To an audience of Parisians, in 1950, Bertrand Russell insisted that the philosophy of Hegel (which he had always said he could not understand) was responsible for German fascism: it was Hegel, not Gobineau, Haeckel, or Stewart Chamberlain who had fathered Hitler. The French, among whom there were not a few philosophers, were by no means delighted— the works of Hippolyte and Kojeve on Hegel were then enjoying a vogue in Paris—and when the time for questioning Russell came, Aimee Patri asked him: “Aren’t you making philosophy much too important?” To which Russell responded: “No, for I’ve been talking about bad philosophy. One can’t overrate the power of nonsense.”
The incident is intere...
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