Critical analysis of ‘Philosophy and Politics’ by Bertrand Russell

Introduction : Critical Analysis of the Philosophy and Politics by Bertrand Russell includes the views of Democritus, Plato, Locke & George Hegel. Dogmatism & Imperialism also explained.

General introduction of philosophy

What is philosophy? Philosophy is love for wisdom or knowledge. There are Three branches of philosophy:


Study of knowledge

Ontology/ metaphysics

Study of really real


Study of value

Note:- It is divided into two main parts


Study of moral or values of human behavior


Values in sense, taste or beauty.

Introduction of this essay

Bertrand Russell in his book ‘ Unpopular Essays‘ he wrote this essay. In this essay he attack on the Hegel’s philosophy of dogmatism. And defended the Lock’s philosophy of empiricism.


Russell starts his essay with the philosophic background of England  and Germany. He says that British has produced brilliant philosopher. And British nation holds philosophy as such in dissatisfaction. It is British nation’s attitude towards philosophy. So, the connection between Philosophy and politics is weak in England.

On other hand in Germany, Nazi follows the German idealism. And in Germany the connection between Philosophy and politics is very strong .


Russell finds the origin of empiricism in the work of Democritus. Democritus was a materialist, a free thinker, a utilitarian. Who disliked all strong passions, and a believer in evolution. He said that “poverty under a democracy is better than richness under autocracy”.

Democritus most of the work had been destroyed. And the Epicurus wrote a book, in this book he Change the idea of Democritus. Lucretius Rewrite in verse of Epicurus idea. So, the work of Democritus in real form is not available.


Russell finds the origin of dogmatism in the work of Plato. He was Idealist, monarchy and sport totalitarianism, he also called traitor. Because, a struggle was going on between oligarchy represented by Sparta (Plato’s country). And democracy represented by rest of the Greek. He said Sparta need physical gain and on this base Sparta won this struggle. So, on these basis Plato wrote “Republic”.

Hegel, Lenin and Hitler were the disciple of Plato.


Russell defends the philosophy of Locke. Locke’s philosophy of empiricism suggests a theoretical justification. For democracy, religious toleration, representative institutions, and the limitations of governmental power by the system of checks and balances.

George Hegel (German )

Russell attacks on Hegel’s philosophy and its political consequences. Hegel’s philosophy is that true liberty consists in obedience to an arbitrary authority. And free speech is an evil, absolute monarchy is good, war is desirable. And an international organization for the peaceful settlement of disputes would be a misfortune.

Dogmatism vs. Empiricism

These philosophies are opposite to each other as defined below:


Dogmatism is philosophy in which obedience to an arbitrary authority and free speech is an evil. And absolute monarchy is good and war is desirable. Plato and Hegel were Dogmatists.


Empiricism is philosophy in which limitations of gov’t through system of check and balance. And liberty of speech, religious tolerance and against the war.  Empiricism is opposite to dogmatism. Democritus and Lock were Empiricists.

Russell’s Recommendations

Russell accomplishes this essay by recommending empiricism. On the basis of its greater truth and also on ethical grounds. Empiricism is the only philosophy that can help mankind’s purposes in our times. He strongly condemned the Dogmatism.

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2 thoughts on “Critical analysis of ‘Philosophy and Politics’ by Bertrand Russell”

  1. Pingback: Culture and Imperialism Questions with Short Answers: Said

  2. Sir, your efforts to provide excellent notes for M.A English students are really admirable. But what is students dire demand is solved answers of short questions in Uni of Sargodha especially of last few years; 2016 to 2018.
    No doubt your short questions are much helpful but you have not given latest solved short questions of M.A English part one. So please make it available as soon as possible. Here are some latest short question:
    What are dogmas of religion?
    Russell is called a prophet, why?
    Does Russell believe in Hindu philosophy, why?
    What are dogmas of religion?
    Why does Bacon use “of” before his essays?
    What is another name of sphinx in oedipus rex which oedipus mentions?
    What are other names of Apollo?
    And so on….

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