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 – Hellenistic Christendom

I think you’re generalizing more than is necessary. It seems to me, that Copleston won the debate. The term “necessary,” he argues, can only be applied to analytic debatte –propositions which are derived logically and which would be self-contradictory to deny. But the proposition is a necessary proposition only on the supposition that there is a contingent being.

You know, as well as I do, that the existence of neither of us can be explained without reference to something or somebody outside us, our parents, for example. If I were saying “every object has a phenomenal cause, vebate, the whole series has a phenomenal cause,” there would be a parity; but I’m not saying that; I’m saying, every object has a phenomenal cause if you insist on the infinity of the series — but the series of phenomenal causes is an insufficient explanation of the series.

But what fascinates me, is that this debate seems significantly deeper than what we typically find in debates in the modern era.

If you had admitted this, we could then have discussed whether that being is personal, good, and so on. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: But still I agree that the validity of such an interpretation of a man’s conduct depends on the recognition of God’s existence, obviously.


I think it’s an important part of philosophy, and when I berttand that, I don’t find a meaning for this or that word, that is a position of detail based upon what I’ve found out about that particular word, from thinking about it. I mean, I think people can make mistakes in that as they can in other things. I’ve argued two things. Barry Miller – – The Monist 54 3: Dark Star November 20, The same is true when the physicists look for causes.

Frederick Copleston vs. Bertrand Russell | Apologetics

Koons – – American Philosophical Quarterly 34 2: I say that if there were no necessary being, no being which must exist and cannot not-exist, nothing would exist. That is the question. Well, why stop at one particular object?

If it is, well and good.

I should like to know whether you would accept Leibniz’s division of propositions into truths of reason and truths of fact. But are you going to say coplfston we can’t, or we shouldn’t even raise the question of the existence of the whole of this sorry scheme of things — of the whole universe? Yes, but if he were in the majority, we shouldn’t say that.

You are commenting using your Twitter account. You don’t mean cause? Plutarch’s Lives take Lycurgus as an example, who certainly did not exist, but you might be very much influenced by reading Lycurgus bertrnad the impression that he had previously existed.

Therefore, we cannot but admit the existence of some being having of itself its own necessity, and not receiving it from another, but rather causing in others their necessity.

Your comment will be queued in Akismet! Well, in the same sense we had before about the characters in fiction. Yes, I agree, some scientists — physicists — are willing to allow for indetermination within a restricted field.

Frederick Copleston and Bertrand Russell: A Debate

Bertrans do not believe that adoration of this Force is required. I think the word “contingent” inevitably suggests the possibility of something that wouldn’t have this what you might russe,l accidental character of just being there, and I don’t think is true except in the purely causal sense.


An infinite series of contingent beings will be, to my way of thinking, as unable to cause itself as one contingent being. Isn’t it because he’s in the minority? And the mystic, if his vision is veridical, ruzsell be said to know that there are devils. If part of the Universe is contigent, then it cannot be necessary as a whole.

Yes, a being the essence of which is to exist. Well, I can’t see how you can rule out the legitimacy of asking the question how the total, or anything at all comes to be there.

Of course, a subjectivist explanation is possible in the case of certain people in whom there is degate relation between the experience and bertranv, in the case of deluded people and hallucinated people, and so on. Logically complete cosmological concept. I can’t prove that the things are not yellow, russeol isn’t any proof, but most people agree with him that they’re not yellow, and most people agree with me that the Commandant of Belsen was making mistakes.

You see, you can have an argument about it if you can say that certain sorts of occurrences are the sort you like and certain others the sort you don’t like.

Therefore, not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary. This argument to me seems to ignore the time evolution of the Universe.