On January 28, the British philosophers F.C. Copleston and Bertrand Russell squared off on BBC radio for a debate on the existence of. Abstract, This article has no associated abstract. (fix it). Keywords, No keywords specified (fix it). Categories. Bertrand Russell in 20th Century Philosophy. Here is the famous debate on the existence of God between Frederick Copleston and Bertrand Russell. The link gives you the transcript of the.

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A man may look for gold without assuming that there is gold everywhere; if he finds gold, well and good, if he doesn’t he’s had bad luck. But don’t you think there are abundant recorded cases of people who believe that they’ve heard Satan speaking to them in their hearts, in just the same way as the mystics assert God — and I’m not talking now of an external vision, I’m bertramd of a purely mental experience.

Frederick Copleston and Bertrand Russell: A Debate

Therefore, I should say, since objects or events exist, and since no object of experience contains within itself the reason of its existence, [ … ] the totality of objects must have a reason external to itself.

I don’t want to seem arrogant, but it does seem to me that I can nertrand things that you say the human mind can’t conceive.

But when is an explanation adequate? Nowadays it’s become old and respectable, and you don’t have to make so much fuss about it. Quite so, but I regard the metaphysical argument as probative, but there we differ. So it all turns on this question of sufficient reason, and I must say you haven’t berrtrand “sufficient reason” in a way that I can understand — what do you mean by sufficient reason?

The Cosmological Argument — F.

At one period in the development of the human race, almost everybody thought cannibalism was a duty. I really don’t see how it can be conveyed to anybody in other terms than itself.

The fact that we gain our knowledge of causality empirically, from particular causes, does not rule out the possibility of asking what the cause of the series is [ … ] Russell: As regards the moral argument, I do find that when one studies anthropology or history, there are people who think it their duty to perform acts which I think abominable, and I certainly can’t, therefore, attribute Divine origin to the matter of moral obligation, which Father Copleston doesn’t ask me to; but I think even the form of moral obligation, when it takes the form of enjoining you to eat your father or what not, doesn’t seem to me to be such a very beautiful and noble thing; and, therefore, I deabte attribute a Divine origin to this sense beetrand moral obligation, which I think is quite easily accounted for in quite other ways.


You can sometimes give a causal explanation of one thing as being the effect of something else, but that is fussell referring one thing to another thing and there’s no — to my mind — explanation in Father Copleston’s sense of anything at all, nor is there any meaning in calling things “contingent” debatte there isn’t anything else they could betrand.

Well, that’s what I was asking.

Fr. Copleston vs. Bertrand Russell: The Famous BBC Radio Debate on the Existence of God

I wouldn’t imitate the conduct of a mad dog. Copleston Debate the Existence of God, “. Notify me of new comments via email. To read a transcript of the entire debate, click here to open the text in a new window.

I should like to know whether you would accept Leibniz’s division of propositions into truths of reason and sebate of fact.

In the second place, not all modern logicians surely would admit the meaninglessness of metaphysics. Bertrwnd any case, if the total has no cause, then to my way of thinking it must be its own cause, which seems to me impossible. Closing process starts only from time, known to God, starting from completion of 2 H opening process.

You think that good and evil have reference simply to feeling? And I can’t admit any circumstances in which certain kinds of behavior, such as you have been discussing, would do good. An analytic proposition would fall under Leibniz’s category of “truths of reason,” or a priori truths.

Copleston–Russell debate

If part of the Universe is contigent, then it cannot be necessary as a whole. In any case, I don’t say that the universe is something different from the objects which compose it I indicated that in my brief summary of the proof. A Being that must exist and cannot not exist, would surely, according to you, be a Being whose essence involves existence.

Obviously the character of a young man may be — and often is — immensely affected for good by reading about some great man in history, and it may happen that the great man is a myth and doesn’t exist, but they boy is just as much affected for good as if he did. Moreover, the statement that the world is simply there if in answer to a question, presupposes that the question has meaning. Without God, there would be nothing to give existence to the chain as a whole. For example, would you agree that if God does not exist, human beings and human history can have no other purpose than the purpose they choose to give themselves, which — in practice — is likely to mean the purpose which those impose who have the power to impose it?

That is to say, to analytic propositions, at least for an omniscient mind. It may be that, to quote Professor Haldane, “when I Iight the gas under the kettle, some of the water molecules will fly off as vapor, and there is no way of finding out which will do so,” but it doesn’t follow necessarily that the idea of chance must be introduced except in relation to our knowledge.


Now it is impossible to go on to infinity in necessary things which have their necessity caused by another, as has already been proved in regard to efficient causes.

I cannot see how science could be conducted on any other assumption beetrand that of order and intelligibility in nature. I say that if there were no necessary being, no being which must exist and cannot not-exist, nothing would exist.

If you add up chocolates to infinity, you presumably get an infinite number of chocolates. If we fall in love, well, we fall in love with somebody russelo not with nobody.

I think we have reached an impasse because our ideas of philosophy are radically different; it seems to me that what I call a part of philosophy, that you call the whole, insofar at least as philosophy is rational. I’m inclined to think that “ought,” the feeling that one has about “ought” is an echo of what has been told one by one’s parents or one’s nurses. Anonymous August 26, Back cpleston Philosophy Articles.

Then I can only say you’re looking for something which can’t be got, and which one ought not to expect to get. So it seems to me, to declare that the terms involved in one set ruxsell problems are meaningless because they are not required in dealing with another set of problems, is to settle from the beginning the nature and extent of philosophy, and that is itself a philosophical act which stands in need of justification.

Frederick Copleston and Bertrand Russell: A Debate – Hellenistic Christendom

He actually doesn’t rebute any classic philosophical questions, he just dismisses them as non questions and, as Copleston very well states, dogmatically asserts their futility.

But it is impossible for these always to exist, for that which can not-be at some time is not. Face to Face with Bertrand Russell: I think the word “contingent” inevitably suggests the possibility of something that wouldn’t have this what you might call accidental character of just being there, and I don’t think is true except in the purely causal sense. History of Western Philosophy. Russell Debate portion on “Contingency” — note: I mean, would you say that the non-existence of God can be proved?

Yes, but if he were in the majority, we shouldn’t say that.

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