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101 Philosophical Quotes From Bertrand Russell

Last Updated: January 3, 2024 by Quote.cc Team

Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, social critic, and Nobel laureate. Born on May 18, 1872, in Trellech, Monmouthshire, he is best known for his work in mathematical logic and analytic philosophy. His most significant contributions include his advocacy for humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought, which earned him the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950 for his various writings championing humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought.

Russell was a prominent anti-war activist and he advocated for nuclear disarmament and campaigned against the Vietnam War. As an educator, Russell was also noted for his work on the philosophy of language, epistemology, and metaphysics, making him one of the founders of the analytic philosophy movement. His famous works include “Principia Mathematica,” co-authored with Alfred North Whitehead, and “A History of Western Philosophy,” which provided a comprehensive overview of Western philosophical thought.

A towering figure in intellectual history, Russell’s influence extends beyond philosophy to various other fields. His life was marked by a passion for uncovering and understanding the truths of the universe and the human condition, making him one of the 20th century’s most important and controversial figures.

Here is a hand-picked collection of the greatest philosophical quotes from tthe renowned British philosopher, mathematician, historian, social critic, and political activist Bertrand Russell.

Bertrand Russell Quotes

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

“War does not determine who is right – only who is left.” – Bertrand Russell

“To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.” – Bertrand Russell

“Science is what you know. Philosophy is what you don’t know.” – Bertrand Russell

“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” – Bertrand Russell

“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.” – Bertrand Russell

“The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.” – Bertrand Russell

“Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.” – Bertrand Russell

“I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.” – Bertrand Russell

“The fundamental cause of trouble in the world is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.” – Bertrand Russell

“Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim.” – Bertrand Russell

“Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do.” – Bertrand Russell

“The secret of happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible, horrible, horrible.” – Bertrand Russell

“The most savage controversies are about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way.” – Bertrand Russell

“Boredom is… a vital problem for the moralist since half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.” – Bertrand Russell

“No one can sit at the bedside of a dying child and still believe in God.” – Bertrand Russell

“It’s easy to stand in the crowd but it takes courage to stand alone.” – Bertrand Russell

“Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.” – Bertrand Russell

“The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.” – Bertrand Russell

“To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.” – Bertrand Russell

“One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.” – Bertrand Russell

“Anything you’re good at contributes to happiness.” – Bertrand Russell

“Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” – Bertrand Russell

“In all affairs, love, religion, politics, or business, it’s a healthy idea, now and then, to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” – Bertrand Russell

“I think the subject which will be of most importance politically is mass psychology.” – Bertrand Russell

“A sense of duty is useful in work but offensive in personal relations.” – Bertrand Russell

“Ethical metaphysics is fundamentally an attempt, however disguised, to give legislative force to our own wishes.” – Bertrand Russell

“The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.” – Bertrand Russell

“The whole of the labor of the world lies on the shoulders of the man who is willing to do it.” – Bertrand Russell

“Obscenity is whatever happens to shock some elderly and ignorant magistrate.” – Bertrand Russell

“We know too much and feel too little. At least we feel too little of those creative emotions from which a good life springs.” – Bertrand Russell

“Most people would rather die than think; many do.” – Bertrand Russell

“Conventional people are roused to fury by departures from convention, largely because they regard such departures as a criticism of themselves.” – Bertrand Russell

“Every man would like to be God, if it were possible; some few find it difficult to admit the impossibility.” – Bertrand Russell

“Patriots always talk of dying for their country and never of killing for their country.” – Bertrand Russell

“A truer image of the world, I think, is obtained by picturing things as entering into the stream of time from an eternal world outside than from picturing them as gradually emerging from chaos.” – Bertrand Russell

“Democracy is the process by which people choose the man who’ll get the blame.” – Bertrand Russell

“In the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.” – Bertrand Russell

“What men want is not knowledge, but certainty.” – Bertrand Russell

“To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization.” – Bertrand Russell

“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.” – Bertrand Russell

“Admiration of the proletariat, like that of dams, power stations, and airplanes, is part of the ideology of the machine age.” – Bertrand Russell

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

“It is the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.” – Bertrand Russell

“The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell.” – Bertrand Russell

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” – Bertrand Russell

“Freedom in general may be defined as the absence of obstacles to the realization of desires.” – Bertrand Russell

“A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.” – Bertrand Russell

“Most of the greatest evil that man has inflicted upon man comes through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false.” – Bertrand Russell

“One should respect public opinion insofar as is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny.” – Bertrand Russell

“Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth’s surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so.” – Bertrand Russell

“I do not pretend to be able to prove that there is no God. I equally cannot prove that Satan is a fiction. The Christian God may exist; so may the gods of Olympus, or of ancient Egypt, or of Babylon. But no one of these hypotheses is more probable than any other: they lie outside the region of even probable knowledge, and therefore there is no reason to consider any of them.” – Bertrand Russell

“Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines.” – Bertrand Russell

“It is the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly.” – Bertrand Russell

“The secret to happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible.” – Bertrand Russell

“The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.” – Bertrand Russell

“Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.” – Bertrand Russell

“Love is something far more than desire for sexual intercourse; it is the principal means of escape from the loneliness which afflicts most men and women throughout the greater part of their lives.” – Bertrand Russell

“It is possible that mankind is on the threshold of a golden age; but, if so, it will be necessary first to slay the dragon that guards the door, and this dragon is religion.” – Bertrand Russell

“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” – Bertrand Russell

“The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” – Bertrand Russell

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

“The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.” – Bertrand Russell

“It is the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly.” – Bertrand Russell

“Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.” – Bertrand Russell

“The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.” – Bertrand Russell

“The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” – Bertrand Russell

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

“The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.” – Bertrand Russell

“The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” – Bertrand Russell

“I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.” – Bertrand Russell

“To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” – Bertrand Russell

“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” – Bertrand Russell

“Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.” – Bertrand Russell

“I am not myself in any degree ashamed of having changed my opinions.” – Bertrand Russell

“The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.” – Bertrand Russell

“One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.” – Bertrand Russell

“The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” – Bertrand Russell

“I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.” – Bertrand Russell

“To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.” – Bertrand Russell

“The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.” – Bertrand Russell

“Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.” – Bertrand Russell

“I am not myself in any degree ashamed of having changed my opinions.” – Bertrand Russell

“War does not determine who is right – only who is left.” – Bertrand Russell

“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” – Bertrand Russell

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