Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, April 30, 2012

Goodwin McDonald (9/5) Final Post #3: Western philosophy vs Eastern philosophy

Western Philosophy is defined from its difference in Eastern philosophy.  They aren't necessarly opposites but the views of each philosophy is very different.  For example you can compare the western religions of catholocism and baptism to that of budhism and taoism. There is a large difference that has guided the cultures that follow those ideas.

One good way to summon it up is like this:
Broadly, speaking, Western society strives to find and prove "the truth", while Eastern society accepts the truth as given and is more interested in finding the balance.
Westerners put more stock in individual rights; Easterners in social responsibly.
Eastern civilization has an idea of working together as a society.  That we are all connected together.  Western philosophy is defined by individualism and self determination.  That you can go further working hard by yourself then working together with society to bring everybody into a greater state of living.  Eastern civilizations seem to accept things better.  While we in the western world believe we determine the outcome of the future and ourselves, those in the western world accept things for what it is instead of what they want it to be. 
"Do not hope that things happen as you wish but wish that they happen as they do.  Those who do so will get along well." - Daoism quote. 
The eastern world is considered that of Asia such as China Japan and Arabic countries while the western world is in a sense everything else.  An example of important text that founded beliefs in the eastern world is Romance of the three kingdoms which depicts the time of the Han dynast in the 1st century.  In these text it is similar to that of homers in the sense of honor and pride but their depictions of honor and pride were different.  In the Romance of the Three Kingdoms everyones goal was to restore china under one dynasty and they did this by qualling rebellions and fighting for the greater good of society.  Compared to the Illead, they fought a war only for Helen and the sake of love. 
It goes to show that while the ideas are similar they are at the same time very different.  Both sides have made a huge contribution to the strides in knowledge that humanity has made.  Without one the other could not exist.  It's through these different perspectives that philosophy has become what it is today.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sovannara Chhim (section9) Post #3

             In the novels one of the main storyline is his the battle between Harry and Voldmort. To me it reminds of the battles between Jesus and the Devil. How Harry is battling not just Voldmort but also the battle Harry fights with himself to find a way to do the right choices. Harry and Voldmort clash in several battles in the novels and it leads to Harry learning of a way to defeat Voldmort. Just like Jesus and the Devil they are both fighting to get support from other both gathering armies to fight at the very end for a huge clash of good versus evil. I can remember one chapter in the book when Harry is fighting Voldmort on a wizard duel and he has Hagrid hostage and he sacrifices himself to save Hagrid. This part reminds me of how Jesus died on the cross to forgive man off his internal sin. Also Harry dies but comes back to life to defeat Voldmort reminds me of Jesus even more. Its like when Jesus died rose three days later. They're many similarities between Harry and Jesus. They're similarities between Voldmort and the Devil. Such as how voldmort entire desire is for everyone to serve underneath him and that he should be supreme ruler such as a god resembles how the Devil turned his back on God because he wanted the same power as God. Voldmort and the Devil are close in having no emotions and willingness to kill any one without guilt and no morals what so ever. 
  So throughout the series Harry fights many different ethical, morally, and philosophical challenges that stand in the way between Harry and saving the world from Voldmort. Harry overcomes many different obstacles for him to become a true wizard and on that journey he is not alone. He truly finds out that on the road to salvation you are never alone. 

Sovannara Chhim (Section9) Post #2

After Harry in Hogwarts their he meets Dumbledore the headmaster of Hogwarts. Dumbledore is like a father figure and teacher to Harry. In the novels Dumbledore gives Harry advice onto discovering his destiney to overcome Lord Voldmort. Harry and Dumbledore are like Plato and Socrates. Like how Dumbledore is the teacher of Harry, teaching him not just the education on becoming a wizard, but also how to live as a leader an give him the knowledge to be a true hero to the good. As Harry is to plato the student. The student becomes the master and he puts out his values he learned and makes them into his own type of values and philosophy to his students. Dumbledore and Harry fought in many battles together and have helped Harry become a powerful wizard. Dumbledore helped Harry realize that he should really be in Gryffindor in the Chamber of Secrets. During the end of the book Harry thinks that with all the simlarity between him and Slytherin he has doubts with being in Gryffindor and possible believes he was the person who opened the chamber of secrets. When Harrys fights the basilisk he pulls out the Sword of Gryffindor and Dumbledore says only a true heir to Gryffindor can pull the sword out. Thus giving Harry confidence in himself to overcome any odds not matter how big they are.

