Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy, Page 36

“When the Declaration of Independence says ‘we hold these truths to be self-evident’ it is modeling itself after Euclid.”

(In a footnote, Russell says “self-evident” was substituted by Benjamin Franklin for Thomas Jefferson’s “sacred and undeniable.”)

Filed under: Overheard


  1. Bertrand Russell also uttered one of my favorite quotes regarding assessing people’s intentions:

    “Even a dog can tell the difference between being kicked and being tripped over…”

    Comment by Dan Richard — 6.10.2011 @ 10:08 am

  2. I believe the quote is from Oliver Wendell Holmes, not Bertrand Russell, to wit: “… [E]ven a dog distinguishes between being stumbled over and being kicked.” O. W. Holmes, Selections from the Common Law, Lecture I, “Early Forms of Liability” (1881), reprinted in The Mind and Faith of Justice Holmes 52 (M. Lerner ed. 1943).

    Comment by Fred H. — 6.10.2011 @ 11:37 am

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