wrote as follows in 1998, when I first put Russell's text with my notes
on line - and everything after "First
edition, 1998:" is text
time ago, before the advent of the personal computer, I thought it
would be a good idea to write a series of comments on philosophical
books more or less as this was done in the Middle Ages or in the Torah.
In these days, such comments are possible on a personal computer in the
form of hypertext, with the additional benefit that the result can be
put on the internet.
files these brief remarks are the General Introduction to are
The 15 chapters of
Bertrand Russell's text from 1912, called "The
Problems of Philosophy", each in its own file
15 files of remarks on
The file to which
belongs this General Introduction
choose Russell's text because I like it; because Russell influenced me
more than any other phsilosopher; and because the text of "The
Problems of Philosophy" is available on the internet. I reproduce
that text here, and have changed nothing except correcting a few
obvious misprints and the division into separate files and adding links
to my remarks.
remarks have been written in 1998, and the general format is this:
of Russell's chapters is in one file, and so are my comments to the
chapter; my comments are connected by hyperlink in the original, and
all end with a link that returns the reader to the beginning of that
link in the original at the beginning and the end of each of the files
there are four arrows, thus
of which the left and right arrows lead to the previous and next file
in the same sequence (Russell's chapters or my remarks); the up arrow
leads to this file that contains links to all of the files; and the
down arrow leads from Russell's chapter to my comments on the chapter
or the other way round.
my comments take almost as much text as the original they comment on.
My comments are in the nature of glosses: I comment on what I believe
to be mistakes and on what I believe needs elucidation.
who believe I am overly critical of Russell should realise that
personally I have the greatest respect for Russell, and believe he is
one of the very few, perhaps only, truly great philosophers this
century has known (where nearly all soi-disant philosophers
have been conformist academics who produced virtually nothing that was
read outside their own group, if at all - which is fine for chemistry,
physics or mathematics, since these subjects, when seriously pursued,
are so abstruse that only specialists can follow them, but makes mostly
nonsense of the supposed 'philosophy' thus produced). Apart from my
personal esteem for Russell, my remarks should be able to stand on
their own, and I believe they increase the value of Russell's text. And
in spite of my many critical comments, I am in fundamental agreement
with Russell about his general philosophical point of view, which is
html-editions of other philosophical classics with my comments are in
Amsterdam, in February 1998.
the site has gone through several variations in format and has grown
much. Russell's text and my 1998-comments have been always on it and
now, after 10 years, I have provided a new edition, that may grow
somewhat later this year.
reasons to make a new edition are these
- I like Russell's text and
my remarks, for I think both are clear, rational and sensible, and
Russell's text is a good first introduction to philosophy.
- Others like Russell's
text and my remarks, for both have often been downloaded.
- The first edition was
written with another editor than I since use for the site, and needed
- The second edition
conforms more to my editions of + comments on other phillosophical
classics that are on the site, notably in now quoting the passages I
comment on in my comments-files, that make them independently readable.
I might have made a second edition earlier, but for my health and for
the fact that the automatic links produced by the editor I wrote the
first edition in made this not easy - and indeed these links still have
to be remade mostly, which may happen later this year.
are the differences with the first edition:
- All files in the main
texts have now a short introduction, describing their contents and
- In the first edition,
commented passages were underlined; in the second edition this is no
longer the case. (So now you get Russell's text without my
- In the first edition,
commented passages were not quoted in the my comments-files; in the
second edition they are. (So now you can read my notes without having
to read most of Russell's text.)
- I have undone some typos
and repaired some wrong links.
- I have added a few
things, mostly to have fuller explanations, but not many, and apart
from improved typos and links, all the text that was in the first
edition is still present in the second.
happen - but this depends on my health - that later this year I will
extend my notes some more.
Last edited this file: Amsterdam, in January 2014