Sovannnara Chhim(Section9) Harry Potter post #1

       Harry Potter is a series of novel that is base on a boy name Harry Potter. He is the main character of the novel. The story begin the day which Harry's parents were killed by Voldmort, and Harry survived the attack, and they began to call him, "The boy who live." After the attack, he live with his aunt,uncle, and nephew who were Muggles. His name was known through all of the wizard world, but he didn't know anything about his past. on his eleven birthday, he got a letter from Hogwarts, accepting him to the wizard world, which is training to be a wizard. Thomas Aquinas believe that realistic is our conception that would be false if is not represented something corresponding in the mind, and it existed in individuals men. Like in movie, when Harry Potter began to use magic, he has to believe in it in order to use magic. The more he believe in magic, the more the stronger his magic power will be. it is just like what Thomas Aquinas stated, You have to believe in order to something to want to do.

         When he was accepted to Hogwarts he meets Hagrid, who is a half-man half-giant, who takes him to get his school supplies. Thats when he finds out the true origin of himself. He finds out the he is the boy who lived, one of the most known person in the wizard world. He also learns about Voldmort, who is the main antagonist in the series. Harry and Voldmort has sort of a Yin and Yang philosophy on each other. Yin and Yang is the meaning of opposites of each other like black and white, good and evil. Yin is the weakness of Yang, and Yang is the weakness of Yin. In the series Harry is the Yang and Voldmort is the Yin. They are complete opposites of each other and they learn each others powers and weakness. In the book their is a prophecy that says that only one can live, the other has to die. So from that prophecy we find out that it is a close similarity to Yin and Yang. In the book the both know what they have to do. That only one of them can live which sets of a chain of events the change Harry's life forever.

The Philosophy of Batman 3- Aaron Wallace


      So the final question I have about Batman actually takes place in the movie The Dark Knight.  At the

very end of the movie, Harvey Dent has already turned evil and become "two face" and he ends up

dying.  Sorry for any spoilers for anyone who hasnt seen the movie.  But anyway, Batman doesnt want

Gotham to lose faith in their one person who they thought wouldnt fall to evil temptation; Harvey Dent.

Batman decides to take the blame for Harvey's death even though it wasnt his fault so that Gotham didn't

lose hope in the good left in the world.

    So the question is, why did Batman choose to take the blame for Harvey Dent's death?  Was it to 

keep hope alive? Or was it because Bruce Wayne sees his parent's death as his fault for wanting to 

leave the theatre early the night that they left and this is his way of redeeming himself.  Of course the 

answer wont be revieled until the next movie is released but I personally believe it was an attempt to 

cope with the pain that he bears from his parent's death believing that the reason they are dead is 

because of him.  I believe he is spending his life dedicated to fighting crime so that he can find a way to 

forgive himself and make his parent's forgive him.

The Philosophy of Batman 2- Aaron Wallace

 The philosophy behind the Bat symbol that Batman sports on almost everything he wears and uses is

one that many may have questions about.  So what is the true meaning behind the Bat symbol?  The Bat

stands for a personal symbol that Bruce Wayne uses to describe his deepest fear, which is bats.  In

wearing this symbol all the time, he not only is becoming his greatest fear so that he can overcome it, he is

sharing it with all of Gotham city so that they too, will learn to associate fear with Batman in hopes of

putting a stopper on crime.

Since Batman wishes to strike fear in the hearts of all of Gotham City's crime, fear is something that does 

not have a picture unless you give it one.  This is the purpose of the Bat Symbol.  This is why it flies high 

in the sky when Batman is needed; to let the criminals know that their worst nightmare is on the way to 

serve justice to those who have done wrong.  

And just for kicks and giggles, heres how to make your very own bat signal so you can strike fear into 

all of your home city.... or to just really make the neighbors mad.

