Books That Inspire 2010

Sceptical Essays
Bertrand Russell

“What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite.”

Bertrand Russell, the great British philosopher and skeptic was notorious in his intolerance for muddle-headed thinking. A prominent rationalist thinker, Russell held the dictum that one should only believe in that which is warranted by adequate evidence, arguing that across history the common lunacies underlying most foolhardy beliefs were driven by human fear, ignorance, and the craving for self-importance. The above quote appears on page 157 of Sceptical Essays, an extraordinarily lucid and coherent analysis of thinking and belief.

From Books That Inspire 2004.

Claude Miller
Associate Professor