Talk:Bertrand Russell

Page contents not supported in other languages.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
WikiProject iconVital articles: Level 4 / People B‑class
WikiProject iconBertrand Russell has been listed as a level-4 vital article in People. If you can improve it, please do.
BThis article has been rated as B-class on Wikipedia's content assessment scale.
Former good articleBertrand Russell was one of the Philosophy and religion good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
July 2, 2005Featured article candidateNot promoted
December 19, 2005Good article nomineeListed
May 25, 2007Good article reassessmentDelisted
October 28, 2007Good article nomineeNot listed
April 8, 2008Good article nomineeNot listed
Current status: Delisted good article

"most famously known for the following opinions on education"[edit]

This uncited section ( claims "Russell is most famously known for the following opinions on education, taken from Page 30 of "The Impact of Science on society".", but I've never seen this paragraph before, and think most people know of him for his work in foundation of mathematics. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:46, 12 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am sure his ignorant antisemitism is mentioned somewhere ...[edit]

... but I can't find it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:45, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Welsh, English, or British?[edit]

A recent edit here changed nationality (just in the lead section) from British (which is not in dispute) to Welsh (which is not clear) with support from two sources: BBC and WalesOnline. The following edit here removed a number of "English" categories, only one of which was replaced with "Welsh" and none with "British" Are these changes all agreed? The explanatory footnote, about Monmouthshire in 1872, in the infobox, remains. Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 09:23, 20 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for mentioning this on the talk page. There doesn't seem to be any evidence of which nationality he considered himself, but he is known to have been born in Monmouthshire, Died in Merionethshire and had his ashes distributed over Welsh mountains. Titus Gold (talk) 12:23, 20 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm sure, even today, many English people live and die in Monmouthshire, and it's now certainly part of Wales. But that doesn't make them Welsh? Additionally many people will want their ashes sprinkled in the place or places they have loved, but this doesn't confer some kind of retrospective nationality? Where does that BBC source say he was Welsh? I'm not sure the WalesOnline source is sufficiently authoritative. Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 12:31, 20 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Corrected to English. Seems to refer to himself as English in his autobiography. Titus Gold (talk) 00:17, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Does that mean he never refers to himself as British? Or that he thinks English is more accurate than British? Although the Autobiography is visible online, page 434 is not visible, so a quote might be useful. Many thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 07:17, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"I think you are entirely right in what you say about the Labour Party. I do not like them, but an Englishman has to have a Party just as he has to have trousers, and of the three "Parties I find them the least painful. My objection to the Tories is temperamental, and my objection to the Liberals is Lloyd George. I do not think that in joining a Part}y one necessarily abrogates the use of one’s reason. I know that my trousers might be better than they are; nevertheless they seem to me better than none." ~~~~ Jy Houston (talk) 08:53, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What a lovely quote and it does slightly suggest he may have thought himself English (for political purposes, at least). I assume that is from page 434. Martinevans123 (talk) 09:52, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
its the quote I found at page 434 yes (its p. 414 in some other editions). It seems to me to be some evidence against him very strongly thinking of himself as Welsh. I thought a it rather nice quote and worth sharing but wouldn't myself hang too much on it in choosing between "English" or "British" (personally I'd go with the latter). Jy Houston (talk) 13:26, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Titus Gold may be unaware of the many previous discussions on this point. Russell was unequivocally British. Whether or not he should be described as Welsh is disputable (as is whether he should be described as English - which is not really an argument I have much heard before). Monmouthshire is certainly part of Wales now, but its position at the time of Russell's birth was debated - there were different views (see Monmouthshire (historic)#Ambiguity over status). So, it is better to be unequivocally correct, rather than starting yet another round of tedious and pointless arguments. Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:11, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The status of Monmouthshire during Russell’s lifetime is indeed really not relevant to how he self-ID’d. Is this some irredentist English claim to Monmouthshire? I’ve not heard of it but looking into it I am not surprised some people hold fringe views.
Anyhoo The spirit of BLP carries over into a individuals long since deceased like BR. I suppose Russel would be the old equivalent of someone born in Wales to English second home owners today…. A-la not *really* Welsh… Trans-Neptunian object (talk) 09:31, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"The status of Monmouthshire during Russell’s lifetime is indeed really not relevant to how he self-ID’d." Actually, it does have some relevance - per consistency with the guidance at Template:Infobox person, so that, in the infobox, we describe the country at the time of the person's birth. At the time of Russell's birth, Monmouthshire was legally, and by many authorities and indeed English people generally, considered part of England (though, equally, many or most Welsh people considered it part of Wales). So... whether he was "really" "Welsh" is essentially a matter of opinion - he did not consider himself Welsh, and his legal nationality was certainly British. Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:52, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think we can safely agree that neither his father nor his mother were Welsh, or in any way considered themselves Welsh. Martinevans123 (talk) 09:57, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think in these matters of national identity, how the individual identifies themselves should carry more weight than anything else and Russell seems to identify as English based on multiple quotes from various volumes of his autobiography. I think English is the most accurate in this particular case. Titus Gold (talk) 10:38, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Titus Gold - you seem determined to prolong this argument by being provocative. Please stop. You are flip-flopping between describing him as Welsh or English, but neither is necessary. He was British - that is unarguable. Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:45, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So far we've seen one quote, which I have assumed is from the page of his Autobiography that you originally gave in your new source (is it?). Which are the other "multiple quotes from various volumes"? But has anyone actually searched for where he called himself "British"? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 10:52, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It doesn't matter that much. There is no dispute as to his legal nationality, and to our global readership "British" is just fine. Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:59, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I tend agree. I see nothing wrong with "British". Martinevans123 (talk) 11:06, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Edits are made based on the best evidence. Look at what he calls himself: "English". British could confuse whether he was Welsh or English. I think it needs to be more clear. Titus Gold (talk) 11:07, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
British cannot "confuse" between Welsh and English. What if he was not even clear himself (or did not think it mattered)? If you really want to set out your case, you'll need to provide all this "best evidence" where he "calls himself English." At the end of the day, we should be guided by how RS academic sources describe him. Martinevans123 (talk) 11:12, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For example, this is important for categories and other Wikipedia articles which reference Welsh or English contributions. Titus Gold (talk) 11:13, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have provided a citation from his own autobiography. There's no better source than that. I will add some of the other citations if you wish. Titus Gold (talk) 11:14, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You say you have more examples. Have you also looked for "British"? But most other editors here seem to disagree with you, or think it's not worth the effort. Martinevans123 (talk) 11:16, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have no doubt that Russell considered himself British as well as English based on my recent reading. I maintain that using English avoids any confusion as to whether he was Welsh or not. He never describes himself as Welsh based on his autobiography volumes.
Perhaps a sensible compromise would be to mention that he identified as English somewhere later in the article. Titus Gold (talk) 11:28, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, that might be a sensible compromise. I'm not sure we need to expect a lot of effort in order to make it clear what someone wasn't. Martinevans123 (talk) 13:55, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok, I've adapted a sentence later on in the intro. Titus Gold (talk) 16:05, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not sure any statement is required in the lead section, especially if the claim "although he identified as English" is supported only by that one quote from his Autobiography (and the quote itself is not given). You might also wish to remember that the lead is meant to be a summary of the entire article and not contain anything that's no expanded (with sources) in the main body. Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 16:14, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that a clause like "although he identified as English" (or "but identified as English") is unnecessary. Only Welsh nationalists would care - not a significant proportion of our global readership. Ghmyrtle (talk) 20:31, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Use British, as he was born & died in the UK. PS - The United Kingdom should be also used as both his birth/death place. GoodDay (talk) 22:32, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Welsh nationalists"? No need to get political. England and Wales are also countries and nationalities. I don't see why Russell should not be mentioned as either Welsh or English. Otherwise, you're essentially suggesting that no one on Wikipedia should be called either Welsh or English, only British. That could be described as a very one-sided British nationalist view. Titus Gold (talk) 23:27, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wales & England aren't independent, where's the United Kingdom is. Thus my position on the matter at hand. GoodDay (talk) 00:04, 22 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As far as I can see, nobody is "suggesting that no one on Wikipedia should be called either Welsh or English, only British." Editors here are suggesting that it's unclear if Bertrand Russell was born in Wales and that it's unclear if he should be described as being Welsh or English. No one has objected to some kind of discussion of this point in the main body of the article. But a few editors, seemingly the majority in this discussion, think it would be better to use "British " in the opening sentence. You proposed a compromise, which was supported, but then went straight away and added something else in the lead section? Martinevans123 (talk) 08:17, 22 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"'re essentially suggesting that no one on Wikipedia should be called either Welsh or English, only British. That could be described as a very one-sided British nationalist view.." Absolutely not my position. But where it is debatable, or contested - as it is here, the default position is to describe them as British. There is no overriding reason to describe them as anything different. Ghmyrtle (talk) 08:48, 22 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Default British, suggests that English and Welsh should have a lesser priority as nationalities. In this particular example, it is clear based on the evidence that he considered himself English. Titus Gold (talk) 20:42, 22 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Anyway, I think it's fine as it is now. Titus Gold (talk) 20:43, 22 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just like Ghmyrtle, I think the clause "but identified as English" is unnecessary. And there's still nothing in the main body that discusses/supports it. Martinevans123 (talk) 20:50, 22 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The "evidence" you have provided here so far is a non-visible quote, from one page in his Autobiography, when he discusses how "an Englishman" decides his political party allegiance. Hardly convincing? There's a very reasonable argument that English and Welsh do have a lesser priority as nationalities, as they are of constituent nations. Martinevans123 (talk) 20:47, 22 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And you've now just added another source here, to bolster your proposal, without yet addressing any of the objections in this discussion? That's really quite exasperating. The idea is that we reach a consensus here first and