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Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday—Bertrand Russell's 10 Commandments of Teaching

Interesting reading for Back-to-School Week...

From  Bertrand Russell's manifesto on teaching, "A Liberal Decalogue," The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, Vol. 3: 1944-1969, p. 71-2.


Professor Russell_UCLA_google images

Bertrand Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950 "in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought."

Professor Russell was a lecturer at the London School of Economics (1896) and Trinity College at Cambridge (1899) and a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles (1939).  He died in Wales on February 2, 1970, at the age of 97.    


1.  Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.

2.  Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.

3.  Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.

4.  When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.

5.  Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.

6.  Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.

7.  Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

8.  Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.

9.  Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.

10.  Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.