Mathematician quotes

#1065 Bertrand Russell

My whole religion is this: do every duty, and expect no reward for it, either here or hereafter. .

Bertrand Russell
#1066 Bertrand Russell

Cambridge is one of the few places where one can talk unlimitedand generalities without anyone pulling one up or confronting one with them when one says just the opposite the next day. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about wit
#1067 Bertrand Russell

Mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about true
#1068 Bertrand Russell

I do wish I believed in the life eternal, for it makes me quite miserable to think man is merely a kind of machine endowed, unhappily for himself, with consciousness. .

Bertrand Russell
#1069 Bertrand Russell

I should like to believe my people's religion, which was just what I could wish, but alas, it is impossible. I have really no religion, for my God, being a spirit shown merely by reason to exist, his properties utterly unknown, is no help to my life. I have nor the parson's comfortable doctrine that every good action has its reward, and every sin is forgiven. My whole religion is this: do every duty, and expect no reward for it, either here or hereafter. .

Bertrand Russell
#1070 Bertrand Russell

I am looking forward very much to getting back to Cambridge, and being able to say what I think and not to mean what I say: two things which at home are impossible. Cambridge is one of the few places where one can talk unlimited nonsense and generalities without anyone pulling one up or confronting one with them when one says just the opposite the next day. .

Bertrand Russell
#1071 Bertrand Russell

Thee will find out in time that I have a great love of professing vile sentiments, I don’t know why, unless it springs from long efforts to avoid priggery. .

Bertrand Russell
#1072 Bertrand Russell

Thee might observe incidentally that if the state paid for child-bearing it might and ought to require a medical certificate that the parents were such as to give a reasonable result of a healthy child – this would afford a very good inducement to some sort of care for the race, and gradually as public opinion became educated by the law, it might react on the law and make that more stringent, until one got to some state of things in which there would be a little genuine care for the race, instead of the present haphazard higgledy-piggledy ways. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about men
#1073 Bertrand Russell

Pure mathematics consists entirely of assertions to the effect that, if such and such a proposition is true of anything, then such and such another proposition is true of that thing. It is essential not to discuss whether the first proposition is really true, and not to mention what the anything is, of which it is supposed to be true ... If our hypothesis is about anything, and not about some one or more particular things, then our deductions constitute mathematics. Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. People who have been puzzled by the beginnings of mathematics will, I hope, find comfort in this definition, and will probably agree that it is accurate. .

Bertrand Russell
#1075 Bertrand Russell

It seems to me now that mathematics is capable of an artistic excellence as great as that of any music, perhaps greater; not because the pleasure it gives (although very pure) is comparable, either in intensity or in the number of people who feel it, to that of music, but because it gives in absolute perfection that combination, characteristic of great art, of godlike freedom, with the sense of inevitable destiny; because, in fact, it constructs an ideal world where everything is perfect and yet true. .

Bertrand Russell
#1077 Bertrand Russell

What a monstrous thing that a University should teach journalism! I thought that was only done at Oxford. This respect for the filthy multitude is ruining civilisation. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about respect
#1078 Bertrand Russell

Only in thought is man a God; in action and desire we are the slaves of circumstance. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about desire
#1079 Bertrand Russell

Philosophy seems to me on the whole a rather hopeless business. .

Bertrand Russell
#1080 Bertrand Russell

Pure Mathematics is the class of all propositions of the form “p implies q,” where p and q are propositions containing one or more variables, the same in the two propositions, and neither p nor q contains any constants except logical constants. And logical constants are all notions definable in terms of the following: Implication, the relation of a term to a class of which it is a member, the notion of such that, the notion of relation, and such further notions as may be involved in the general notion of propositions of the above form. In addition to these, mathematics uses a notion which is not a constituent of the propositions which it considers, namely the notion of truth. .

Bertrand Russell
#1081 Bertrand Russell

The fact that all Mathematics is Symbolic Logic is one of the greatest discoveries of our age; and when this fact has been established, the remainder of the principles of mathematics consists in the analysis of Symbolic Logic itself. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about self
#1082 Bertrand Russell

I may as well say at once that I do not distinguish between inference and deduction. What is called induction appears to me to be either disguised deduction or a mere method of making plausible guesses. .

