The Third Earl Russell, generally known as Bertrand Russell (18th May, 1872 - 2nd February, 1970) was an English philosopher and political activist, and one of the founders of the dominant Anglophone strand of academic Western philosophy, the analytical tradition. He was involved in the investigation of number theory and rediscovered the works of the nineteenth century figure Gottlob Frege. He also attempted and failed to establish that mathematics could be reduced to logic. After his death, an extensive unfinished and unpublished work on this matter was discovered among his possessions. After extensive analysis, it was generally agreed that this work was a heroic attempt but ultimately doomed to failure.
Outside the academic community, certain people have attempted to analyse and extend the ideas expressed in the work concerned. These are referred to as the Principialists. Professional philosophers tend to be embarrassed about this work and are not keen to discuss it, though a few have undertaken detailed analyses which aim to demonstrate its inconsistency clearly. The incomplete nature of the manuscript makes such work difficult and disadvantageous to an academic career, since it is associated with the lunatic fringe.
He was also instrumental in the foundation of CND and was active in a number of social concerns of the time.