Bertrand Russell Quotes

Quotes tagged as "bertrand-russell" Showing 1-30 of 33
Bertrand Russell
“It is the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.”
Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell
“Some care is needed in using Descartes' argument. "I think, therefore I am" says rather more than is strictly certain. It might seem as though we are quite sure of being the same person to-day as we were yesterday, and this is no doubt true in some sense. But the real Self is as hard to arrive at as the real table, and does not seem to have that absolute, convincing certainty that belongs to particular experiences.”
Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy

Bertrand Russell
“Morality in sexual relations, when it is free from superstition, consists essentially in respect for the other person, and unwillingness to use that person solely as a means of personal gratification, without regard to his or her desires.”
Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell
“When you come to look into this argument from design, it is a most astonishing thing that people can believe that this world, with all the things that are in it, with all its defects, should be the best that omnipotence and omniscience have been able to produce in millions of years. I really cannot believe it. Do you think that, if you were granted omnipotence and omniscience and millions of years in which to perfect your world, you could produce nothing better than the Ku Klux Klan or the Fascists? Moreover, if you accept the ordinary laws of science, you have to suppose that human life and life in general on this planet will die out in due course: it is a stage in the decay of the solar system; at a certain stage of decay you get the sort of conditions of temperature and so forth which are suitable to protoplasm, and there is life for a short time in the life of the whole solar system. You see in the moon the sort of thing to which the earth is tending -- something dead, cold, and lifeless.”
Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell
“The centre of me is always and eternally in terrible pain ... A searching for something beyond what the world contains, something transfiguring and infinite.”
Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell
“I dislike Nietzsche because he likes the contemplation of pain, because he erects conceit into a duty, because the men whom he most admires are conquerors, whose glory is cleverness in causing men to die.”
Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy

Gregory Bateson
“Earlier fundamental work of Whitehead, Russell, Wittgenstein, Carnap, Whorf, etc., as well as my own attempt to use this earlier thinking as an epistemological base for psychiatric theory, led to a series of generalizations: That human verbal communication can operate and always does operate at many contrasting levels of abstraction. These range in two directions from the seemingly simple denotative level (“The cat is on the mat”). One range or set of these more abstract levels includes those explicit or implicit messages where the subject of discourse is the language. We will call these metalinguistic (for example, “The verbal sound ‘cat’ stands for any member of such and such class of objects”, or “The word, ‘cat’ has no fur and cannot scratch”). The other set of levels of abstraction we will call metacommunicative (e.g., “My telling you where to find the cat was friendly”, or “This is play”). In these, the subject of discourse is the relationship between the speakers. It will be noted that the vast majority of both metalinguistic and metacommunicative messages remain implicit; and also that, especially in the psychiatric interview, there occurs a further class of implicit messages about how metacommunicative messages of friendship and hostility are to be interpreted.”
Gregory Bateson

Bertrand Russell
“All that alcohol does for them is to liberate the sense of sin, which reason suppresses in saner moments.”
Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness

Bertrand Russell
“A truly scientific philosophy will be more humble, more piecemeal, more arduous, offering less glitter of outward mirage to flatter fallacious hopes, but more indifferent to fate, and more capable of accepting the world without the tyrannous imposition of our human and temporary demands.”
Bertrand Russell, Mysticism and Logic

Apostolos Doxiadis
“Well, the Dean has asked me to speak on "The Role of Logic in Human Affairs". Of course, if I take the injunction literally you shall hear the shortest lecture in recorded history!”
Apostolos Doxiadis, Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth

J. Robert Oppenheimer
Bertrand Russell had given a talk on the then new quantum mechanics, of whose wonders he was most appreciative. He spoke hard and earnestly in the New Lecture Hall. And when he was done, Professor Whitehead, who presided, thanked him for his efforts, and not least for 'leaving the vast darkness of the subject unobscured'.”
J. Robert Oppenheimer, The Open Mind

