University of Leicester
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The contribution of philosophy to moral and political theory in the works of Bertrand Russell.

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posted on 2015-11-19, 08:49 authored by A. M. J. Dennison
In the course of his long lifetime, Bertrand Russell wrote prolifically on innumerable subjects. His philosophical work has been subjected to criticism, but his contribution to twentieth century philosophy has been fully acknowledged - indeed, Russell is often referred to as one of the greatest philosophers of our time; his moral and political theories, however, have won him considerably less acclaim in academic circles. These two branches of his work have therefore been considered, as often as not, as separate and distinct from each other. The tendency of philosophers has been to ignore all but the strictly philosophical writings; the tendency of political scientists has been to ignore the philosophy, and to concentrate on the moral and political issues which Russell tackled---often subjecting them to severe criticism. Russell himself, however, would not nave welcome either tendency; his firm belief was that these apparently separate fields of study were in fact closely linked, that they inevitably influenced each other, and that both also influenced, and were influenced by, the circumstances of the individual philosopher. The aim of this thesis has therefore been to pinpoint the links between the philosophy, and the moral and political theory, and also to examine both in the light of the circumstances of Russell's own life. By thus applying to Russell's own work his view of the reciprocal influence of these branches of study, it is hope, on the one hand, that his moral and political views have been lent philosophical justification and explanation; and on the other, that the relevance of philosophy---whether Russell's or that of others---to daily living, and its place within the context of society, has been clearly demonstrated.


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Author affiliation

College of Arts, Humanities and Law

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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