Thursday Quotation: Bertrand Russell

Sent in by a reader:

“As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one can prove that there is not a God.

On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods.”

Update: I should add that this blog remains open to the pursuit of truth through Natural Law and Right, and is generally skeptical of many forms of collectivist political philosophy that have sprung up since the Enlightenment.  How do you ever prove such a thing?

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3 thoughts on “Thursday Quotation: Bertrand Russell

  1. Was Russell an agnostic or an atheist, a believer or a non-believer, a destinarian or a predestinarian, one who had a soul or did not have a soul? If he was a philosopher, why care what he wrote about theistic terms invented by non-philosophers? He was a mathematician, so what did he think about odds in horse-racing! Or in the mathematical probability that someone in Iceland will be hit by lightning!

  2. Well, the quote is regarding what Russell thought was his ability to prove (or what he thought the odds were as both a mathematician and a philosopher to prove) the existence or non-existence of a Deity, or many deities, or none at all.

    It also deals with how he would explaining such reasoning to the man on the street….you know: non-philosophers.

    Point taken though, Russell has a lot to say about logic, logical principles, probability, etc…so why drag him by quotation into a God debate?

    Well, my friend, my excuse is that this is a blog. I have little other.

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