The Philosophy of Batman 1- Aaron Wallace

     The story of Batman is one that almost everyone has heard of.  But the question still remains, does

everyone understand the deeper side to the story.  Does Batman really seek revenge on his parents or is it

vengeance on Gotham cities crime to protect others from going through what he did as a child?  What is

the true meaning behind the bat that is displayed on everything Batman stands for and uses? Lastly, does

his role in the ending of the Dark Knight: The Movie, taking the blame for killing Harvey Dent even

though he didn't, serve as an underlying way for the author to show us that he takes the blame for the

death of his parents?

So does Bruce Wayne use Batman as a way to seek revenge on his parents?  I think the simple answer 

would be to say no.  But why? Well, we see that one of Batman's biggest rules when fighting crime is 

that he will never kill an enemy.  Even after everything the Joker has done to Gotham City, when 

Batman has the chance to finally kill him in the famous movie, The Dark Knight, he chooses not to 

simply because if he did, he believes he would be no different than the person who killed his own 

parents.  It is hard to say why Batman chooses to pursue vengeance and not revenge because they, for 

the most part, have the same meaning.  However, if we dig deeper into the matter, we find that there is 

somewhat of a difference between the two.  We can agree that Vengeance is giving someone what they 

deserve and Revenge is the act of seeking out to get payback on something.  Very similar but the key 

is that one is a noun and one is a verb.  Batman serves vengeance against those who need it but does 

not plan his attacks without reason.  Revenge would be a planning of action against someone who has 

wronged him personally.  This is why Batman sticks with vengeance instead of revenge against 




     Lastly, Nietzsche believed there is no God, and the only way to transcend is through knowledge & training. He also believed the Judeo-Christian morality compared inferior to the morality of the ancient world. In ancient times the belief was to be ethical, pushing the level to be more developed in personal excellence and nobility. He believed that religion, was the mask for the more intelligent. Christianity in particular, highlighted the lower class poverty level giving them assurance to be the way they are weather they're furthering themselves or not. He wanted a more naturalistic non-judgmental psychology that valued also the strong spirited and talented portion of the population like the ancients. He countered the Christian believes with a systematic example of "eternal recurrence" or the earth and time have a cyclical pattern. 
    I agree with Nietzsche and also believe there is a point where any religion could hinder the believer by the idea of just believing. The perception other humans make change how the information is interrupted from the written material to the next person and so on. Maybe reason for the opportunities we are given in live or maybe just the cycle of the earth. I believe that religion can helps boost self-efficacy or confidence, the way you perceive yourself and how others perceive you. For these people that have made a decision to just believe and are truly happy with that kind of solution then they will have the boost of happiness everyday and purpose to continue on just knowing there is a perfect and peaceful alternate reality to look forward to. For the other people that can't live with themselves to take a leap of faith and just believe, think, what is out there; i feel it has to do more with the psychological emotion that is related to the religion. http://www.buzzardhut.net/index/htm/Spirit/26.htm In the first few sections of the webpage it explains the emotions that drive us to beliefs and where they come from in our subconscious minds.  

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Final Post 3: Conclusion: Ibn al Rawandi and Al-Warraq were both heretics

Ibn al Rawandi and Al-Warraq both believed, “The Quran is the speech of an unwise being, and it contains contradictions, errors and absurdities.” They clearly demonstrated this in the conversation written in the Zumurrud. They believed God already taught humans the difference between right and wrong. If the prophets tell us what we already know then they are unnecessary, if they tell us something that we feel is not right, we should not listen to them anyways. Al-Rawandi said this is an example of our natural and innate knowledge, already given to us by God. He thought that it is absurd to assume that without prophetic revelation people would not have learned how to perform mandatory mental and physical skills. All these skills are acquired by the assiduous application of the inborn human intellect, discernment and power of observation. They both agreed that the Quran is full of contradictory, absurd sayings, and it cannot possibly be the speech of the Wise One.
These beliefs are proof enough to determine that Al-Rawandi and Al-Warraq were not Muslims at all. In fact the very idea that they would speak the things they did tells me there is no way either one of them believed anything pertaining to the Islamic belief. Also, they both showed no shame in questioning the existence of prophets and saying that God was an idiot. The Islamic faith revolves around the teachings of Muhammad; therefore they couldn’t have been Muslims. Muslims are not supposed to question God the way they did. Human beings do not even possess the ability to understand why God does anything he does. We are not, but mere human beings. We do not have the ability to explain miracles; they are not supposed to be logical. A miracle is the definition of the impossible coming true because of an action from God. My final opinion is that they both believed they were smarter than God, and thusly heretics.  



