Bertrand Russell’s rules for skeptics

1.  When the experts are agreed, the opposite opinion cannot be held to be certain.

2.  When they are not agreed, no opinion can be regarded as certain by a non-expert.

3.  When they all hold that no sufficient grounds for a positive opinion exist, the ordinary man would do well to suspend his judgment.

Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell wrote this in his essay, “On the Value of Skepticism,” which is the introduction to his Skeptical Essays (1921).  “These propositions may seem mild, yet, if accepted, they would absolutely revolutionize human life,” he wrote.  “The opinions for which people are willing to fight and persecute all belong to one of the three classes which this skepticism condemns.”

Studying the life, times and ideas of Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) is liberal education in itself.  He had something challenging to say about almost every important political, social and philosophical issue that arose during his adult lifetime.  For background information, click on Bertrand Russell Wiki for his Wikipedia biography or Bertrand Russell Texts for links to his writings.

Click on Schedule of Greater Rochester Russell Set for Russell-related talks and discussions in Rochester, N.Y.

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3 Responses to “Bertrand Russell’s rules for skeptics”

  1. nuri aslan Says:

    I have nothing but praise and unlimited indebtness for Russell. He is the man who has lion’s share in me.

    Like

  2. Alternative Facts, Weather Forecasts and White (House) Lies | BLABLA.id NEWS Says:

    […] that data. That’s what they’re for. They have the relevant knowledge to do so accurately. As Bertrand Russell taught us, if the experts are agreed, we should probably conclude they’re right. (A non-expert […]

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  3. Looking stupid and unpopular on Brexit - Episode Blog Says:

    […] therefore highly sensible to have a negative scenario as your base case, other things being equal: “When the experts are agreed, the opposie opinion cannot be held to be certain”. But is this of much use to […]

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