# Bertrand Russell

## A Quote by Bertrand Arthur William Russell on patriotism

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

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## A Quote by Bertrand Arthur William Russell on correction, earth, logic, philosophy, and time

In the first place a philosophical proposition must be general. It must not deal specially with things on the surface of the earth, or within the solar system, or with any other portion of space and time. . . . This brings us to a second characteristic of philosophical propositions, namely that they must be a priori. A philosophical proposition must be such as can neither be proved nor disproved by empirical evidence. . . . Philosophy, if what has been said is correct, becomes indistinguishable from logic as that word has now come to be used.

Source: On Scientific Method in Philosophy, Russell

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## A Quote by Bertrand Arthur William Russell on belief, paradox, philosophy, simplicity, and worth

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.

Source: The Philosophy of Logical Atomism

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## A Quote by Bertrand Arthur William Russell on politicians

If you call your opponent a politician, it's grounds for libel.

Source: 1990

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## A Quote by Bertrand Arthur William Russell on honesty and theft

The method of "postulating" what we want has many advantages; they are the same as the advantages of theft over honest toil.

Source: Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, New York and London, 1919, p 71.

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## A Quote by Bertrand Arthur William Russell on achievement, science, and world

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

Source: Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy, Allen & Unwin, London, 1979, p 512.

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## A Quote by Bertrand Arthur William Russell on belief, choice, clarity, confession, decisions, impossibility, inclusion, language, logic, problems, questions, sharing, truth, virtue, work, and writers

It seems clear that there must be some way of defining logic otherwise than in relation to a particular logical language. The fundamental characteristic of logic, obviously, is that which is indicated when we say that logical propositions are true in virtue of their form. The question of demonstrability cannot enter in, since every proposition which, in one system, is deduced from the premises, might, in another system, be itself taken as a premise. If the proposition is complicated, this is inconvenient, but it cannot be impossible. All the propositions that are demonstrable in any admissible logical system must share with the premises the property of being true in virtue of their form; and all propositions which are true in virtue of their form ought to be included in any adequate logic. Some writers, for example Carnap in his "Logical Syntax of Language," treat the whole matter as being more a matter of linguistic choice than I can believe it to be. In the above mentioned work, Carnap has two logical languages, one of which admits the multiplicative axiom and the axiom of infinity, while the other does not. I cannot myself regard such a matter as one to be decided by our arbitrary choice. It seems to me that these axioms either do, or do not, have the characteristic of formal truth which characterises logic, and that in the former event every logic must include them, while in the latter every logic must exclude them. I confess, however, that I am unable to give any clear account of what is meant by saying that a proposition is "true in virtue of its form." But this phrase, inadequate as it is, points, I think, to the problem which must be solved if an adequate definition of logic is to be found.

Source: the Introduction to the second edition of The Principles of Mathematics, Russell

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## A Quote by Bertrand Arthur William Russell on life and possessions

It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.

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## A Quote by Bertrand Arthur William Russell on facts, kindness, and universe

It can be shown that a mathematical web of some kind can be woven about any universe containing several objects. The fact that our universe lends itself to mathematical treatment is not a fact of any great philosophical significance.

Source: W.H.Auden and L.Kronenberger (eds.) The Viking Book of Aphorisms, NY:Viking Press, 1966.

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## A Quote by Bertrand Arthur William Russell on needs and statistics

If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.

Source: N. T. J. Bailey Mathematical Approach to Biology and Medicine, New York: Wiley, 1967.

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