Thursday, March 19, 2009

Frederick Copleston vs. Bertrand Russell

Here is the famous debate on the existence of God between Frederick Copleston and Bertrand Russell. The link gives you the transcript of the debate. The only audio I have found is a partial MP3 from It will give you an idea of the dialogue.

Partial MP3 Audio here.



Yossman said...

Great! I've been wanting this.

Ken said...

Yeah, I've been waiting since 1948!!!


Andrew said...

It seems to me, that Copleston won the debate.

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

Dark Star said...

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.

It's both deeper and more shallow, it is deeper in going to nitty-gritty (but ultimately irrelevant) details - but those details have been covered repeatedly, hundreds of times over since and no consensus has emerged that they are meaningful. The facts arrayed against the premises are vast and there are legitimate concerns over the logic as well.

You can reframe the Cosmological or Ontological arguments any which way you want but you are still just begging the question. Why? Because there is no evidence supporting the premise.

One such example is here:

Anonymous said...

I second Dark Star in what he writes. Basically, it is not that who speaks the most wins. It is who has the most logic and arguments who does.


Can Russell win any relevant debate? I think this is the right question to ask. He can for sure define the limits of his inquire, determine the rules of engagement in is particular philosophy. What he can not do is answer relevant questions: Who am I, were am i going, what's the meaning of life, is there a God?
He actually doesn't rebute any classic philosophical questions, he just dismisses them as non questions and, as Copleston very well states, dogmatically asserts their futility. It's just too hard to take him seriously. He transformed philosophy in a logical game to entertain bored people. Made it sadly irrelevant outside of academical circles.

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to comment. By posting your comment you are agreeing to the comment policy.

Blog Archive