What is the thesis?
The thesis of the article is that
philosophy is to be studied for the sake of the questions, not for definite
answers. Russell writes, “The value of philosophy is, in fact, to be sought
largely in its very uncertainty.” This is explaining that in philosophy the
answers are not certain. Russell also explains that what you get out of
philosophy is not the same as what you get out of other sciences. Once there is
a definite answer achieved, it is no longer philosophy.
What are the major points made in
developing and supporting the thesis?
In Russell’s article “On the Value of
Philosophy”, Russell makes three main points in developing and supporting the
thesis. One of the points being that philosophy does not divide the universe
into two hostile sides of good and bad or wrong and right. Another point that Russell
makes is to free the mind of the practical person, by feeding the mind and not
just the body. The last point that Russell makes is that philosophy does not
give the same outcome as other sciences do because there is no exact answer in
philosophy. Therefore, philosophy needs to be studied with an open mind.
How are key terms defined?
Russell defines each key term by
going into depth about the meaning of it in the paragraphs. A key term that
Russell uses a lot is in the article is “not-self”. The meaning is explained as
anything that is outside of one’s self. A second key term that is used in the
article is “self-assertion.”. This is explained as the expression of oneself,
one’s views, or one’s desires.
What are the basic assumptions made
by the author?
There are a few main assumptions made
by the author. An assumption made by Russell is that not many people are open
to philosophy because there are no true answers and it is challenging for them
to think of their not-self. Another assumption is that other logical or
scientific thinking people will disregard philosophy as a science, dismissing
it as useless for not having a definite answer.
What are the important implications
of the author’s position?
Russell implies that we need to open
and free our minds and think outside of the box. From doing so, it will enlarge
our boundaries and increase our potential. In addition, knowledge and
understanding come from the balance of self and not-self. One must think
without prejudice of the practical person.