Writers

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Bertrand Russell

1872-1970

Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970) was a British polymath, philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, social critic, political activist, and Nobel laureate. Russell was born into the British aristocracy. His mother died when he was 2 and his father 2 years later. From then his paternal grandmother had the primary care of the child. Throughout his life, Russell considered himself a liberal, a socialist and a pacifist, although he sometimes suggested that his sceptical nature had led him to feel that he had "never been any of these things, in any profound sense". He is considered one of the founders of analytic philosophy along with his predecessor Gottlob Frege, colleague G. E. Moore and protégé Ludwig Wittgenstein. He is widely held to be one of the 20th century's premier logicians. With A. N. Whitehead he wrote Principia Mathematica, an attempt to create a logical basis for mathematics, the quintessential work of classical logic. His philosophical essay "On Denoting" has been considered a "paradigm of philosophy". His work has had a considerable influence on mathematics, logic, set theory, linguistics, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science (see type theory and type system) and philosophy, especially the philosophy of language, epistemology and metaphysics. Russell was a prominent anti-war activist, championed anti-imperialism, and chaired the India League.