophical notions and explain them to the audience. Russell considered philosophy as the way of life and believed that it had spiritual, existential and ethical values. His famous work, The Value of Philosophy, is an interesting attempt to analyze the primary philosophical categories and explain how people can apply them in everyday life. The following paper focuses on this work, analyzing the points the author addresses with particular attention.
Bertrand Russell’s The Value of Philosophy had the most significant influence on me for a few reasons. Firstly, it is an informative work, which can serve as the guide for all the people, who want to understand the very essence of philosophy better. Secondly, in this paper Bertrand Russell provides clear and fair arguments for all the opponents who claim that this science does not have any practical use as it lacks sufficient grounds. He believes in philosophy and reflects that his opponents just fail to understand its main purpose. According to Russell, philosophy itself deals with the possession of knowledge as the vitally important aspect of human existence. Indeed, the proper understanding of the philosophical laws can facilitate human life making it more logical and clear. Undoubtedly, this science differs from the physical sciences as they have different utility, but it is equally important in human life. Whereas the physical sciences aim to bring the practical use, philosophy aims to benefit mental health, which sometimes is even more important. Thirdly, by analyzing all these points, Russell makes a powerful conclusion that people need to study philosophy not for the sake of the definite answers, but rather for questions themselves, since these questions enlarge the understanding of the possibilities of human mind. “Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom” (Russell).
Undoubtedly, people widely apply philosophy in their lives. Russell believed that “Philosophy, like all other studies, aims primarily at knowledge.” Thus, one can admit that it also has some practical use in human life. Every day people need to make the choices that are determined by the philosophical laws, since the surrounding world has many facets and hides many challenges. Naturally, everyone has reflected about the abstract notions and asked oneself philosophical questions such as “what is the purpose of human life? What is love? How to reach the inner harmony?”, etc. Indeed, every moment in our life depends on our choice that is why I find philosophy extremely useful in my self-development. By constantly trying to find the answers to philosophical questions, I became a determined and goal-oriented person. It helped me to understand the purpose of my life and do everything to reach the harmony, as it is the only way for successful development. My current state of mind totally depends on my previous experiences and by reading Russell`s The Value of Philosophy, I began to understand the essence of my deeds and choices. Besides, I opine that philosophical knowledge described by Russell determines my future goals. I can totally agree with him about the fact that philosophy helps people to be more imaginative in their intellectual pursuits. It means that the individual does not need to adhere to the dogmatic assumptions, but find one’s own way of perceiving the surrounding world and its laws. Providing the audience with some philosophical questions, Russell also says that he cannot answer them, as well as anyone else. Instead, Russell believes that proper understanding of the philosophic laws should lead the humanity to worldwide peace and personal serenity. He suggests looking from a logical point of view on the emotional issues and replacing them with logical arguments. It will help to accept the surrounding world as it is. “Philosophic contemplation does not, in its widest survey, divide the universe into two hostile camps – friends and foes, helpful and hostile, good and bad – it views the whole impartially” (Russell). Therefore, the process of discovering oneself may take months and even years, which makes philosophy unique and mysterious science.
When reading Bertrand Russell`s work, I found myself agreeing with many things that he describes. There is something in our life that exists beyond our mind but its understanding leads to meaningful discoveries. I have learned that philosophy has much in common with psychology as it focuses on discovering the human essence. What is more, philosophy helps to enrich our imagination. Understanding the philosophical laws allows us to avoid playing with our minds and speculating on our feelings. Another fact that I have learned is that philosophical science helps our mind to unite with the universe, which is the highest good. Therefore, according to Russel, people should not be afraid to face the challenges and overcome difficult barriers.
In conclusion, Bertrand Russell makes a great attempt to prove that studying philosophy is not a waste of time. On the contrary, it can benefit the human mind because this science is a foundation of human civilization. However, to understand it better, people need to free their minds from all the stereotypes saying that the man is the only the practical being. Undoubtedly, understanding all the philosophical laws is a complex process, but it gives people the way to freedom and self-development. Overall, I believe that this work should be highly recommended to everyone who wants to understand the purpose of life and its natural aspects.