then adjust the article to match? That's how things usually work. Martinevans123 (talk) 22:32, 22 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Welsh and English are not inferior nationalities to British. Nationality is not even necessarily associated with political structures. I have addressed your comment about the "non-visible" citation by providing a further citation. Ok, fair enough, what else do you want? Titus Gold (talk) 22:35, 22 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not saying "Welsh and English are inferior nationalities to British", just that England and Wales are constituent countries. (Whether Welsh and English were nationalities equivalent to each other in 1872 is a different question) When I said "non-visible quote" I was suggesting you simply add a quote from, page 434, into the ref. But in any case I think it's very weak support. A quick look at one of your new sources (page 184 of the pdf) shows that Russell is talking about the typical "Englishman" in comparison to the "Chineseman". I'd suggest that he's just using a typical English idiom and not that he is necessarily identifying as English himself. I've not checked the other two examples, as I don't think that claim should be in the lead section anyway. Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 08:38, 23 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think anyone suggests that Welsh or English are "inferior" in any way - but, Welsh and English people are also, legally, British. More relevantly, there is no good reason for this minor point (of how he "considered himself") to be in the lead when it appears not even to be mentioned in the body of the text. The purpose of the opening section is to summarise the article - but (1) if it's not in the body of the article it shouldn't be in the opening section; and (2) there is no indication in reliable sources of its significance, or why it should be mentioned anyway. If no sources make any significant mention of his self-identification, it should not be in the article at all.
Do any other editors of this page - that is, apart from Titus Gold - support the inclusion of the words "but identified as English" in the opening section of this article? Ghmyrtle (talk) 06:08, 23 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
1. This matter is now discussed in the body of the text (Death and legacy).
2. I've given reliable sources from Russell's own account.
3. Russell is considered Welsh according to some sources (which is now clearly incorrect) and it's important to make his nationality clear to avoid confusion.
4. Russell was heavily focused on English issues, particularly English governance and English international relations if you read his autobiography, so yes it is relevant, significant and essential to mention. He actually seems more English focused than British based on his autobiography. Titus Gold (talk) 12:45, 23 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What were "English international relations"? Why were they not "British international relations"? Martinevans123 (talk) 13:10, 23 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If "Russell is considered Welsh according to some sources", are these only the two sources you recently suggested? If there are better WP:RS sources, perhaps they should be provided? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 13:25, 23 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You would be best off just reading his autobiography than me talking through the whole thing. Titus Gold (talk) 13:39, 23 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not asking you to take me through the whole of his Autobiography. I looked at the pages you quoted earlier and the support for him "self-identifying as English" looked very weak. I think it would be better if we rolled back all recent edits until this discussion has been concluded. There's simply no consensus for your changes. Martinevans123 (talk) 13:43, 23 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm sorry, but all this is nonsense, from both sides. A litmus test for who is here because they are interested in Russell vs nationalism is addressing why the lead is so weak- it is focused on accolades rather than substance, and has 78 refs at last count; dire warnings of agenda driven edit warring. Russell would be less than impressed by this behavior, were he not long dead. Ceoil (talk) 13:30, 23 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ceoil is basically correct (apart from their change to a verbatim quote, which I've reverted). I see no further purpose in debating Russell's nationality or "identification". Ghmyrtle (talk) 19:24, 23 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is not the only article Titus is going around changing "British" to "Welsh" on in the opening sentence. Along with other edits, the editor has a clear political agenda and it is impossible to assume good faith when taking into account the huge scale of changes he is making to so many articles, and how biased many of the edits in question are. RWB2020 (talk) 09:36, 27 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see. I would have thought that Russell "self identifying as English" (although I'm not convinced that has yet been fully established - does anyone have access to this book as it doesn't seem to be viewable online?) would be less argument for calling him "Welsh". The latest recent re-run of the argument of where his ashes were sprinkled is quite absurd. Martinevans123 (talk) 10:10, 27 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do those sources added to support "Russell identified as English" bear scrutiny? I am looking now at page 253 of the Autobiography here (page 277 of 452) and I see that the description of "this famous Englishman" actually appears in an "Extract from Unity, Chicago", whatever that was, not from Russell himself at all. Page 292 (page 316 of 452) has the trousers quote, "an Englishman has to have a party", which I think is just a figure of speech. Page 320 (page 408 of 452) has, in a letter to Gilbert Murray, "here in America an Englishman can only hold his tongue"; likewise that can be read as a figure of speech: we wouldn't expect Russell to write "a Britton can only hold his tongue"? Martinevans123 (talk) 11:39, 27 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Minor edit suggestion: 1916 fine of £100 in today's value seems incorrect[edit]

The 1916 fine amount is correct, but I think the recalculation for today should be closer to £2700. This just stands out because £7000 seemed vastly off.

Chamblis (talk) 15:57, 20 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I checked the Bank of England site, and I am wrong. It is close to the article’s original. BOE says 6000.

Chamblis (talk) 12:35, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A Commons file used on this page or its Wikidata item has been nominated for deletion[edit]

The following Wikimedia Commons file used on this page or its Wikidata item has been nominated for deletion:

Participate in the deletion discussion at the nomination page. —Community Tech bot (talk) 11:52, 2 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]