Noam Chomsky
“I remember the philosopher Bertrand Russell was asked why he spent his time protesting against nuclear war and getting arrested on demonstrations. Why didn’t he continue to work on the serious philosophical and logical problems which have major intellectual significance? And his answer was pretty good. He said: “Look, if I and others like me only work on those problems, there won’t be anybody around to appreciate it or be interested.”
Chomsky Noam

Apostolos Doxiadis
“when Logic congeals into all-encompassing and perfect-seeming theories, then it can actually become a very evil con trick. Wittgenstein has a point, you see: 'All the facts of science are not enough to understand the world's meaning!”
Apostolos Doxiadis, Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth

Bertrand Russell
“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth
-- more than ruin
-- more even than death....
Thought is subversive and revolutionary,
destructive and terrible,
thought is merciless to privilege,
established institutions,
and comfortable habit.
Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid.
Thought is great and swift and free,
the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.”
Bertrand Russell, The Quotable Bertrand Russell

Jacob Bronowski
“Russell is reputed at a dinner party once to have said, ‘Oh, it is useless talking about inconsistent things, from an inconsistent proposition you can prove anything you like.’ Well, it is very easy to show this by mathematical means. But, as usual, Russell was much cleverer than this. Somebody at the dinner table said, 'Oh, come on!’ He said, 'Well, name an inconsistent proposition,’ and the man said, 'Well, what shall we say, 2 = 1.’ 'All right,’ said Russell, 'what do you want me to prove?’ The man said, 'I want you to prove that you’re the pope.’ 'Why,’ said Russell, 'the pope and I are two, but two equals one, therefore the pope and I are one.”
Jacob Bronowski, The Origins of Knowledge and Imagination

Bertrand Russell
“A strange mystery it is that Nature, omnipotent but blind, in the revolutions of her secular hurryings through the abysses of space, has brought forth at last a child subject still to her power but gifted with sight, with knowledge of good and evil, with the capacity of judging all the works of his unthinking mother.”
Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects

Eric Schlosser
“Support for a first strike extended far beyond the upper ranks of the U.S. military. Bertrand Russell—the British philosopher and pacifist, imprisoned for his opposition to the First World War—urged the western democracies to attack the Soviet Union before it got an atomic bomb. Russell acknowledged that a nuclear strike on the Soviets would be horrible, but “anything is better than submission.” Winston Churchill agreed, proposing that the Soviets be given an ultimatum: withdraw your troops from Germany, or see your cities destroyed. Even Hamilton Holt, lover of peace, crusader for world government, lifelong advocate of settling disputes through mediation and diplomacy and mutual understanding, no longer believed that sort of approach would work. Nuclear weapons had changed everything, and the Soviet Union couldn’t be trusted. Any nation that rejected U.N. control of atomic energy, Holt said, “should be wiped off the face of the earth with atomic bombs.”
Eric Schlosser, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety

Apostolos Doxiadis
“The oldest story around: Instinct, Emotion, and Habit get the better of human beings.”
Apostolos Doxiadis, Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth

Alfred North Whitehead
“Russell is a Platonic dialogue in himself.”
Alfred North Whitehead, Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead

“McGrath briefly notes Bertrand Russell's Why I am not a Christian, and J. J. C. Smart gets a single mention, as does Adolf Grünbaum, but the other major defenders of philosophical atheism of the last half-century do not even merit a nod. His index contains no listings for Antony Flew, Wallace Matson, Kai Nielsen, Richard Gale, William L. Rowe, Michael Martin, J. L. Mackie, Daniel Dennett, Evan Fales, Michael Tooley, Quentin Smith, Jordan Howard Sobel, Robin Le Poidevin, Theodore Drange, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Nicholas Everitt, J. L. Schellenberg, or Graham Oppy.”
Keith Parsons

