Chapter 6. "Enlargement of Self" by Bertrand Russell

Table of Contents
Ideas of Interest From Russell's Problems of Philosophy
The Reading Selection from Problems of Philosophy
Related Ideas
Topics Worth Investigating

Bertrand Russell, University of St. Andrews

About the author…

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) may well be considered the most influential British philosopher of the twentieth century. Early in his career, because of his pacifist activities, he was dismissed from Trinity College, Cambridge. Subsequently, he supported himself by public lecturing and continued to write in many different fields of philosophy. Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature "in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought."

About the work…

In this short reading selection, Russell concludes his Problems of Philosophy,[1] an early work introducing philosophical inquiry. He thoughtfully summarizes many uses of philosophy. The depth of the thinking evident here will probably only be evident after careful re-reading. Philosophy is not just another academic subject along side the others, instead philosophy is the systematic inquiry into the presuppositions of any field of study. Often philosophical wonderings form the historical genesis of those disciplines.

Ideas of Interest From Russell's Problems of Philosophy

  1. How would you describe Russell's practical person?

  2. Why not live one's life as a practical person?

  3. What are the goals of philosophy?

  4. What does Russell think is the central value of philosophical inquiry?

  5. Characterize the instinctive individual.

  6. What is "enlargement of self"?

  7. How does philosophical thinking relate to living and acting in the world? Suggest some examples.



Bertrand Russell. Problems of Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1912.