Bertrand Russell Quotes on Facts (19 Quotes)


    What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index into his desires -- desires of which he himself is often unconscious. If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.

    The degree of one's emotions varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts.

    Men who are unhappy, like men who sleep badly, are always proud of the fact.

    A hallucination is a fact, not an error; what is erroneous is a judgment based upon it.

    Thinking you know when in fact you don't is a fatal mistake, to which we are all prone


    The need for prostitution arises from the fact that many men are either unmarried or away from their wives on journeys, that such men are not content to remain continent, and that in a conventionally virtuous community they do not find respectable women.

    Those who forget good and evil and seek only to know the facts are more likely to achieve good than those who view the world through the distorting medium of their own desires.

    Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.

    Most people would rather die than think in fact, they do so.

    3. Formality Thus the absence of all mention of particular things or properties in logic or pure mathematics is a necessary result of the fact that this study is, as we say, 'purely formal'.

    Owing to the identification of religion with virtue, together with the fact that the most religious men are not the most intelligent, a religious education gives courage to the stupid to resist the authority of educated men.

    Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false.

    The secret to happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible.

    It can be shown that a mathematical web of some kind can be woven about any universe containing several objects. The fact that our universe lends itself to mathematical treatment is not a fact of any great philosophical significance.

    The fundamental defect of Christian ethics consists in the fact that it labels certain classes of acts 'sins' and others 'virtue' on grounds that have nothing to do with their social consequences

    To modern educated people, it seems obvious that matters of fact are to be ascertained by observation, not by consulting ancient authorities. But this is an entirely modern conception, which hardly existed before the seventeenth century.

    Never let yourself be diverted either by what you would wish to believe or by what you think would have beneficent social effects if it were believed. Look only at ... the facts.

    The megalomaniac differs from the narcissist by the fact that he wishes to be powerful rather than charming, and seeks to be feared rather than loved. To this type belong many lunatics and most of the great men of history.

    We have, in fact, two kinds of morality side by side one which we preach but do not practice, and another which we practice but seldom preach.


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