Bertrand Russell
#1083 Bertrand Russell

What does not exist must be something, or it would be meaningless to deny its existence; and hence we need the concept of being, as that which belongs even to the non-existent. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about meaning
#1084 Bertrand Russell

I have been merely oppressed by the weariness and tedium and vanity of things lately: nothing stirs me, nothing seems worth doing or worth having done: the only thing that I strongly feel worth while would be to murder as many people as possible so as to diminish the amount of consciousness in the world. These times have to be lived through: there is nothing to be done with them. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about time
#1086 Bertrand Russell

A logical theory may be tested by its capacity for dealing with puzzles, and it is a wholesome plan, in thinking about logic, to stock the mind with as many puzzles as possible, since these serve much the same purpose as is served by experiments in physical science. .

Bertrand Russell
#1087 Bertrand Russell

All's well that ends well; which is the epitaph I should put on my tombstone if I were the last man left alive. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about man
#1088 Bertrand Russell

Take the question whether other people exist. ...It is plain that it makes for happiness to believe that they exist – for even the greatest misanthropist would not wish to be deprived of the objects of his hate. Hence the belief that other people exist is, pragmatically, a true belief. But if I am troubled by solipsism, the discovery that a belief in the existence of others is 'true' in the pragmatist's sense is not enough to allay my sense of loneliness: the perception that I should profit by rejecting solipsism is not alone sufficient to make me reject it. For what I desire is not that the belief in solipsism should be false in the pragmatic sense, but that other people should in fact exist. And with the pragmatist's meaning of truth, these two do not necessarily go together. The belief in solipsism might be false even if I were the only person or thing in the universe. .

Bertrand Russell
#1089 Bertrand Russell

Ironclads and Maxim guns must be the ultimate arbiters of metaphysical truth. .

Bertrand Russell
#1090 Bertrand Russell

The number of syllables in the English names of finite integers tends to increase as the integers grow larger, and must gradually increase indefinitely, since only a finite number of names can be made with a given finite number of syllables. Hence the names of some integers must consist of at least nineteen syllables, and among these there must be a least. Hence "the least integer not nameable in fewer than nineteen syllables" must denote a definite integer; in fact, it denotes 111, 777. But "the least integer not nameable in fewer than nineteen syllables" is itself a name consisting of eighteen syllables; hence the least integer not nameable in fewer than nineteen syllables can be named in eighteen syllables, which is a contradiction. This contradiction was suggested to us by Mr. G. G. Berry of the Bodleian Library. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about self
#1091 Bertrand Russell

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 's God, it won't love us in return. .

Bertrand Russell
#1092 Bertrand Russell

Life seems to me essentially passion, conflict, rage... It is only intellect that keeps me sane; perhaps this makes me overvalue intellect against feeling. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about passion
#1093 Bertrand Russell

The above proposition is occasionally useful. .

Bertrand Russell
#1094 Bertrand Russell

When people begin to philosophize they seem to think it necessary to make themselves artificially stupid. .

Bertrand Russell
#1095 Bertrand Russell

People are said to believe in God, or to disbelieve in Adam and Eve. But in such cases what is believed or disbelieved is that there is an entity answering a certain description. This, which can be believed or disbelieved is quite different from the actual entity (if any) which does answer the description. Thus the matter of belief is, in all cases, different in kind from the matter of sensation or presentation, and error is in no way analogous to hallucination. A hallucination is a fact, not an error; what is erroneous is a judgment based upon it. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about belief
#1096 Bertrand Russell

In the revolt against idealism, the ambiguities of the word “experience” have been perceived, with the result that realists have more and more avoided the word. It is to be feared, however, that if the word is avoided the confusions of thought with which it has been associated may persist. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about fear
#1097 Bertrand Russell

Of all evils of war the greatest is the purely spiritual evil: the hatred, the injustice, the repudiation of truth, the artificial conflict. .

Bertrand Russell
#1098 Bertrand Russell

No nation was ever so virtuous as each believes itself, and none was ever so wicked as each believes the other. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about self
#1099 Bertrand Russell

It seems clear to me that marriage ought to be constituted by children, and relations not involving children ought to be ignored by the law and treated as indifferent by public opinion. It is only through children that relations cease to be a purely private matter. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about marriage
#1100 Bertrand Russell

I don't care for the applause one gets by saying what others are thinking; I want actually to change people's thoughts. Power over people's minds is the main personal desire of my life; and this sort of power is not acquired by saying popular things. .

