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Unpopular Essays Unpopular Essays by Bertrand Russell
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Unpopular Essays Quotes Showing 1-15 of 15
“Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.”
Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays
“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.”
Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays
“Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.”
Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays
“Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.”
Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays
“Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false.”
Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays
“Man is a rational animal. So at least we have been told. Throughout a long life I have searched diligently for evidence in favor of this statement. So far, I have not had the good fortune to come across it.”
Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays
“Not all superstitions are dark and cruel. I once received a communication from the god Osiris. He was living at that time in a suburb of Boston.”
Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays
“The demand for certainty is one which is natural to man, but is nevertheless an intellectual vice. ... So long as men are not trained to withhold judgment in the absence of evidence, they will be led astray by cocksure prophets, and it is likely that their leaders will be either ignorant fanatics or dishonest charlatans. To endure uncertainty is difficult, but so are most of the other virtues.”
Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays
“When I was young, most teachers of philosophy in British and American universities were Hegelians, so that, until I read Hegel, I supposed there must be some truth to his system; I was cured, however, by discovering that everything he said on the philosophy of mathematics was plain nonsense.”
Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays
“Aristotle could have avoided the mistake of thinking that women have fewer teeth than men, by the simple device of asking Mrs. Aristotle to keep her mouth open while he counted.”
Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays
“The demand for certainty is one which is natural to man, but is nevertheless an intellectual vice. [...] To endure uncertainty is difficult, but so are most of the other virtues.”
Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays
“In a man whose reasoning powers are good, fallacious arguments are evidence of bias.”
Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays
“Every advance in civilization has been denounced as unnatural while it was recent.”
Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays
“A word as to the title. In the preface of my Human Knowledge I said that I was writing not only for professional philosophers, and that 'philosophy proper deals with matters of interest to the general educated public.' Reviewers took me to task, saying they found parts of the book difficult, and implying that my words were such as to mislead purchasers. I do not wish to expose myself again to this charge; I will therefore confess that there are several sentences in the present volume which some unusually stupid children of ten might find a little puzzling. On this ground I do not claim that the essays are popular; and if not popular, then 'unpopular.”
Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays
“The demand for certainty is one which is natural to man, but is nevertheless an intellectual vice. So long as men are not trained to withhold judgment in the absence of evidence, they will be led astray by cocksure prophets, and it is likely that their leaders will be either ignorant fanatics or dishonest charlatans. To endure uncertainty is difficult, but so are most of the other virtues."

“Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, is false.”
Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays