To understand an age or a nation, we must understand its philosophy, and to understand its philosophy we must ourselves be in some degree philosophers. There is here a reciprocal causation: the circumstances of men's lives do much to determine their philosophy, but, conversely, their philosophy does much to determine their circumstances.

Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell

Profession: Philosopher
Nationality: British

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Too little liberty brings stagnation and too much brings chaos.

We shall be compelled to renounce the hope of finding philosophical proofs of religious beliefs. ...Hence, once more, the value of philosophy must not depend upon any supposed body of definitely ascertainable knowledge to be acquired by those who study it.

Is there any knowledge in the world which is so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it?

I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.

Drunkenness is temporary suicide.

Do you think that, if you were granted omnipotence and omniscience and millions of years in which to perfect your world, you could produce nothing better than the Ku Klux Klan or the Fascists?

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.

If all our happiness is bound up entirely in our personal circumstances it is difficult not to demand of life more than it has to give. And to demand too much is the surest way of getting even less than is possible.

Politicians do not find any attractions in a view which does not lend itself to party declamation, and ordinary mortals prefer views which attribute misfortune to the machinations of their enemies.

A certain amount of boredom is… essential to a happy life.

A dog cannot relate his autobiography; however, eloquently he may bark, he cannot tell you that his parents were honest though poor.

A process which led from the amoeba to man appeared to the philosophers to be obviously a progress though whether the amoeba would agree with this opinion is not known.

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.

Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.