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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As regards the metaphysical argument, we debatd apparently in agreement that what we call the world consists simply of contingent beings. Well, perhaps I might say a word about religious experience, and then we can go on to moral experience.

Made it sadly irrelevant outside of academical circles. Get the best cultural and educational resources on the web curated for you in a daily email. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Surely that’s a first cause within a certain selected field. Take, say, such a word as “the” or “than. The experiment may be a bad one, it may lead to no result, or not to the result that he wants, but that at any rate there is the possibility, through experiment, of finding out the truth that he assumes.

Something does exist; therefore, there must be something which accounts coplesotn this fact, a being which is outside the series of contingent beings. What do you say — shall we pass on to some other issue?

Frederick Copleston vs. Bertrand Russell | Apologetics

But if we proceed to infinity in that sense, then there’s no explanation of existence at all. And I think that is what is meant by “ought. I agree with you on that, of course, that a man may be influenced by a character in fiction. If “behaviorism” were true, there would be russekl objective moral distinction between the emperor Nero and St.

Would you agree — provisionally at least — to accept this statement as the meaning of the term “God”? Now, secondly, the world is simply the real or imagined totality or aggregate of individual objects, none of which contain in themselves alone the reason of their existence. If it is caused, there must obviously be a cause outside the series. Back to Home Page. Cause is a kind of sufficient reason.


Copleston was a Jesuit priest who believed in God. But it is impossible for these always to exist, for that which can not-be at some time is not. When the logic that he uses was new — namely, in the time of Aristotle, there had to be a great deal of fuss made about it; Aristotle made a lot of fuss about that logic.

Bertrand Russell and F. Therefore, the series has not a phenomenal cause but a transcendent cause. This raises a great many points and it’s not altogether easy to know where to begin, but I think that, perhaps, in answering your argument, the best point with which to begin is the question of a Necessary Being. Well, we can press the point a little, I think. 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.

But I see no reason to believe that there does not exist some state of the Universe in the past which is itself necessarily existent. If you are going to call every necessary proposition an analytic proposition, then — in order to avoid a dispute in terminology — I would agree to call it analytic, though I don’t consider it a tautological proposition.

But it is impossible that there should be valid grounds for admitting A, which are not also grounds for admitting B. Quite so, but I regard the metaphysical argument as probative, but there we differ. I think that the recognition of this ideal moral order is part of the recognition of contingency. That’s what I mean by a contingent being. No, but if it could actually be proved that the belief was actually responsible for a good effect on a man’s life, I should consider it a presumption in favor of some truth, at any rate of the positive part of the belief not of its entire validity.


October 11, at 2: Mariano March 20, But, to my mind, a “necessary proposition” has got to be analytic. And I thought at the time at any rate that it was altered for the good.

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

No it doesn’t — at least if I may believe what he says. First of all, I should say, we know that there are at least some beings in the world who do not contain in themselves the reason for their existence.

I think the persons who think they do are deceiving themselves. Well, do you accept any moral obligation?

Frederick Copleston and Bertrand Russell: A Debate

After all the man who is influenced by Lycurgus hasn’t got the irresistible impression that he’s experience in some way the ultimate reality.

Take, for instance, G.

In his Summa TheologicaAquinas writes:. The infinity of the series of contingent beings, even if proved, would be irrelevant.

Unsubscribe at any time. Mark Colyvan – – Principia 5 Logically complete cosmological concept. 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 devate doesn’t exist, but they boy is just as much affected for good as if he did.

WordPress Hashcash needs javascript to work, but your browser has javascript disabled. By religious experience I don’t mean simply feeling good. Well, russsll it’s time I summed up my position. October 31, at 8: There are plenty of terrestrial law-givers to account for it, and that would explain why people’s consciences are so amazingly different in different times and places.