When one considers that the great philosophers of the twentieth century stand on the shoulders of Bertrand Russell, Alfred North Whitehead, A. J. Ayer, G. E. Moore, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, one has to place Russell in the foreground as the philosophers' philosopher. He writes with clarity and lucidity. His concerns are largely logical and epistemological. And this book centers around his principal concerns.
I doubt that Russell would write this same book today, but I also doubt that he would fundamentally alter the positions he takes, if he were writing today. There is something neat, eloquent, and elegant about his epistemological premises that make this work (well beyond its 17th printing and more than eighty years old) such a venerable treasure trove. Could his positions be better articulated? Yes, but not by much. Would he delve more deeply into logic? Almost certainly. And he does, in other books written during his lifetime.
This book is really for the novice. My only complaint is that the novice will probably remain lost if his readings did not encompass more logic and criticism of rational and empirical epistemology. What makes Russell a true "modern" in contemporary philosophy is his bridge to resolving both the rationalist and empiricist schools of thought. One not knowing these dichotomies might find Russell's resolution difficult to follow. Elsewhere in the book, Russell identifies "three" rules of thought, when these rules are no longer considered all that are extent. Generally, there are seven, sometimes nine, taught in most symbolic logic courses, and this discrepancy may needlessly cause confusion. So while the book is written for the novice, it bears re-reading after covering other contemporary writers.
Russell and the others mentioned above are often associated with logical atomism, either directly or indirectly. Reading Russell or Ayer gives the student the best opportunity to do philosophy whilst learning it first hand. Both are explicit writers with Ayer perhaps having the upper hand. But, as with any philosophical school, such as logical atomism, there is always a counter reaction, and A. L. Austin's "Sense and Sensibility" is just such a reproach. Russell, like Ayer, uses the construct of "sense data" to explain the theory of knowledge; Austin and Gilbert Ryle redress both author's use of such "metaphysical" interpolations, which makes for an interesting contrast. Any reader of Russell or Ayer should counterbalance his reading with Austin's work.
"The Problems of Philosophy" is not without gaps that may leave the reader puzzled by the omissions. Perhaps they weren't as obvious when Russell wrote this book, but they are clearer now in hindsight. An egregious omission is the absence of anything to do with ethics or moral theory. Since ethics is one of the few domains particular to philosophy alone, this omission is particularly troublesome in a book of this name. If I were to title the book, it would be "The Problems of Epistemology."