Russell's Defence of Idleness
Russell has a famous defence of idleness. But I argue that he was not supporting idleness as such. Russell valued the active and productive life. He was instead attacking overwork and defending leisure, where such leisure is used productively to contribute to civilization. This paper oﬀers a critique of Russell’s argument on the grounds that it is diﬃcult to sustain a distinction between activities that do and do not contribute to civilization. The questions are then addressed of whether purely inactive idleness can be defended, whether it would be sensible to follow Russell’s advocated work pattern, and whether work is always something bad.