My Philosophical Development by Bertrand Russell

I am reading a wonderful book called My Philosophical Development by Bertrand Russell – I picked up a 1959 first edition in a wonderful second hand bookshop, Trinity Books in Carrick On Shannon.  This is like a beginners guide to Russell by himself and, in it he traces his thinking down through the years.There is a particularly poignant section where Russell reproduces copies of his notes from his teenage years.  He writes (p280): Just before and just after my 16th birthday, I wrote down my beliefs and unbeliefs, using Greek letters and phonetic spelling for the purposes of concealment.What Russell was at pains to conceal at this young age were his doubts about religion and the existence of God.   What troubled him was not necessarily the social consequences but rather, the intellectual consequences.Here is is entry of April 29th 1988: In all things I have made a vow to follow reason, not the instincts inherited partly from my ancestors and gained gradually by selection and partly due to my education.  How absurd it would be to follow these in the questions of right and wrong.  For as I observed before, the inherited part can only be principles leading to the Read More …