Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell

English mathematician, philosopher
18 May 1872 — 2 February 1970

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Bertrand Russell's books

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The opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists; indeed the passion is the measure of the holders lack of rational conviction. Opinions in politics and religion are almost always held passionately.

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

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.

Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.

There are two motives for reading a book; one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it.

Unless we can know something without knowing everything, it is obvious that we can never know something.

We know very little, and yet it is astonishing that we know so much, and still more astonishing that so little knowledge can give us so much power.

Science is what you know. Philosophy is what you don't know.

We have in fact, two kinds of morality, side by side: one which we preach, but do not practice, and another which we practice, but seldom preach.

Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim.

Boredom is a vital problem for the moralist, since at least half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.

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Happiness is not best achieved by those who seek it directly.

Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.

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

The point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it.

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