14.9.2004 kl. 03:08

Bertrand Russell on the value of philosophy:

"...we must free our minds from the prejudices of what are wrongly called 'practical' men. The 'practical' man, as this word is often used, is one who recognizes only material needs, who realizes that men must have food for the body, but is oblivious of the necessity of providing food for the mind. [...] It is exclusively among the goods of the mind that the value of philsophy is to be found; and only those who are not indifferent to these goods can be persuaded that the study of philosophy is not a waste of time."

"If you ask a mathematician, a mineralogist, a historian or any man of learning, what definite body of truths has been ascertained by his science, his answer will last as long as your are willing to listen. But if you put the same question to a philosopher, he will, if he is candid, have to confess that his study has not achieved positive results such as have been achieved by other sciences. It is true that this is partly accounted for by the fact that, as soon as definite knowledge concerning any subject becomes possible, this subject ceases to be called philsophy and becomes a seperate science. The whole study of the heavens, which now belongs to astronomy, was once included in philosophy; Newton's great work was called "the mathematical principles of natural philsophy". Similarly, the study of the human mind, which was a part of philosophy, has now been seperated from philosophy and has become psychology. Thus, to a great extent, the uncertainty of philsophy is more apparent thant real: those questions which are already capable of definite answers are placed in the sciences, while those only to which, at present, no definite answer can be given, remain to form the residue which is called philosophy."

"The value of philosophy is, in fact, to be sought largely in its very uncertainty. [...] Philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions, since no definite answers can, as a rule, be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves."