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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Frederick Copleston and Bertrand Russell: A Debate

I don’t like the word “absolute. It’s my opinion that the perception of values and the consciousness of moral law and obligation are best explained through the hypothesis of a transcendent ground of value and of an author of the moral law. The fact that a belief has a good moral effect upon a man is no evidence whatsoever in favor of its truth. 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.

I don’t want to seem arrogant, but it does seem to me that I can conceive things that you say the human mind russeol conceive. Is that what you’re saying, because if so, it wants a bit of arguing. For Copleston to have won the debate he would have had to have carried the resolution but he failed to sufficiently account for Russell’s many objections, so does not do so. And, in fact, only to such as are analytic — that is to say — such as it is self-contradictory bertand deny.

But if we proceed to infinity in that sense, then there’s no explanation of existence at all. I think this is the right question to ask.

Bertrand Russell and F.C. Copleston Debate the Existence of God, | Open Culture

I cannot see how science could be conducted on any other assumption than that of order and intelligibility in nature. We find in nature things that are possible to be and not possible to be, since they are found to be generated and corrupted. I can illustrate what seems to me your fallacy. Yes, I accept this definition. This final reason for things is called God.

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

In his essay ” The Principles of Nature and Grace, Based on Reason,” Leibniz asserts that nothing can exist without a sufficient reason, including the Universe. Therefore if at one time nothing was in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have begun to exist; and thus now nothing would be in existence–which is absurd. I think the persons who think they do are deceiving themselves. Simon Hewitt – – New Blackfriars 99 Russell takes exception to Copleston’s use of Leibniz’s concept of a necessary being.

Copleston–Russell debate

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 int he purely causal sense. It will help to explain changes in the matter of the moral law in the content of the precepts as accepted by this or that nation, or this or that individual.

We both know, at any rate, one very eminent modern thinker whose knowledge of modern logic was profound, but who certainly did not think that metaphysics are meaningless or, in particular, that the problem of God is meaningless.

The only audio I have found is a partial MP3 from archive. So, I should say, in order to explain existence, we must come to a being which contains within itself the reason for its own existence — that is to say, which cannot not-exist Russell: The idea of the “ought” as such can never be conveyed to a man by the tribal chief or by anybody else, because there are no other terms in which it could be conveyed.

But at the same time, it is not, I think, the phantom as such that the young man loves; he perceives a real value, an idea which he recognizes as objectively valid, and that’s what excites his love.

If we fall in love, well, we fall in love with somebody and not with nobody.


Let’s assume for the moment that there are absolute moral values, even on that hypothesis it’s only to be expected that different individuals and different groups should enjoy varying degrees of insight into those values.

I mean, would you agree that if there is no absolute good that the relativity of values results? 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. For you it has no meaning.

Well, I will say that what you have been saying brings us back, it seems to me, to the Ontological Argument that there is a being whose essence involves existence, so that his existence is analytic. You may say that the adequate explanation of that is that I rub it on the box.

And I thought at the time at any rate that it was altered for the good. It is not direct feeling about the act by which I should judge, but rather a feeling as to the effects. Yes, quite true in imagination.

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. January 28, at 3: April 21, at 1: Therefore, not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary.

No keywords specified fix it. But it can’t be necessary since each member is contingent, and we’ve agreed that the total has no reality apart from the members, therefore, it can’t be necessary.

It has a formal vice, in that it starts from finite existence as its datum, and admitting this to be contingent, it proceeds to infer an existent which is not contingent.