Final post 2: Some beliefs demonstrated in a significant conversation between the heretics

The book often refers to many beliefs of Muslim tradition that must be acknowledged in order to understand the arguments within the book concerning Islam.  One belief is that the Jews of Medina once arrogantly claimed that the hereafter belonged to them alone. In the presence of Muhammad, the Jews were very confident about their bliss awaiting them after death. However, with the help of God, Muhammad predicted that the Jews were not ready or willing to accept death and in fact not so sure about their blissful afterlife. The story goes that Muhammad presented the Jews with several opportunities to prove their confidence but they chose to not wish for death.
Like the Jews, the Christians were also challenged by Muhammad because they did not accept him as a prophet. Muhammad told them to perform a prayer and let God be their judge by calling down His curse on the party which lied, or accept him as a prophet. They had not planned to accept Muhammad’s terms, but indeed ended up doing so. In Muslim tradition the two confrontations are frequently connected, and both are regarded as proving that Muhammad was indeed a prophet. Also, because Muhammad was said to be illiterate, the predictions even prove more so that they were told to him by God. Muslims believe that his knowledge of Christian and Jewish scriptures must have come to him through revelation. This was considered proof to Muslims that Muhammad was a prophet that possessed secret knowledge. Another proof was Muhammad’s prediction of his victory over the people from Mecca.
Muhammad’s confrontations with the Jews and the Christians are discussed in the book. The accounts of these beliefs are argued illogical and therefore not possible.
The Zumurrud was constructed as a dialogue between two participants, the one arguing for the existence of prophecy, the other against it. Below is a conversation demonstrating the arguments about prophecy between Ibn al-Rawandi and  Al-Warraq.
Ibn al-Rawandi: Muhammad challenged the Jews to wish for death. Muhammad was confident that if the Jews would wish for death, they would immediately die. [The Jews knew that too, and therefore they did not wish for death. This shows that, despite their refusal to accept Muhammad, the Jews knew that he was a true prophet.] Muhammad also knew that, despite the certainty they feigned, the Jews would not dare to express the wish for their own death [and the verse says explicitly that they will not do so. This proves that Muhammad was a prophet, because without God's help, he would not have been able to guess what the Jews would do].
Al-Warraq: [If the Jews did not accept Muhammad's challenge to wish for death, this was not because they believed that he was a prophet, but rather because they did not take his challenge seriously.] When Muhammad challenged the Christians to let God be their judge by calling down His curse on the party which lied and the Jews to wish for death, the words he used did not imply that he was doing so in order to prove that he was a prophet. Had the Jews and Christians realized that this was his intention, they would have been glad to accept the challenge.
Ibn al-Rawandi: Muhammad warned the Christians that [if they did not submit to him] they would be cursed. [This proves that he was a prophet, because he knew what the outcome would be, if they would have said the prayer. The Christians preferred to accept Muhammad's terms rather than say the prayer and be cursed. This proves that] the Christians realized that he was a true prophet. They knew it because their scriptures foretold the coming of a prophet whose description is like Muhammad' s.
Al-Warraq: People who claimed to be prophets, like Moses and Jesus, had indeed foretold the coming of Muhammad as a prophet. The Christians and Jews believed in prophets; therefore, they did not dare to respond to Muhammad's challenge.
Ibn al-Rawandi: But if you agree that Muhammad is described in the scriptures of the Jews and Christians, then you must admit that prophecy exists, and that Moses and Jesus, as well as Muhammad, were prophets.
Al-Warraq: Moses and Jesus did indeed predict the coming of Muhammad [but this does not imply the existence of prophecy or that these people were prophets]; any astrologer can make correct predictions. In the same way, the fact that Muhammad could predict certain events does not prove that he is a prophet; he may have been able to guess successfully, but this does not mean that he had real knowledge of the future. And certainly the fact that he was able to recount events from the past does not prove that he was a prophet. [He could have read about those events in the Bible] and, if he was illiterate, he could still have had the Bible read to him.
Ibn al-Rawandi: The Jews and Christians had access to a very detailed description of the Prophet and the circumstances of his future arrival. No astrologer could predict the future in such a precise manner. Astrologers rarely succeed in predicting the future and then only by chance.
Al-Warraq: The Jews knew that if they had accepted Muhammad's challenge [and declared that they were so confident of prospering in the hereafter that they wished for death], then Muhammad would have said that they did not really wish for death, but only said so.
Ibn al-Rawandi: Muhammad's challenge did not include the condition that they have to mean what they say; they only had to say it. Also, the Jews could have replied that they did wish it in their hearts.
Al-Warraq: If the Jews were to say that they did wish it in their hearts, Muhammad would have answered that Gabriel had revealed to him that they were lying, and that they did not wish it in their hearts.

