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Fact and Fiction (Routledge Classics) Paperback – 1 Sep 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (1 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415487323
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415487320
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,674,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970). A celebrated mathematician and logician, Russell was and remains one of the most genuinely widely read and popular philosophers of modern times.

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By Luc REYNAERT TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 May 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Besides literary reviews (Shelley, Turgenev, Ibsen, Swift), B. Russell tackles in these short comments the crucial problems of our world: freedom, power, science, war and peace, truth or the real nature of mankind.

Political, economic and mental freedom
Holders of power, always and everywhere, are indifferent to the good or evil of those who have no power, except in so far as they are restrained by fear. Therefore, mankind needs democracy in order to break the monopoly of political power. Liberty cannot be secured without democratic elections. But within democracy, there should be tolerance against minorities cemented in laws.
Economic freedom doesn't mean `laissez-faire'. It consists in freeing man from economic compulsion. If a man is law-abiding and willing to work, he must not be allowed to starve. Laissez-faire cannot secure this result.
Mental freedom means freedom of opinion, free discussion, free inquiry and free speculation. Education should promote the courage of dissent and free inquiry, and should combat the forces of militant ignorance.

Science
Science in itself is ethically neutral. It confers power, but for evil as much as for good. It has always had an intimate and sinister connection with war. If one wishes to exterminate the human race, it will show one how to do it. But, if Pythagoras, Galileo and James Watt had not existed, daily life would be profoundly different from what it is.

War and peace
Militarists have often been able to achieve their aims. History is a long series of imperialist conquests. Today, some who profess democracy admit that total war might end in total death. They are prepared to see the human race destroy itself rather than forgo the pleasures of fanaticism.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8b9eb0a8) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b79630c) out of 5 stars A superb collection of essays 26 July 2000
By Viraga - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Bertrand Russell often gathered essays he thought would have lasting value, and published them as collections. This book not only has essays, but the text of talks he gave on the BBC. The topics are wide and disparate. He begins with books (and their authors) that made a deep impression on him while he was in his formative years. Then follow essays on politics, starting off with "What is Freedom?" and "What is Democracy?" -- two basic questions that many people don't even think about. The "Divertissement" section contains pieces of fiction. Russell stated that he found fiction a useful medium to express ideas he half-believed in, but had no firm grounds for belief. The last section is on "Peace and War," and includes the famous Vienna and Manchester addresses on nuclear bombs. His style is incisive and pithy as usual. If you like Russell, you should not miss reading this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b7d8e10) out of 5 stars Magna est veritas 11 May 2011
By Luc REYNAERT - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Besides literary reviews (Shelley, Turgenev, Ibsen, Swift), B. Russell tackles in these short comments the crucial problems of our world: freedom, power, science, war and peace, truth or the real nature of mankind.

Political, economic and mental freedom
Holders of power, always and everywhere, are indifferent to the good or evil of those who have no power, except in so far as they are restrained by fear. Therefore, mankind needs democracy in order to break the monopoly of political power. Liberty cannot be secured without democratic elections. But within democracy, there should be tolerance against minorities cemented in laws.
Economic freedom doesn't mean `laissez-faire'. It consists in freeing man from economic compulsion. If a man is law-abiding and willing to work, he must not be allowed to starve. Laissez-faire cannot secure this result.
Mental freedom means freedom of opinion, free discussion, free inquiry and free speculation. Education should promote the courage of dissent and free inquiry, and should combat the forces of militant ignorance.

Science
Science in itself is ethically neutral. It confers power, but for evil as much as for good. It has always had an intimate and sinister connection with war. If one wishes to exterminate the human race, it will show one how to do it. But, if Pythagoras, Galileo and James Watt had not existed, daily life would be profoundly different from what it is.

War and peace
Militarists have often been able to achieve their aims. History is a long series of imperialist conquests. Today, some who profess democracy admit that total war might end in total death. They are prepared to see the human race destroy itself rather than forgo the pleasures of fanaticism.
But, wouldn't it be better, instead of producing heaps of weapons of mass destruction, to lessen the load of poverty and malnutrition and to invest in real innovations in order to make the world happier?

Mankind and hope
Mankind descends from progenitors who exterminated their enemies, occupied their lands and grew rich. Man's most effective ferocity is directed against his own species.
But, B. Russell never lost hope: mankind can prosper and create a happy world, but only by unswerving courage in the pursuit of the truth, his shining goddess.

Dangerous idea
B. Russell wants to install a world government with a monopoly for all armed forces.
As K. Jaspers has said, `a world government with centralized power over the whole globe, holding the monopoly of all means of violence unchecked and uncontrolled by other sovereign powers, is not only a nightmare of tyranny, but also the end of all political life.'

This formidable book, written by a superb free and independent mind, contains also incisive sarcastic satires and brilliant parables.
A must read, certainly for all B. Russell fans.
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