Bertrand Russell
“The deeply irrational attitude of each sex toward women may be seen in novels, particularly in bad novels. In bad novels by men, there is the woman with whom the author is in love, who usually possesses every charm, but is somewhat helpless, and requires male protection; sometimes, however, like Shakespeare’s Cleopatra, she is an object of exasperated hatred, and is thought to be deeply and desperately wicked. In portraying the heroine, the male author does not write from observation, but merely objectifies his own emotions. In regard to his other female characters, he is more objective, and may even depend upon his notebook; but when he is in love, his passion makes a mist between him and the object of his devotion. Women novelists, also, have two kinds of women in their books. One is themselves, glamorous and kind, and object of lust to the wicked and of love to the good, sensitive, highsouled, and constantly misjudged. The other kind is represented by all other women, and is usually portrayed as petty, spiteful, cruel, and deceitful. It would seem that to judge women without bias is not easy either for men or for women.”
Bertrand Russell, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish: A Hilarious Catalogue of Organized and Individual Stupidity

Robert Graves
“Bertrand Russell, too old for military service, but an ardent pacifist (a rare combination), turned sharply on me one afternoon and asked: ‘Tell me, if a company of your men were brought along to break a strike of munition makers, and the munition makers refused to go back to work, would you order the men to fire?’
‘Yes, if everything else failed. It would be no worse than shooting Germans, really.’
He asked in surprise: ‘Would your men obey you?’
‘They loathe munition-workers, and would be only too glad of a chance to shoot a few. They think that they’re all skrim-shankers.’
‘But they realize that the war’s all wicked nonsense?’
‘Yes, as well as I do.’
He could not understand my attitude.”
Robert Graves, Goodbye to All That

Phillip Adams
“I've spent a life-time attacking religious beliefs and have not wavered from a view of the universe that many would regard as bleak. Namely, that it is a meaningless place devoid of deity.

However I'm unwilling simply to repeat the old arguments of the past when, in fact, God is a moving target and is taking all sorts of new shapes and forms. The arguments used against the long bow are not particularly useful when debating nuclear weapons, and the simple arguments against the old model gods are not sufficient when dealing with the likes of Davies et al.

For example, the notion that God didn't exist, doesn't exist but may come into existence through the spread of consciousness throughout the universe is too clever to be pooh-poohed along Bertrand Russell lines. And if I had the time I could give you half a dozen other scientific theologies that will need snappier footwork from the atheist of the future.”
Phillip Adams

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“But I return to that terrible statement of Bertrand Russell's: "Better Red than dead." Why did he not say it would be better to be brown than dead? There is no difference. All my life and the life of my generation, the life of those who share my views, we all have had one viewpoint: Better to be dead than to be a scoundrel. In this horrible expression of Bertrand Russell's there is an absence of all moral criteria. Looked at from a short distance, these words allow one to maneuver and to continue to enjoy life. But from a long term point of view it will undoubtedly destroy those people who think like that.”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Warning to the West

Bertrand Russell
“The world of universals, therefore, may also be described as the world of being. The world of being is unchangeable, rigid, exact, delightful to the mathematician, the logician, the builder of metaphysical systems, and all who love perfection more than life. The world of existence is fleeting, vague, without sharp boundaries, without any clear plan or arrangement, but it contains all thoughts and feelings, all the data of sense, and all physical objects, everything that can do either good or harm, everything that makes any difference to the value of life and the world. According to our temperaments, we shall prefer the contemplation of the one or of the other. The one we do not prefer will probably seem to us a pale shadow of the one we prefer, and hardly worthy to be regarded as in any sense real. But the truth is that both have the same claim on our impartial attention, both are real, and both are important to the metaphysician.”
Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy

Joan Fuster
“Creieu-me, que és una recomanació feta de tot cor. Llegiu Bertrand Russell. No és un filòsof, és un desinfectant.”
Joan Fuster

