Bertrand Russell’s rule

When people are mistaken as to what is to their own interest, the course they believe to be wise is more harmful to others than the course that really is wise.

Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell wrote this in the introduction to his Skeptical Essays, which was published in 1928.  He stated that shrewdness “is a humble quality, since it is always selfish; yet it suffices to keep men from the worst crimes. … It may be laid down as a general rule to which there are few exceptions that, when people are mistaken as to what is to their own interest, the course that they believe to be wise is harm harmful to others than the course that really is wise.  Therefore anything that makes people better judges of their own interest does good.”

Click on On the Value of Skepticism to read Russell’s complete introductory essay, which also is the source for Bertrand Russell’s rules for skeptics.

Click on Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) for an essay on Russell by Paul Edwards in Free Inquiry magazine.

Click on Bertrand Russell wiki for Russell’s Wikipedia article.

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

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