‘The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts’ Bertrand Russell
‘Science is what you know. Philosophy is what you don’t know’
Bertrand Russell discovered mathematics at the age of eleven. It was, he recalled, a transporting experience: ‘as dazzling as first love’. From that moment on, he would pursue his passion with undying devotion and fervour. Mathematics might succeed, he felt, where philosophy had failed, reducing thought to its purest form, and freeing knowledge from doubt and contradiction. And for a time, so it seemed. Russell’s mathematical investigations effortlessly resolved at a stroke some of philosophy’s most intractable problems. Yet if mathematics could be a liberating mistress, she was also an unreliable one…
Opening up the work of one of our age’s undisputed giants, Ray Monk’s exhilaratingly clear, readable guide tells a compelling human tale too: a moving story of love and loss, of ecstatic triumph and deep disillusion.