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Mysticism and Logic: And Other Essays

Bertrand Russell

Known widely as a political and social activist, Bertrand Russell was one of the most important philosophers of the 20th Century. Widely referenced, quoted and respected, Russell wrote on most areas of philosophy, but is arguably most revered for his advocacy of science and reason. Mysticism and Logic showcases this depth and breadth of thought by bringing together a selection of his writing on various subjects. Bite size commentaries from one of humanities greatest thinkers, on subjects as diverse as religion and maths and, of course, mysticism and logic.

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

Mary Wollstonecraft

Wollstonecraft's landmark text may often be forgotten amidst the heroic actions of the suffragettes over 100 years later, but the effect it had can not be underestimated. At a time when women were far from equals, Wollstonecraft helped to make the intellectual case for equality that underpinned eventual social change. Today - like in the works of many classics - Wollstonecraft's ideas may not appear particularly groundbreaking, but at the time they were radical. She was not alone in making the claim for women's rights, at a time when women were deemed as property, but she did provide us one of the finest examples of moral bravery through literature. It was these kinds of ideas that provided a platform for real social change.

Candide

Voltaire

Voltaire's masterpiece, first published in 1759, tells the fictional tale of the unluckiest title character in the world, Candide, amidst lashings of sarcasm and insight. Written originally as a satire against the Leibnizian dogma that 'all is for the best', Candide has stood the test of time as a scathing, humorous and entertaining put down from one of history's wittiest philosophers. Written in a style which still resonates today, Candide is one of the finest examples of philosophy for a mainstream audience. Its cements Voltaire's place as one of the original masters of pop-philosophy.

On the Origin of Species

Charles Darwin

Originally published in 1859, On the Origin of Species is one of the most important texts ever released. Written by the father of evolutionary theory, Charles Darwin, it not only restructured how we view life on Earth, but also provided an important step in our ability to answer the big questions: namely, 'where did we come from?' Taking over 20 years to write, Darwin considered the finished manuscript to be about half the length he initially intended. He 'rushed' toward the end, due to the similar work of Alfred Russell Wallace which was also due to be released, even limiting the time grieving for the death of his son to 5 days. The work itself is now one of the most famous in history, arguably contributing more to scientific and rationalist thought than any other singular release.