Bertrand Russell quotes

“What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.”

— Bertrand Russell

“Freedom of opinion can only exist when the government thinks itself secure.”

— Bertrand Russell

“Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power.”

— Bertrand Russell

“Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons.”

— Bertrand Russell

“When the intensity of emotional conviction subsides, a man who is in the habit of reasoning will search for logical grounds in favour of the belief which he finds in himself.”

— Bertrand Russell

“There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths.”

— Bertrand Russell

“The degree of one's emotions varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts.”

— Bertrand Russell

“To acquire immunity to eloquence is of the utmost importance to the citizens of a democracy.”

— Bertrand Russell

“Awareness of universals is called conceiving, and a universal of which we are aware is called a concept.”

— Bertrand Russell

“Every philosophical problem, when it is subjected to the necessary analysis and justification, is found either to be not really philosophical at all, or else to be, in the sense in which we are using the word, logical.”

— Bertrand Russell

“Liberty is the right to do what I like; license, the right to do what you like.”

— Bertrand Russell

“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

“It seems to be the fate of idealists to obtain what they have struggled for in a form which destroys their ideals.”

— Bertrand Russell

“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

“Mathematics takes us into the region of absolute necessity, to which not only the actual word, but every possible word, must conform.”

— Bertrand Russell

“Order, unity, and continuity are human inventions, just as truly as catalogues and encyclopedias.”

— Bertrand Russell

“The coward wretch whose hand and heart Can bear to torture aught below, Is ever first to quail and start From the slightest pain or equal foe.”

— Bertrand Russell

“The fundamental defect of fathers, in our competitive society, is that they want their children to be a credit to them.”

— Bertrand Russell

“Almost everything that distinguishes the modern world from earlier centuries is attributable to science, which achieved its most spectacular triumphs in the seventeenth century.”

— Bertrand Russell

“I do not pretend to start with precise questions. I do not think you can start with anything precise. You have to achieve such precision as you can, as you go along.”

— Bertrand Russell

“Next to enjoying ourselves, the next greatest pleasure consists in preventing others from enjoying themselves, or, more generally, in the acquisition of power.”

— Bertrand Russell

“No; we have been as usual asking the wrong question. It does not matter a hoot what the mockingbird on the chimney is singing. The real and proper question is: Why is it beautiful?”

— Bertrand Russell

“Right discipline consists, not in external compulsion, but in the habits of mind which lead spontaneously to desirable rather than undesirable activities.”

— Bertrand Russell

“Sin is geographical.”

— Bertrand Russell

“The most savage controversies are about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way.”

— Bertrand Russell

“Admiration of the proletariat, like that of dams, power stations, and aeroplanes, is part of the ideology of the machine age.”

— Bertrand Russell

“Both in thought and in feeling, even though time be real, to realise the unimportance of time is the gate of wisdom.”

— Bertrand Russell

“Freedom comes only to those who no longer ask of life that it shall yield them any of those personal goods that are subject to the mutations of time.”

— Bertrand Russell

“If any philosopher had been asked for a definition of infinity, he might have produced some unintelligible rigmarole, but he would certainly not have been able to give a definition that had any meaning at all.”

— Bertrand Russell

“In the revolt against idealism, the ambiguities of the word experience have been perceived, with the result that realists have more and more avoided the word.”

— Bertrand Russell
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