Pipe Personalities - Bertrand Russell
(May 1872 – February 1970)
It is not common in the 21st Century to surf the web for the latest happenings and run across an article that contains a prominent picture of a man smoking his pipe. This just recently happened and it was an obvious sign of who should be SHPC's next pipe personality of the month. Among Bertrand Russell's many passions for philosopy, mathmatics and history, he was also very fond of tobacco and states that he smokes all day unless eating or sleeping. He even claims smoking had saved his life (see video below). After hearing this there was no question he would become a permanent resident of the SHPC Gazette.
(excerpted from Wikipedia)
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell (May 1872 – February 1970) was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, social critic, political activist, and Nobel laureate. At various points in his life, Russell considered himself a liberal, a socialist and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had "never been any of these things, in any profound sense." Russell was born in Monmouthshire into one of the most prominent aristocratic families in the United Kingdom.
In the early 20th century, Russell led the British "revolt against idealism". 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. 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 and philosophy, especially the philosophy of language, epistemology and metaphysics.
Russell was a prominent anti-war activist and he championed anti-imperialism. Occasionally, he advocated preventive nuclear war, before the opportunity provided by the atomic monopoly had passed and "welcomed with enthusiasm" world government. He went to prison for his pacifism during World War I. Later, Russell concluded that war against Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany was a necessary "lesser of two evils" and criticized Stalinist totalitarianism, attacked the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War and was an outspoken proponent of nuclear disarmament. In 1950, 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".
En route to one of his lectures in Trondheim, Russell was one of 24 survivors (among a total of 43 passengers) of an aeroplane crash in Hommelvik in October 1948. He said he owed his life to smoking since the people who drowned were in the non-smoking part of the plane (see video below).
Russell spent the 1950s and 1960s engaged in political causes primarily related to nuclear disarmament and opposing the Vietnam War. In September 1961, at the age of 89, Russell was jailed for seven days in Brixton Prison for "breach of peace" after taking part in an anti-nuclear demonstration in London. The magistrate offered to exempt him from jail if he pledged himself to "good behaviour", to which Russell replied: "No, I won't."
Russell died of influenza on 2 February 1970 at his home in Penrhyndeudraeth. His body was cremated in Colwyn Bay on 5 February 1970. In accordance with his will, there was no religious ceremony; his ashes were scattered over the Welsh mountains later that year. He left an estate valued at £69,423 (£1.09 million or US$1.4 million in 2018 money). In 1980 a memorial to Russell was commissioned by a committee including the philosopher A. J. Ayer. It consists of a bust of Russell in Red Lion Square in London sculpted by Marcelle Quinton. Read more
More on Bertrand Russell:
Advice for How NOT to Grow Old
Bertrand Russell: Mankind's Future & Philosophy
Bertrand Russell Quotes
The History of Western Philosophy - Russell