The Problem of Philosophy Summary

The Problem of Philosophy

To deliberate the sources of a priori knowledge, Russell initially introduces Immanuel Kant, who is considered as one of the greatest modern philosophers. One of his key contributions was his observation that a priori knowledge is not entirely analytic. Kant believes that analytic knowledge is obtained by acquiring pieces of intricate plans and analysing them. While revisiting some critical instances of a priori knowledge such as the laws of thought, Russell states that such knowledge is troubled with entities that do not exist.  The entities that include qualities and relations are recognized as universals. The subject of how universals link to the universe, Russell states that Plato came up with the concept of an “unalterable world of concepts” that the physical world takes part in.

According to Russell (2020), awareness on universals is of a similar fundamental type as knowledge of essentials. This means that universals are identified by an acquaintance or by descriptions. Russell states that the recognition of a world of universals assists with the subject of a priori knowledge. Russell halts to outline the various kinds and causes of information. They include information on things versus knowledge of truths, knowledge by acquaintance versus description, and intuitive versus derivative knowledge. It is typically thought that convictions should be valid in certain aspects. Russell states that the truth theory consist of three theories. They consist of the concept of falsehood, identify that actuality and fiction are aspects of beliefs, and recognize that the certainty or fiction of a conviction has a foundation in the outer realm. Also, he states that knowledge may not be streamlined to merely a “true conviction.” An individual may believe that something can be real devoid of validation for the conviction.

Contrasting views with Other Philosophers

Russell argues that the existence of philosophy is aimed at answering any uncertainties. The main ambiguity being the notion “why.” Each human has probably deliberated on various reasons, such as why they are here and why the universe exists. Russell appears to demonstrate that Nietzsche was correct. Philosophers are known to develop numerous intricate thoughts to refute each other and have their legitimacy. This assertive interpretation is essentially in contrast to ways Russell ends The Problems of Philosophy. In this case, he makes it all extremely straightforward after having very complex thoughts.

Kierkegaard had faith in the existence of God and Christianity; he believed that a person ought to pick God by completely trusting him. He believed that an individual has three phases. They include aesthetic, moral, and then sacred (Angier, 2016). Kierkegaard was confident that God’s existence might be demonstrated. During the Kierkegaard period, the church had unfilled spaces and sought to fix the issue. He recognized that Christianity was not easy and recommended that persons not be Christians since they would be aware of their sins. This philosophy links with Russell’s concept of truth and falsehood.

Regarding William James’ theory, he protects the rights to infringe on the standard of evidentialism to validate hypothesis venturing. Through his pragmatism philosophy William James validates religious principles by utilizing the outcomes of his hypothetical venturing as proof to back the hypothesis’ actuality (McDermott 2013). Hence, this principle consents one to shoulder conviction in a god and prove its actuality by what the conviction creates to a person’s life.  William’s theory links with Russell’s philosophy as they both identify that none of human being’s beliefs are true. This signifies the only way of developing ever-closer to the certainty is to certainly not accept certainty.


Russell believes that man created the universe. People assumed numerous things about the universe and therefore fabricated its subsistence. People may positively not identify every aspect of the world; however, it is the reason why philosophy is considered significant. Individuals need to continuously attempt to respond to the queries to form definitive subdivisions of science.




Angier, T. P. (2016). Either Kierkegaard/or Nietzsche: Moral philosophy in a new key. Routledge.

McDermott, J. J. (Ed.). (2013). The Writings of William James. Random House.

Russell, B. (2020, May 12). The Problem of Philosophy. Retrieved August 25, 2020, from

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