“Lord Russell, What is Philosophy?”

Bertrand Russell

Enter philosopher, Bertrand Russell to define what philosophy meant to him during an interview with another British philosopher and writer, Alan Watts.

The following audio interview is in four parts:

Alan Watts – Bertrand Russell Interview (1 of 4)

Alan Watts – Bertrand Russell Interview (2 of 4)

Alan Watts – Bertrand Russell Interview (3 of 4)

Alan Watts – Bertrand Russell Interview (4 of 4)

What does philosophy mean to you?

You don’t need to be an aristocrat to answer – just don’t forget your pipe and to wear an austere countenance when doing so, because one must be taken as seriously as Russell when answering such an earnest question.


  1. Mr Blobby says:

    “Gradually, by selective breeding, the congenital differences between rulers and ruled will increase until they become almost different species. A revolt of the plebs would become as unthinkable as an organized insurrection of sheep against the practice of eating mutton.”

    – Bertrand Russell, “The Impact of Science on Society”, 1953, pg 49-50

  2. Jason Cooper says:

    You can’t blame Russell for thinking that way due to his priggish aristocratic upbringing, not to mention the old imperialistic British Empire being alive and well in one-third of the known world before WW1.

    Granted, Russell also had some outlandish opinions, especially in regards the ‘black man’ – not all bad mind.

    Russell never saw himself as a saint, he was involved in 3 marriages and had countless affairs, of which he advocated for everyone to participate in (he called it ‘free love’). One of his sons (I think his name was Conrad Russell, RIP) even hated him for not being a responsible father who was there for him.

    However, Russell had some good points which puts him up amongst the greatest activistic philosophers in the past 100 so years. I won’t go too much into it here, but if you do your research you will find that he influenced many a social/educational reform (one notably for equal rights for women in marriage and the workplace) in Britain. Also, he risked his career, friendships, social circles and his liberty to stand up against the British government and a patriotic fervour-filled population from entering into WW1 – and for that alone he deserves some mention for his pacifistic efforts.

    Thanks Blobby!