cover of book

Bertrand Russell
by A. J. Ayer
University of Chicago Press, 1988
Paper: 978-0-226-03343-3

With extraordinary concision and clarity, A. J. Ayer gives an account of the major incidents of Bertrand Russell's life and an exposition of the whole range of his philosophy. "Ayer considers Russell to be, except possibly for Wittgenstein, the most influential philosopher of our time. In this book [he] gives a lucid account of Russell's philosophical achievements."—James Rachels, New York Times Book Review

"I am sure [this] is the best introduction of any length to Russell, and I suspect that it might serve as one of the best introductions to modern philosophy. . . . Ayer begins with a brief, austere, and balanced account of Russell's life: as in Russell's autobiography this means his thought, books, women, and politics. Tacitus (and Russell) would have found the account exemplary. Ayer ends with a sympathetic and surprisingly detailed survey of Russell's social philosophy. But the bulk of this book consists of a chapter on Russell's work in logic and the foundations of mathematics, followed by a chapter on his epistemological views and one on metaphysics. . . . I find it impossible to imagine that this book will not remain indefinitely the very best book of its sort."—Review of Metaphysics

"The confrontation or conjunction of Ayer and Russell is a notable event and has produced a remarkable book—brilliantly argued and written."—Martin Lebowitz, The Nation

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