// by Bertrand Russell | Philosophy Department at St. Anselm College //

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

The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy - I mean that if you are happy you will be good.

It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.

If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have paradise in a few years.

Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise.

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 main things which seem to me important on their own account, and not merely as means to other things, are knowledge, art, instinctive happiness, and relations of friendship or affection.

All moral rules must be tested by examining whether they tend to realize ends that we desire. I say ends that we desire, not ends that we ought to desire. What we 'ought' to desire is merely what someone else wishes us to desire.

Optimism and pessimism, as cosmic philosophies, show the same naive humanism; the great world, so far as we know it from the philosophy of nature, is neither good nor bad, and is not concerned to make us happy or unhappy.

The stuff of the world may be called physical or mental or both or neither, as we please; in fact, the words serve no purpose.