On this day in 1872 author, philosopher, social critic and political activist Bertrand Russell was born in Monmouthshire, England. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950 and was the author of over three dozen books. His works have influenced the fields of mathematics, philosophy, linguistics, artificial intelligence, epistemology and metaphysics.
Russell was born into an aristocratic family; in fact his godparent was John Stuart Mill. Russell attended Trinity College on scholarship and began publishing in 1896. In 1905 he wrote and published one of his most influential books, “On Denoting”.
When World War I broke out he was dismissed from Trinity College for his anti-war stance. He would be part of the Leeds Convention in 1917 as a member of the Independence Labor Party. In 1920 he traveled to Russia and met with Vladimir Lenin to discuss the affects of the Russian Revolution. As war spread across Europe Russell took a different viewpoint than he had with the previous war feeling the threat of Hitler was worse than the threat of another world war. In 1945 Russell published the “History of Western Philosophy” which became a huge bestseller and funded his work until his death.
His political activism continued and in 1961 at the age of 89 he was sentenced to 7 days in jail for his part in an anti-nuclear demonstration in London. In 1970 he passed away on February 2nd from influenza.
Very few people have had as much of an impact on thought and logic as Bertrand Russell. He is probably one of the most fascinating people you could ever read about and we encourage you to check out his books and those written about him.