Final post 1:History leading up to Ibn al-Rawandi and Al-Warraq's conversation

A central issue in early Islamic theological discussions is the question of who should be considered a believer. When attempting to define the answer many Muslims would simply reply by explaining who would not be considered a Muslim. However, this distinction is not the focus of well-known Muslim doubters like Ibn al-Rawandi, and al-Warraq. Instead they often focused on questioning the legitimacy of the existence of prophets.  Their accusations would inevitably cause people to question if they are actually believers or not, which in turn directly connects to the first question. These questions are one of the same because the religion of Islam is based on the teachings of Muhammad, the last prophet. If someone doesn’t believe in prophecy, they obviously cannot claim that they are Muslim without being deemed a heretic.
Ibn al-Rawandi was one of the most notorious heretics of prophecy. He was born in Marwarrudh about the year 815 A.D He joined the Mutazila of Baghdad. The Mutazila is the name of a main sect of the Muslim world that believes the essence of God was justice. When he was almost 40, he became estranged from his fellow Mutazilites. He later began to question the Islamic beliefs. He wrote many works demonstrating his beliefs and questions. Some sources describe him as an outspoken heretic (supposedly Muslim, but adheres to non-orthodox beliefs) and others present him as neutral.  Many people questioned whether he was an Aristotelian philosopher or a radical atheist. He was indeed a heretic, but many people have argued about to what degree. He supported the eternity of the world, agreeing with Aristotle. This meant that he believed that God did not create the world. Although, al-Rawandi claimed to be Muslim he took on such harsh and non-Muslim positions such as, “against the idea that God is wise,” “against the Quran,”  “against Muhammad,” and “against all prophets.”  These few strong positions are what surrounded his beliefs.
Al-Rawandi’s most infamous book is known as The Zumurrud, or The Book of Emerald, it was directed against prophecy. The book is a conversation between him and al-Warraq, who was his mentor and friend. Al- Warraq also criticized the existence of prophecy. Many Islamic scholars argue about which one of them really wrote it, but most researchers believe that it was the recorded conversation between Al-Rawandi and Al-Warraq written by Al-Rawandi. It has been said that Al-Rawandi presents himself as the defender against prophecy and Al-Warraq as the heretic. This is not to confuse people about his true beliefs against prophecy, it has been said that the book is him presenting his own views in which he no longer holds. The conversation is supposedly the recorded account of the conversation in which Al-Warraq changed Al-Rawandi’s views and made him begin to criticize the Quran and question the prophets. Although, Al-Warraq claimed he was Muslim, many sources refer to him as a Manichaean, in which Al-Rawandi also criticized their beliefs. However, it is more than likely that they both agreed on the criticism of the Quran that The Zumurrud contained.  The book contained arguments both for and against the existence of prophets.
In the book al-Rawandi mentions the miracles of the prophets Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, but says that they were magicians and liars who performed great tricks. The Zumurrud also discussed Quranic beliefs, attempting to point out their logical flaws and to call into question the Muslim tradition about the circumstances of their revelation. The discussions also touched on other issues, such as the validity of Muslim tradition and the Prophet's alleged miracles.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Bertrand Russell Post 3

Bertrand Russell:
The wars and later life
During the First World War, Russell was one of the very few people to engage in active pacifist activities, and in 1916, he was dismissed from Trinity College following his conviction under the Defence of the Realm Act.

He was charged a fine of £100, which he refused to pay, hoping that he would be sent to prison, However, his books were sold at auction to raise the money. The books were bought by friends; he later treasured his copy of the King James Bible that was stamped "Confiscated by Cambridge Police."

Russell was released from prison in September 1918. He was reinstated in 1919, resigned in 1920, was Tarner Lecturer 1926, and became a Fellow again 1944–1949. A later conviction for publicly lecturing against inviting the US to enter the war on Britain's side resulted in six months' imprisonment in Brixton prison.
"To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead."

In August 1920 Russell travelled to Russia as part of an official delegation sent by the British government to investigate the effects of the Russian Revolution. He met Vladimir Lenin and had an hour-long conversation with him. In his autobiography, he mentions that he found Lenin rather disappointing, sensing an "impish cruelty" in him and comparing him to "an opinionated professor". He cruised down the Volga on a steamship. Russell's lover, Dora Black, visited Russia independently at the same time—she was enthusiastic about the revolution, but Russell's experiences destroyed his previous tentative support for it. He wrote a book The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism about his experiences on this trip, taken with a group of 24 others from Britain, all of whom came home thinking well of the regime, despite Russell's attempts to change their minds. For example, he told them that he heard shots fired in the middle of the night and was sure these were clandestine executions, but the others maintained that it was only cars backfiring.

Russell subsequently lectured in Beijing on philosophy for one year, accompanied by Dora. He went there with optimism and hope, as China was then on a new path. Other scholars present in China at the time included Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel laureate Indian poet. While in China, Russell became gravely ill with pneumonia, and incorrect reports of his death were published in the Japanese press. When the couple visited Japan on their return journey, Dora notified the world that "Mr. Bertrand Russell, having died according to the Japanese press, is unable to give interviews to Japanese journalists." The press, not appreciating the sarcasm, were not amused.
Dora was six months pregnant when the couple returned to England on 26 August 1921. Russell arranged a hasty divorce from Alys, marrying Dora six days after the divorce was finalized, on 27 September 1921. Their children were John Conrad Russell, 4th Earl Russell, born on 16 November 1921, and Katharine Jane Russell (now Lady Katharine Tait), born on 29 December 1923. Russell supported himself during this time by writing popular books explaining matters of physics, ethics, and education to the layman. Some have suggested that at this point he had an affair with Vivienne Haigh-Wood, first wife of T. S. Eliot.

Together with Dora, he founded the experimental Beacon Hill School in 1927. The school was run from a succession of different locations, including its original premises at the Russells' residence, Telegraph House, near Harting, West Sussex. On 8 July 1930 Dora gave birth to her third child, a daughter, Harriet Ruth. After he left the school in 1932, Dora continued it until 1943.
Upon the death of his elder brother Frank, in 1931, Russell became the 3rd Earl Russell. He once said that his title was primarily useful for securing hotel rooms. Russell's marriage to Dora grew increasingly tenuous, and it reached a breaking point over her having two children with an American journalist, Griffin Barry. They separated in 1932 and finally divorced. On 18 January 1936, Russell married his third wife, an Oxford undergraduate named Patricia ("Peter") Spence, who had been his children's governess since 1930. Russell and Peter had one son, Conrad Sebastian Robert Russell, 5th Earl Russell, who became a prominent historian and one of the leading figures in the Liberal Democratic party.
"If one lived for ever the joys of life would inevitably in the end lose their savour. As it is, they remain perennially fresh."

During the 1930s, Russell became a close friend and collaborator of V.K. Krishna Menon, then secretary of the India League, the foremost lobby for Indian independence in Great Britain.
 Russell opposed rearmament against Nazi Germany, but in 1940 changed his view that avoiding a full scale world war was more important than defeating Hitler. He concluded that Adolf Hitler taking over all of Europe would be a permanent threat to democracy. In 1943, he adopted a stance toward large-scale warfare, "Relative Political Pacifism": war was always a great evil, but in some particularly extreme circumstances, it may be the lesser of two evils.

