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Publisher's Summary

Bertrand Russell was a man of many parts: mathematician, philosopher, educator, popular writer, and political activist. It is surprising, and not a tad ironic (given his legal battles with higher education), that he eventually won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. He was a prolific writer, but his most concentrated work was done in his earlier years on mathematics in collaboration with Alfred North Whitehead. They produced a three-volume work entitled Principia Mathematica in 1910, 1912, and 1913 respectively. It was “an attempt to describe a set of axioms and inference rules in symbolic logic from which all mathematical truths could in principle be proven.” Despite the fact that 20 years later Kurt Gödel's incompleteness theorem proved that Russell and Whitehead’s goal couldn’t be achieved, Principia Mathematica remains a seminal work of groundbreaking proportions. 

Russell would later admit that his intense research and writing for the project exhausted him so completely that he could never really pursue serious work on mathematics again. Yet, despite this, Russell continued writing on a host of subjects, ranging from Einstein’s theory of relativity to Wittgenstein’s work on logic. The following is one of Russell’s more famous essays on the importance of science in education and why it should be more emphasized in school and not disdained. 

©2019 David Christopher Lane (P)2019 David Christopher Lane

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