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Portal Site for Russellian in Japan

ラッセル「我々の時代のための哲学1 n.3 (松下彰良・訳)

Bertrand Russell : Philosophy for Our Time (1953)

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Different Pictures of the Universe

If you read the systems of the great philosophers of the past you will find that there are a number of different pictures of the universe which have seemed good to men with a certain kind of imagination. Some have thought that there is nothing in the world but mind, that physical objects are really phantoms. Others have thought that there is nothing but matter, and that what we call "mind" is only an odd way in which certain kinds of matter behave. I am not at the moment concerned to say that any one of these ways of viewing the world is more true or otherwise more desirable than another. What I am concerned to say is that practice in appreciating these different world pictures stretches the mind and makes it more receptive of new and perhaps fruitful hypotheses.
There is another intellectual use which philosophy ought to have, though in this respect it not infrequently fails. It ought to inculcate a realization of human fallibility and of the uncertainty of many things which to the uneducated seem indubitable. Children at first will refuse to believe that the earth is round and will assert passionately that they can see that it is flat.
But the more important applications of the kind of uncertainty that I have in mind are in regard to such things as social systems and theologies. When we have acquired the habit of impersonal thinking we shall be able to view the popular beliefs of our own nation, our own class, or our own religious sect with the same detachment with which we view those of others. We shall discover that the beliefs that are held most firmly and most passionately are very often those for which there is least evidence. When one large body of men believes A, and another large body of men believes B, there is a tendency of each body to hate the other for believing anything so obviously absurd.
The best cure for this tendency is the practice of going by the evidence, and forgoing certainty where evidence is lacking. This applies not only to theological and political beliefs but also to social customs. The study of anthropology shows that an amazing variety of social customs exists, and that societies can persist with habits that might be thought contrary to human nature. This kind of knowledge is very valuable as an antidote to dogmatism, especially in our own day when rival dogmatisms are the chief danger that threatens mankind.