Russell wrote it as a quick and accessible guide to some of the issues of philosophy. The reader is introduced not only to Russell's theories but also those of other philosophers such as Hume, Locke and Kant. The selection of problems concentrates on the theory of knowledge (epistemology) rather than metaphysics. This involves the distinction between types of knowledge, an important part of Russell's philosophy, and to what degree something can truly be known with any certainty.
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Is there any knowledge in the world which is so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it? This question, which at first sight might not seem difficult, is really one of the most difficult that can be asked. When we have realised the obstacles in the way of a straightforward and confident answer, we shall be well launched on the study of philosophy—for philosophy is merely the attempt to answer such ultimate questions, not carelessly and dogmatically, as we do in ordinary life and even in the sciences, but critically, after exploring all that makes such questions puzzling, and after realising all the vagueness and confusion that underlie our ordinary ideas.
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