Bertrand Russell
#1101 Bertrand Russell

I don't like the spirit of socialism – I think freedom is the basis of everything. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about freedom
#1102 Bertrand Russell

[One] must look into hell before one has any right to speak of heaven. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about heaven
#1103 Bertrand Russell

I hate the world and almost all the people in it. I hate the Labour Congress and the journalists who send men to be slaughtered, and the fathers who feel a smug pride when their sons are killed, and even the pacifists who keep saying human nature is essentially good, in spite of all the daily proofs to the contrary. I hate the planet and the human race – I am ashamed to belong to such a species. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about nature
#1104 Bertrand Russell

How much good it would do if one could exterminate the human race. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about man
#1105 Bertrand Russell

Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth – more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible; thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. It sees man, a feeble speck, surrounded by unfathomable depths of silence; yet it bears itself proudly, as unmoved as if it were lord of the universe. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man. .

Bertrand Russell
#1106 Bertrand Russell

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

Bertrand Russell Quotes about men
#1107 Bertrand Russell

That I, a funny little gesticulating animal on two legs, should stand beneath the stars and declaim in a passion about my rights – it seems so laughable, so out of all proportion. Much better, like Archimedes, to be killed because of absorption in eternal things... There is a possibility in human minds of something mysterious as the night-wind, deep as the sea, calm as the stars, and strong as Death, a mystic contemplation, the "intellectual love of God." Those who have known it cannot believe in wars any longer, or in any kind of hot struggle. If I could give to others what has come to me in this way, I could make them too feel the futility of fighting. But I do not know how to communicate it: when I speak, they stare, applaud, or smile, but do not understand. .

Bertrand Russell
#1108 Bertrand Russell

What a queer work the Bible is. ...Some texts are very funny. Deut. XXIV, 5: "When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken." I should never have guessed "cheer up" was a Biblical expression. Here is another really inspiring text: "Cursed be he that lieth with his mother-in-law. And all the people shall say, Amen." St Paul on marriage: "I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn." This has remained the doctrine of the Church to this day. It is clear that the Divine purpose in the text "it is better to marry than to burn" is to make us all feel how very dreadful the torments of Hell must be. .

Bertrand Russell
#1109 Bertrand Russell

In the visible world, the Milky Way is a tiny fragment; within this fragment, the solar system is an infinitesimal speck, and of this speck our planet is a microscopic dot. On this dot, tiny lumps of impure carbon and water, of complicated structure, with somewhat unusual physical and chemical properties, crawl about for a few years, until they are dissolved again into the elements of which they are compounded. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about men
#1110 Bertrand Russell

No man is liberated from fear who dare not see his place in the world as it is; no man can achieve the greatness of which he is capable until he has allowed himself to see his own littleness. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about fear
#1111 Bertrand Russell

Mystery is delightful, but unscientific, since it depends upon ignorance. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about light
#1112 Bertrand Russell

Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about competition
#1113 Bertrand Russell

The typical Westerner wishes to be the cause of as many changes as possible in his environment; the typical Chinaman wishes to enjoy as much and as delicately as possible. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about change
#1114 Bertrand Russell

Nine-tenths of the activities of a modern Government are harmful; therefore the worse they are performed, the better. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about men
#1115 Bertrand Russell

The Chinese are a great nation, incapable of permanent suppression by foreigners. They will not consent to adopt our vices in order to acquire military strength; but they are willing to adopt our virtues in order to advance in wisdom. I think they are the only people in the world who quite genuinely believe that wisdom is more precious than rubies. That is why the West regards them as uncivilized. .

Bertrand Russell
#1117 Bertrand Russell

There is no logical impossibility in the hypothesis that the world sprang into being five minutes ago, exactly as it then was, with a population that "remembered" a wholly unreal past. There is no logically necessary connection between events at different times; therefore nothing that is happening now or will happen in the future can disprove the hypothesis that the world began five minutes ago. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about time
#1118 Bertrand Russell

The supreme maxim in scientific philosophising is this: wherever possible, logical constructions are to be substituted for inferred entities. .

Bertrand Russell Quotes about sin
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