Bertrand Russell

1872 - 1970

A Quote by Bertrand Arthur William Russell on certainty, knowledge, and men

What men really want is not knowledge but certainty.

Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

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A Quote by Bertrand Arthur William Russell on chance and laws

How dare we speak of the laws of chance? Is not chance the antithesis of all law?

Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

Source: Calcul des probabilités.

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A Quote by Bertrand Arthur William Russell on death, fear, life, and love

To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.

Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

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A Quote by Bertrand Arthur William Russell on losing

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It's not what you have lost, but what you have left that counts.

Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

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A Quote by Bertrand Arthur William Russell on god, good, love, and thought

I did not know I loved you until I heard myself telling so, for one instance I thought, "Good God, what have I said?" and then I knew it was true.

Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

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A Quote by Bertrand Arthur William Russell on acceptance, certainty, discovery, expectation, faith, kindness, knowledge, mathematics, people, religion, rest, security, teachers, thought, work, and world

I wanted certainty in the kind of way in which people want religious faith. I thought that certainty is more likely to be found in mathematics than elsewhere. But I discovered that many mathematical demonstrations, which my teachers expected me to accept, were full of fallacies, and that, if certainty were indeed discoverable in mathematics, it would be in a new field of mathematics, with more solid foundations than those that had hitherto been thought secure. But as the work proceeded, I was continually reminded of the fable about the elephant and the tortoise. having constructed an elephant upon which the mathematical world could rest, I found the elephant tottering, and proceeded to construct a tortoise to keep the elephant from falling. But the tortoise was no more secure than the elephant, and after some twenty years of very arduous toil, I came to the conclusion that there was nothing more that I could do in the way of making mathematical knowledge indubitable.

Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

Source: Portraits from Memory.

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A Quote by Bertrand Arthur William Russell on animals, argument, belief, certainty, dogs, life, and plants

"But," you might say, "none of this shakes my belief that 2 and 2 are 4." You are quite right, except in marginal cases - and it is only in marginal cases that you are doubtful whether a certain animal is a dog or a certain length is less than a meter. Two must be two of something, and the proposition "2 and 2 are 4" is useless unless it can be applied. Two dogs and two dogs are certainly four dogs, but cases arise in which you are doubtful whether two of them are dogs. "Well, at any rate there are four animals," you may say. But there are microorganisms concerning which it is doubtful whether they are animals or plants. "Well, then living organisms," you say. But there are things of which it is doubtful whether they are living organisms or not. You will be driven into saying: "Two entities and two entities are four entities." When you have told me what you mean by "entity," we will resume the argument.

Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

Source: N. Rose Mathematical Maxims and Minims, Raleigh NC:Rome Press Inc., 1988.

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A Quote by Bertrand Arthur William Russell on happiness

To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.

Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

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A Quote by Bertrand Arthur William Russell on belief, christ, hell, and punishment

Christ believed in hell. I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment.

Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

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A Quote by Bertrand Arthur William Russell on life and theory

Upon hearing via Littlewood an exposition on the theory of relativity: To think I have spent my life on absolute muck.

Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

Source: J.E. Littlewood, A Mathematician's Miscellany, Methuen and Co. ltd., 1953.

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