Before the Second World War, Russell taught at the University of Chicago, later moving on to Los Angeles to lecture at the UCLA Department of Philosophy. He was appointed professor at the City College of New York in 1940, but after a public outcry, the appointment was annulled by a court judgement: his opinions (especially those relating to sexual morality, detailed in Marriage and Morals ten years earlier) made him "morally unfit" to teach at the college. The protest was started by the mother of a student who would not have been eligible for his graduate-level course in mathematical logic. Many intellectuals, led by John Dewey, protested against his treatment. Albert Einstein's often-quoted aphorism that "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds ... " originated in his open letter in support of Russell, during this time. Dewey and Horace M. Kallen edited a collection of articles on the CCNY affair in The Bertrand Russell Case. He soon joined the Barnes Foundation, lecturing to a varied audience on the history of philosophy; these lectures formed the basis of A History of Western Philosophy. His relationship with the eccentric Albert C. Barnes soon soured, and he returned to Britain in 1944 to rejoin the faculty of Trinity College.
During the 1940s and 1950s, Russell participated in many broadcasts over the BBC, particularly The Brains Trust and the Third Programme, on various topical and philosophical subjects. By this time Russell was world famous outside of academic circles, frequently the subject or author of magazine and newspaper articles, and was called upon to offer opinions on a wide variety of subjects, even mundane ones. En route to one of his lectures in Trondheim, Russell was one of 24 survivors (among a total of 43 passengers) in an aeroplane crash in Hommelvik in October 1948. He said he owed his life to smoking since the people who drowned were in the non-smoking part of the plane. A History of Western Philosophy (1945) became a best-seller, and provided Russell with a steady income for the remainder of his life.
"Every man would like to be God, if it were possible; some few find it difficult to admit the impossibility."

In a speech in 1948, Russell said that if the USSR's aggression continued, it would be morally worse to go to war after the USSR possessed an atomic bomb than before it possessed one, because if the USSR had no bomb the West's victory would come more swiftly and with fewer casualties than if there were atom bombs on both sides. At that time, only the United States possessed an atomic bomb, and the USSR was pursuing an extremely aggressive policy towards the countries in Eastern Europe which it was absorbing into its sphere of influence. Many understood Russell's comments to mean that Russell approved of a first strike in a war with the USSR, including Nigel Lawson, who was present when Russell spoke. Others, including Griffin, who obtained a transcript of the speech, have argued that he was merely explaining the usefulness of America's atomic arsenal in deterring the USSR from continuing its domination of Eastern Europe.

In 1948, Russell was invited by the BBC to deliver the inaugural Reith Lectures what was to become an annual series of lectures, still broadcast by the BBC. His series of six broadcasts, titled Authority and the Individual, explored themes such as the role of individual initiative in the development of a community and the role of state control in a progressive society. Russell continued to write about philosophy. He wrote a foreword to Words and Things by Ernest Gellner, which was highly critical of the later thought of Ludwig Wittgenstein and of Ordinary language philosophy. Gilbert Ryle refused to have the book reviewed in the philosophical journal Mind, which caused Russell to respond via The Times. The result was a month-long correspondence in The Times between the supporters and detractors of ordinary language philosophy, which was only ended when the paper published an editorial critical of both sides but agreeing with the opponents of ordinary language philosophy.

In the King's Birthday Honours of 9 June 1949, Russell was awarded the Order of Merit, and the following year he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. When he was given the Order of Merit, King George VI was affable but slightly embarrassed at decorating a former jailbird, saying that "You have sometimes behaved in a manner that would not do if generally adopted." Russell merely smiled, but afterwards claimed that the reply "That's right, just like your brother" immediately came to mind.
In 1952 Russell was divorced by Spence, with whom he had been very unhappy. Conrad, Russell's son by Spence, did not see his father between the time of the divorce and 1968 (at which time his decision to meet his father caused a permanent breach with his mother).