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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Yes, a being the essence of which is to exist. To me, that admission would ultimately result in the admission of an ultimate ground of value in God. An infinite series of contingent beings will be, to my bertrad of thinking, as unable to cause itself as one contingent being.

If you’ll give me a ground I will listen to it. I can see they are different. I co;leston say that these things are good because they participate in the Divine goodness. It seems to me entirely At one period in the development of the human race, almost everybody thought cannibalism was a duty.

Well, I believe that when we appreciate poetry and art we appreciate definite poems or a definite work of art. What do you say — shall we pass on to some other issue? Well, that’s always assuming that not only every particular thing in the world, but the world as a whole must have a cause. So that I mean there is a being whose essence involves existence although we don’t know that essence. Only contingent being can have a cause.

And that existence, in fact, quite definitely is not a predicate. That is, of beings no one of which can account for its own existence. No, I shouldn’t quite go so far as that.


It’s not a general position that all words that are used in metaphysics are nonsense, or anything like that which I don’t really hold. It will help to explain changes in the matter of the moral law in the content of the precepts as accepted by this or russelk nation, or this or that individual. Well, that is an excellent justification, I agree. Listen to the original Fr. They certainly were, I agree, very painful and unpleasant to all the people in the camp.

But surely in the case of the devils there have been people speaking mainly of visions, appearance, angels or demons and so on.

Frederick Copleston vs. Bertrand Russell | Apologetics

I don’t think the animal refrains from arguing within himself, “Master will be angry coplesston I do this. You say that the series of events needs no explanation: And the effect of that experience is, I should say, borne out, or I mean the validity of th experience berfrand borne out in the records of the life of Plotinus. The vast majority I think has some consciousness of an obligation in the moral sphere.

You’ll admit there’s a distinction here? Well, I think the sense of “ought” is the effect of somebody’s imagined disapproval, it may be God’s imagined disapproval, but it’s somebody’s imagined disapproval.

That’s what we can do with ourselves and nothing more. Yes, I agree, some scientists — physicists — are willing to allow for indetermination within a restricted field.

Well, for clarity’s sake, I’ll divide the argument into distinct stages.

Copleston–Russell debate

I don’t have any justification any more than I have when I distinguish between blue and yellow. No keywords specified fix it.

Sure, everything in the Universe today, and by extension the whole, is contingent on past states of the Universe. No, it doesn’t, then surely you can’t say it doesn’t exist unless you have a conception of what existence is. Yes, I accept this definition.


I think the word “universe” is a handy word in some connections, but I don’t think it stands for russfll that has a meaning.

Bertrand Russell & F. C. Copleston, A debate on the argument from contingency – PhilPapers

You can support our work here. We only know there is such a being. As for things not berteand a cause, the physicists assure us that individual quantum transitions in atoms have no cause. In his Summa TheologicaAquinas writes:.

That’s what I should say about that, but I should like to say a few words about Father Copleston’s accusation that I regard logic as all philosophy — that is by no means the case. Do you mean that debtae reject these terms because they won’t fit in with what is called “modern logic”?

For you it has no meaning. It seems to me, if you will pardon my saying so, that besides your own logical system — what you call “modern” in opposition to antiquated logic a tendentious adjective — you maintain a philosophy which cannot be substantiated by logical analysis.

First, that the existence of God can be philosophically proved by a metaphysical argument; secondly, that it is only the existence of God that will make sense of man’s moral experience and of religious experience.

But the law-giver has always been, it seems to me, one’s bertranx or someone like.