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Bertrand Russell on Eugenics

John V. Day


Published: 2015/03/01


This brief essay takes a look at Bertrand Russell (1872–1970), the English philosopher and social reformer, and his ideas about eugenics and dysgenics. It is evident from his works that like many other leading thinkers and social reformers of his time, Russell recognized the importance of genetics for human welfare and was deeply concerned about the dysgenic trends that he observed in his time. He included eugenics as an integral part of his moral philosophy and never abandoned the belief in its importance, although he grew increasingly skeptical of some forms of genetic explanation and concerned about the realworld contexts of eugenic policies in his later years.

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