The Problems of Philosophy


In the chapter on appearance and reality, Russell starts with a simple question "what do we know for sure?" and surveys his immediate surroundings. His approach to philosophy is very accessible. Such question are of such a type that any one might ask. As he says at the end of the chapter:

Philosophy, if it cannot answer so many questions as we could wish, has at least the power of asking questions which increase the interest of the world, and show the strangeness and wonder lying just below the surface even in the commonest things of daily life.

From the summary:

First we must know what we mean by knowledge

Kind of a circular situation, eh?

Russell is a principle proponent of analytic philosophy. In 20th century western philosophy, the analytic tradition is contrasted by the existential movement. Significant thinkers in the existential tradition in chronological order (by date of their published works) are:

  1. Søren Kierkegaard
  2. Friedrich Nietzsche
  3. Nikolai Berdyaev
  4. Martin Buber
  5. Martin Heidegger
  6. Karl Jaspers
  7. Jean-Paul Sartre
  8. Gabriel Marcel
  9. Maurice Merleau-Ponty
  10.  ?? (Does it stop there? Foucault, Derrida are in that tradition,but not called existentialist)

Is the division of analytic and existential a useful one?