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“THE EMOTIONAL FACTOR” BY BERTRAND RUSSELL”

Bertrand Russell’s life:

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Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell Born on May 18, 1872 on Trellech Monmouthshire, Wales. His parents, Viscount and Viscountess Amberley, are an influential and liberal family of the British aristocracy. His father, Amberley is known for his unorthodox views on religion and for his active support of birth control and women's suffrage, which contributed to the end of his short career as Liberal Member of Parliament. Born at the height of Britain’s economic and political ascendancy, he died of influenza nearly a century later when the British Empire had all but vanished; its Power dissipated in two victorious, but debilitating world wars. As one of the world's best-known intellectuals, Russell's voice carried enormous moral authority, even into his early 90s. Among his other political activities, Russell was a vigorous proponent of nuclear disarmament and an outspoken critic of the American war in Vietnam. Russell's adolescence was very lonely, and he often contemplated suicide. He was not born happy" This is how Bertrand Russell characterized his early years. It is perhaps not surprising that he should say this, having lost his mother when he was two, his father, two years later, and his grandfather two years after that. Already at age five, he reported, He remarked in his autobiography that his keenest interests were in sex, religion and mathematics, and that only the wish to know more mathematics kept him from suicide. He was educated at home by a series of tutors, and he spent countless hours in his grandfather's library. His brother Frank introduced him to Euclid, which transformed Russell's life. He studied in Trinity College, Cambridge. He became a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. Russell began his published work in 1896 with German Social Democracy, a study in politics that was an early indication of a lifelong interest in political and social theory. In 1896 he taught German Social Democracy at the London School of Economics, where he also lectured on the science of Power in the autumn of 1937. Also, Russell became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1908. The first of three volumes of Principia Mathematica (written with Whitehead) was published in 1910, which (along with the earlier The Principles of Mathematics) soon made Russell world famous in his field. He is also a prominent anti-war activist and was imprisoned twice by british government. During the First World War, Russell engaged in pacifist activities, and in 1916 he was dismissed from Trinity College following his conviction under the Defence of the Realm Act. A later conviction resulted in six months' imprisonment in Brixton prison. He led British”revolt against idealism” in philosophy, idealism is the group of philosophies which assert that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. Together

with G. E. Moore, they broke themselves free from British Idealism which, for nearly 90
years, had dominated British philosophy. Russell would later recall in "My Mental Development" that "with a sense of escaping from prison, we allowed ourselves to think that grass is green, that the sun and stars would exist if no one was aware of them ..."— Russell B He was generally recognized as one of the founders of analytic philosophy.

Analytical Philosophy - A broad philosophical traditioncharacterized by an emphasis on clarity and argument (often achieved via modern formal logic and analysis oflanguage) and a respect for the natural sciences. Together with Moore, they strove to eliminate what they saw as meaningless and incoherent assertions in philosophy, and they sought clarity and precision in argument by the use of exact language and by breaking down philosophical propositions into their simplest components. Russell, in particular, saw logic and science as the principal tools of the philosopher. Indeed, unlike most philosophers who preceded him and his early contemporaries, Russell did not believe there was a separate method for philosophy. He believed that the main task of the philosopher was to illuminate the most general propositions about the world and to eliminate confusion. In particular, he wanted to end what he saw as the excesses of metaphysics. In his 1949 speech, "Am I an Atheist or an Agnostic?", Russell expressed his difficulty over whether to call himself an atheist or an agnostic: "As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one prove that there is not a God. On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think that I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because, when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods." - Bertrand Russell

References:
http://www.biblio.com/bertrand-russell/author/130 http://digitalcommons.mcmaster.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1266&context=russelljournal http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertrand_Russell

THE EMOTIONAL FACTOR.  Russell believes that religion is accepted on emotional terms. Russell said that men do not accept religion as a result of intellectual argument; rather, they adopt it on “emotional grounds” Many people believe that religion makes people virtuous. That is why it is a very wrong thing to attack religion. Samuel Butler's book Erewhon Revisted is a parody of this argument. The basic idea of the book is that a man, Higgs, visits Erewhon and then leaves via hot-air

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balloon. Higgs then revisits Erewhon and finds that the people of Erewhon have started a religion based on him. He tells two priests that he intends to expose this fraudulent religion. But they convince him that all the society's morals and values revolve around their belief and without this belief, their society would crumble and the people would become wicked. He is convinced and goes quietly away without exposing the bogus religion. He finds the exact opposite of the aforementioned argument to be true. In other words, those who adhere to the Christian faith are more likely to be made wicked by their religion. Russel states in the essay "You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs. In the so-called ages of faith, when men really did believe the Christian religion in all its completeness, there was the Inquisition, with its tortures; there were millions of unfortunate women burned as witches; and there was every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion." More intense the religion, the greater has been the cruelty. Everytime society tries to make our world more humane the organized churches have been opposed to it. He believes that the Christian religion is the "principal enemy of moral progress in the world." Morality inflicts upon all sorts of suffering. The object of morals is not to make people happy. Religion is based mainly upon fear. It is partly terror of the unknown, and partly the wish to have an elder brother. Fear is the basis of the whole thing -- Fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, and fear of death. Cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand because fear is the basis of those things. Science can help us in understanding the world today, which has forced its way against the Christian religion. Our own hearts can also teach us and make us look our own efforts here in this world to make it a fit place to live in. We want to stand upon our own feet and look fair and square at the world and be not afraid of it. Conquer it, and not be subdued from the terror of it. Whole conception of God is a conception derived from the ancient oriental despotisms, a conception which is unworthy of free men. A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men. The world needs hope for the future, not looking back at the past which is dead which we trust will be far surpassed by the future that intelligence can create.