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Bertrand Russell

  • British philosopher
  • Born May 18, 1872
  • Died February 2, 1970

Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, (; 18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970) was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, essayist, social critic, political activist, and Nobel laureate. At various points in his life, Russell considered himself a liberal, a socialist and a pacifist, although he also confessed that his skeptical nature had led him to feel that he had "never been any of these things, in any profound sense." Russell was born in Monmouthshire into one of the most prominent aristocratic families in the United Kingdom.In the early 20th century, Russell led the British "revolt against idealism".


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




Obscenity is whatever happens to shock some elderly and ignorant magistrate.




The place of the father in the modern suburban family is a very small one, particularly if he plays golf.




In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.




I like mathematics because it is not human and has nothing particular to do with this planet or with the whole accidental universe - because, like Spinoza's God, it won't love us in return.




It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.




A process which led from the amoeba to man appeared to the philosophers to be obviously a progress though whether the amoeba would agree with this opinion is not known.




Democracy is the process by which people choose the man who'll get the blame.

Democracy is the process by which people choose the man who'll get the blame.




Against my will, in the course of my travels, the belief that everything worth knowing was known at Cambridge gradually wore off. In this respect my travels were very useful to me.




Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.




Man needs, for his happiness, not only the enjoyment of this or that, but hope and enterprise and change.




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




Many a man will have the courage to die gallantly, but will not have the courage to say, or even to think, that the cause for which he is asked to die is an unworthy one.




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




Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.




If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have a paradise in a few years.




Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.




One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.




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.




Religions, which condemn the pleasures of sense, drive men to seek the pleasures of power. Throughout history power has been the vice of the ascetic.




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.




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




I've made an odd discovery. Every time I talk to a savant I feel quite sure that happiness is no longer a possibility. Yet when I talk with my gardener, I'm convinced of the opposite.




Extreme hopes are born from extreme misery.




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




Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.




Sin is geographical.




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

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




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




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




None but a coward dares to boast that he has never known fear.




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.




Marriage is for women the commonest mode of livelihood, and the total amount of undesired sex endured by women is probably greater in marriage than in prostitution.




The secret of happiness is this: let your interests be as wide as possible, and let your reactions to the things and persons that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather than hostile.




Indignation is a submission of our thoughts, but not of our desires.




I remain convinced that obstinate addiction to ordinary language in our private thoughts is one of the main obstacles to progress in philosophy.



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