Bertrand Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell

Bertrand
Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell
1872
1970

British Philosopher, Logician, Mathematician, Historian, Socialist, Pacifist and Social Critic

Author Quotes

We are now again in an epoch of wars of religion, but a religion is now called an "ideology."

Unless a man has been taught what to do with success after getting it, the achievement of it must inevitably leave him a prey to boredom.

To much liberty brings stagnation, and too much brings chaos.

To teach how to live with uncertainty, and yet without being paralyzed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy in our age can still do for those who study it.

To be happy in this world, especially when youth is past, it is necessary to feel oneself not merely an isolated individual whose day will soon be over, but part of the stream of life flowing on from the first germ to the remote and unknown future.

There is no possible method of compelling a child to feel sympathy or affection.

There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.

There is a constant relation between the state of the universe at any instant and the rate of change in the rate at which any part of the universe is changing at that instant, and this relation is man-one, i.e., such that the rate of change in the rate of change is determinate when the state of the universe I given. If the ‘law of causality’ is to be something actually discoverable in the practice of science, the above proposition has a better right to the name than any ‘law of causality’ to be found in the books of philosophers.

There can never be any reason for rejecting one instinctive belief except that it clashes with others. It is of course possible that all or any of our beliefs may be mistaken, and therefore all ought to be held with at least some element of doubt. But we cannot have reason to reject a belief except on the ground of some other belief.

The wise man thinks about his troubles only when there is some purpose in doing so; at other times he thinks about other things.

The value of philosophy is to be sought largely in its very uncertainty. He who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned in the prejudices derived from common sense, from the habitual beliefs of his age or his nation, and from convictions which have grown up in his mind without the cooperation or consent of his deliberate reason. As soon as we begin to philosophize, on the contrary, we find that even the most everyday things lead to problems to which only very incomplete answers can be given. Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thought and free them from the tyranny of custom.

The more purely intellectual aim of education should be the endeavor to make us see and imagine the world in an objective manner as far as possible as it really is in itself, and not merely through the distorting medium of personal desires.

The human heart as modern civilization has made it is more prone to hatred than to friendship. And it is prone to hatred because it is dissatisfied.

The fact that the majority of a community dislikes an opinion gives it no right to interfere with those who hold it. And the fact that the majority of a community wishes not to know certain facts gives it no right to imprison those who wish to know them.

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.

The desire to understand the world and the desire to reform it are the two great engines of progress, without which human society would stand still or retrogress.

The contention that time is unreal and that the world of sense is illusory must, I think, be regarded as based upon fallacious reasoning... Both in thought and in feeling, to realize the unimportance of time is the gate of wisdom.

The average man's opinions are much less foolish than they would be if he thought for himself.

Science is what you know; philosophy is what you don't know.

Real life is, to most men, a long second-best, a perpetual compromise between the ideal and the possible; but the world of pure reason knows no compromise, no practical limitations, no barrier to the creative activity.

Perhaps the most powerful solvent of the pre-scientific outlook has been the first law of motion, which the world owes to Galileo, though to some extent he was anticipated by Leonardo da Vinci. The first law of motion says that a body which is moving will go on moving in the same direction with the same velocity until something stops it.

Not... what opinions are held, but... how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, [liberal] opinions are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment.

Nine-tenths of the appeal of pornography is due to the indecent feelings concerning sex which moralists inculcate in the young; the other tenth is physiological, and will occur in one way or another whatever the state of the law may be.

Mysticism is, in essence, little more than a certain intensity and depth of feeling in regard to what is believed about the universe.

Metaphysics, or the attempt to conceive the world as a whole by means of thought, has been developed, from the first, by the union and conflict of two very different human impulses, the one urging men towards mysticism, the other urging them towards science... But the greatest men who have been philosophers have felt the need both of science and mysticism: the attempt to harmonize the two was what made their life, and what always must, for all its arduous uncertainty, make philosophy, to some minds, a greater thing than either science or religion.

Author Picture
First Name
Bertrand
Last Name
Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell
Birth Date
1872
Death Date
1970
Bio

British Philosopher, Logician, Mathematician, Historian, Socialist, Pacifist and Social Critic