J.K. Rowling
“...what about the stone, Mr Lovegood? The thing you call the Resurrection Stone?"
"What of it?"
"Well, how can that be real?"
"Prove that it is not," said Xenophilius.
Hermione looked outraged.
"But that's—I'm sorry, but that's completely ridiculous! How can I possibly prove it doesn't exist? Do you expect me to get hold of—of all the pebbles in the world, and test them? I mean, you could claim that anything's real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody's proved it doesn't exist!”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

“De toneelschool waar ik in 1969 een jaar lang de afwas deed bevond zich in een oud kasteel in Devon, Dartington Hall, ooit een buiten van Hendrik de Achtste. Dartington was niet de ideale tussenstop op weg naar een filosofische faculteit. Het was onder meer een beroemde kostschool die werd bevolkt door een heerlijke troep artistiekerige jongelui die zichzelf te 'gevoelig' achtten voor zoiets 'rationeels' als de filosofie. Zij waren allemaal kunstenaars in de dop en geloofden heilig in het verschil tussen voelen en denken. Zij dansten, musiceerden en schilderden. Ik waste af. En 's avonds keken we allemaal naar de sterren.
Ik wilde niet afwassen, ik wilde filosofie studeren, maar ik kende niemand die mij kon helpen of adviseren. In mijn onwetendheid had ik een boek van Karl Jaspers uit Nederland meegenomen: een Aula-pocket met de titel 'Kant'. Wat een teleurstelling. Ik kon het niet volgen en begon me een beetje grimmig te voelen tegenover die ongenaakbare citadel van filosofie, waarbinnen men naar ik hoopte aan de diepste vragen over mens, god en wereld sleutelde, zonder mij er evenwel in te laten. Ik kon tenminste nergens een toegang ontdekken en bleef buiten staan mokken, totdat ik op een dag in de familiebibliotheek in Darlington Russells 'History of Western Philosophy' ontdekte en voor onbeperkte tijd mocht lenen.
UIt de sombere burcht die ik had opgedroomd, kwam deze opgewekte man naar buiten drentelen en met één handgebaar veegde hij mijn verongelijktheid weg. Met die ondeugende jongensachtige scherpte die het kenmerk is van zijn schrijven en denken, neemt Russell zijn lezers mee op een onvergetelijke reis door vijfentwintig eeuwen westerse filosofie. Je leest hem zo graag omdat je je steeds van zijn aanwezigheid bewust bent, terwijl hij Plato, Augustinus of Descartes voor je uitlegt. Afgezien van al die filosofen, kom je in dit boek vooral ook Bertrand Russell tegen en dat is een onvergetelijke ontmoetong.”
Bert Keizer, Vroeger waren we onsterfelijk

Bertrand Russell
“Among the objections to the reality of objects of sense, there is one which is derived from the apparent difference between matter as it appears in physics and things as they appear in sensation. Men of science, for the most part, are willing to condemn immediate data as "merely subjective," while yet maintaining the truth of the physics inferred from those data. But such an attitude, though it may be *capable* of justification, obviously stands in need of it; and the only justification possible must be one which exhibits matter as a logical construction from sense-data―unless, indeed, there were some wholly *a priori* principle by which unknown entities could be inferred from such as are known. It is therefore necessary to find some way of bridging the gulf between the world of physics and the world of sense, and it is this problem which will occupy us in the present lecture. Physicists appear to be unconscious of the gulf, while psychologists, who are conscious of it, have not the mathematical knowledge required for spanning it. The problem is difficult, and I do not know its solution in detail. All that I can hope to do is to make the problem felt, and to indicate the kind of methods by which a solution is to be sought."

―from_Our Knowledge of the External World_, p. 107.”
Betrand Russell

Bertrand Russell
“O universo, até onde o conhecemos pela filosofia da natureza, não é bom nem mau, nem se ocupa em nos fazer felizes ou infelizes. Todas essas filosofias nascem da presunção humana e são bem corrigidas por um pouco de astronomia.”
Bertrand Russell, What I Believe

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