Bertrand Russell, OM, FRS


1872-1970. Philosopher. Russell

Bertrand Arthur William Russell was a philosopher, logician, essayist and social critic best known for his work in mathematical logic and analytic philosophy. His most influential contributions include his defence of logicism (the view that mathematics is in some important sense reducible to logic), his refining of the predicate calculus introduced by Gottlob Frege (which still forms the basis of most contemporary logic), his defence of neutral monism (the view that the world consists of just one type of substance that is neither exclusively mental nor exclusively physical), and his theories of definite descriptions and logical atomism. Along with G.E. Moore, Russell is generally recognized as one of the founders of modern analytic philosophy. Together with Kurt Gödel, he is regularly credited with being one of the most important logicians of the twentieth century.

Russell as a childOver the course of his long career, Russell made significant contributions not only to logic and philosophy but also to a broad range of subjects including education, history, political theory and religious studies. In addition, many of his writings on a variety of topics in both the sciences and the humanities have influenced generations of general readers.

After a life marked by controversy—including dismissals from both Trinity and City College, New York—Russell was awarded the Order of Merit in 1949 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. Noted for his many spirited anti-war and anti-nuclear protests, Russell remained a prominent public figure until his death at the age of 97.

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a deep ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair. … This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me. (1967, I, 3–4)

Memorial inscription Translation


Comes Russell tertius, O.M., huius collegii socius,
philosophiae praesertim mathematicae scriptor
et interpres inclaruit.  Idem, amentiam hominum
diu indignatus, senex iuuenili impetu paci inter
gentes seruandae totus incubuit donec tandem
multis adfectus honoribus et per orbem terrarum
obseruatus anno aetatis suae xcviii, salutis mcmlxx,
e laboribus conquieuit.


Bertrand, third Earl Russell, O.M., Fellow of this College, was famous as a writer and expositor of the philosophy in particular of mathematics.  Having long been vexed with the folly of his fellow men, as an old man he threw himself with youthful ardour wholeheartedly into the cause of maintaining peace among the nations; at length, loaded with many honours and renowned throughout the world, he rested from his efforts at the age of ninety-seven in 1970.

Bertrand Russell

Brass located on the north wall of the Ante-Chapel. 
Inscription text by A.S.F. Gow.


Russell brass





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William Albert Hugh Rushton


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