Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell.” as Want to Read:
The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell.
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell.

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  401 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Few philosophers have had a more profound influence on the course of modern philosophy than Bertrand Russell. The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell is a comprehensive anthology of Russell's most definitive essays written between 1903 and 1959. First published in 1961, this remarkable collection is a testament to a philosopher whom many consider to be one of the most influ ...more
Paperback, 781 pages
Published February 20th 2009 by Routledge (first published 1959)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell., please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Vikas Lather
Jun 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Most important philosopher of the Twentieth Century
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Awesome collection of Bertrand Russell's essays, showcasing his incredible diversity of thought and interests. Political philosophy, economics, international diplomacy, science, history of philosophy, morality, religion and spirituality, mathematics, logic, etc etc, all of these are showcased in this collection. I'd only read an essay of his here an essay of his there before, so this was a wonderful deep dive into his works.

Obviously in a collection of essays there will be some that are better
David Withun
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Bertrand Russell was undoubtedly one of the greatest minds of the 20th century. It is a shame that his is not a household name, nor nearly as readily recognizable to the average layman as are those numerous lesser thinkers like Freud. That is an oversight, however, that is still correctable, at this short distance in time from the end of Russell's remarkable life. And this book, a sort of "best of" of Russell's long career, is a wonderful place to begin that corrective.

Herein are some of Russell
Bertrand Russell is perhaps my favourite thinker and writer of all time. Funny, erudite, brief, honest, so very knowledgeable, so very reasonable, and inquisitive about all the right stuff. You can follow him more or less in this book up from the foundations - logic and maths, philosophy, ethics, education and finally (sadly, but nobly) politics. Some people say beware of Russell's writings - especially the History of Western Philosophy - they're full of bias. Well I feel all the richer for seei ...more
Aristotle, in spite of his reputation, is full of absurdities. He says that children should be conceived in the Winter, when the wind is in the North, and that if people marry too young the children will be female. He tells us that the blood of females is blacker then that of males; that the pig is the only animal liable to measles; that an elephant suffering from insomnia should have its shoulders rubbed with salt, olive-oil, and warm water; that women have fewer teeth than men, and so on. Neve ...more
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The mathematician who wins the Nobel Prize in literature. His writing is unique. He's the Hemingway of prose; keeps it simple, logical, and with the purpose of education for those not interested in wordy philosophical wind. Easy reading, frequently enlightening, and often very sly and witty. This collection is topically separated, and 800 pages long. Fun for casually picking through like a magazine. I prefer whole, unabridged books, but it's nice to have a giant paperweight/doorstop/boat anchor/ ...more
Introduction by John G. Slater
Preface by Bertrand Russell
Introduction by the Editors
Epigrammatic Insights from the pen of Russell
Chronological List of Russell's Principle Works
Chronology of the Life of Bertrand Russell
Some Thoughts about Bertrand Russell

Autobiographical Asides
--My Religious Reminiscences
--My Mental Development
--Adaptation: An Autobiographical Epitome
--Why I Took to Philosophy

The Nobel Prize Winning Man of Letters (Essayist and Short Story Writer)
--How I Write
Augusto Barros
Aug 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read it all, it's more like a good reference and quotes source when you are looking for a smart and reasonable way of looking into our biggest issues. Bertrand Russell was certainly one of the greatest minds of the last century.
Jihad Lahham
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
while i did not get into "logic" or "principia mathematica", i loved everything in this book. it's a big book and a heavy read but it's broken down in sections which makes it easier to read over a long period of time.
Erik Hoel
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many of the sections were not as long as I would have liked, but as an lifelong overview of the author's work/thought, in the author's own words, it is perfect.
Marko Zbodulja
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Amazing collection of essays and nice introduction to the work of Bertrand Russell, one of my greatest heroes.
Aug 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
favorite section of the book was "an outline of intellectual rubbish".
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading some of Russell's essays. He wrote in an understandable language though his thinking is at a great depth of reasoning.
May 05, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good old common of the most important thinkers of the 20th century...
Jackson Cyril
If for no other reason, one should read Russell to learn how to write with immense wit and enjoyment without abandoning depth of thought: a must-read for all aspiring writers.
Dozy Pilchard
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great anthology, except my edition has no index which makes it less useful than it would otherwise be for research.
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Russell, as a free thinker revolutionized modern philosophy. Using logic and reason rather than faith and dogma, in all his arguments he strips away the idea of faith.
Brian Pinnock
Sep 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well worth the read. A controversial but hugely intelligent figure.
Sarah Hyder
May 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An impressive compendium of short essays from one of my favourite thinkers from the 20th century.
Dec 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a useful collection of Russell's influential pieces on a variety of topics.
I am not qualified to comment authoritatively on this collection besides stating that I greatly admire Russell's intellect, reason, and deep humanism. I came to Russell originally through his thoughts on religion, and I still enjoyed those parts most in addition to his political insights.

There was a time when, despite not particularly caring for them, I would have tenaciously delved into the matters he broaches on language, logic, mathematics and physics. At this point in my reading life, howev
David J. Heffner
rated it really liked it
Sep 21, 2014
Tan Ray
rated it it was amazing
Jul 07, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Aug 12, 2012
Oli Harris
rated it it was amazing
Jan 28, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Aug 21, 2013
James Steele
rated it really liked it
Jan 02, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Feb 10, 2016
خالد  حاتم
rated it really liked it
Oct 28, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Jun 14, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Philosophy of Language
  • The Basic Writings: On Liberty/The Subjection of Women/Utilitarianism
  • The Mysterious Flame: Conscious Minds In A Material World
  • Selected Essays
  • Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge
  • Atheism: A Philosophical Justification
  • Major Works: Selected Philosophical Writings
  • Mind: A Brief Introduction
  • Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and Its Influence on Modern Morals and Happiness
  • The Passover Plot
  • A History of Philosophy, Volume 2: Medieval Philosophy, from Augustine to Duns Scotus
  • The Rationalists: Descartes: Discourse on Method & Meditations; Spinoza: Ethics; Leibniz: Monadology & Discourse on Metaphysics
  • The Imaginary
  • Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth: Philosophical Papers (Philosophical Papers (Cambridge)) (Volume 1)
  • The Oxford Companion to Philosophy
  • The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers
  • A Brief History of Western Philosophy
  • The Collapse of the Fact/Value Dichotomy and Other Essays
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS, was a Welsh philosopher, historian, logician, mathematician, advocate for social reform, pacifist, and prominent rationalist. Although he was usually regarded as English, as he spent the majority of his life in England, he was born in Wales, where he also died.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950 "in recognition of his var
More about Bertrand Russell...
“The whole conception of 'sin' is one which I find very puzzling, doubtless owing to my sinful nature.” 3 likes
“Of all the studies by which men acquire citizenship of the intellectual commonwealth, no single one is so indispensable as the study of the past.” 3 likes
More quotes…