I Wanna Be Literated #159

I Wanna Be Literated #159

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Tuesday, 18 July 2017
COLUMN

Bertrand Russell
The Impact of Science on Society
[Routledge Classics]

One of the things we love doing here on Ground Control is share some of our favorite books with our readers. We review everything we think looks interesting, even when they turned out to be less-than-stellar (hey, when a publisher sends us a book we ask for, we review it, no matter what). Other times, it’s an absolute joy to write these reviews and tell our audience about these great authors. Bertrand Russell is definitely one of these cases.
For the uninitiated, Bertrand Russell was one of the greatest philosophers of the past century, with a long and celebrated career (the man lived to be almost 100) and an immense body of work. Russell is respected by philosophers but as someone who shuns philosophy myself I find this a bit surprising, mostly because Russell had been incredibly critical of Philosophy and has basically said that as science’s influence is growing, there is less and less room for philosophy. Maybe philosophers like celebrating the irrelevancy of their careers? Who knows…

As we’ve said, Russell has written extensively about a variety of subjects and Routledge has been an incredible source for his books. The Impact of Science on Society is a short book composed of different lectures Russell made in the 1950s and discusses things like how science has increased in prominence (and for good reason), it’s effects on the world , how it can be regulated, and how it can be used for both good or evil. As always, Russell emphasized the importance of a single world government to hopefully eliminate the chances of war. Yes, this possibly could lead to totalitarianism, but is this better than the destruction of humanity through nuclear weapons? Also, Russell couldn’t possibly imagine that humans might look outwards to space for a new threat and keep arming itself for a threat that will probably never come. Kind of like it is now.

Scary how Russell’s writing is still relevant almost 70 years later. Indicative to the power of the man’s words.

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