Tag Archives: wishful thinking

Jon Elster

[W]e have all met persons basking in self-satisfaction that seems both to be justified and not to be justified: justified because they have good reasons for being satisfied with themselves, and not justified because we sense that they would be just as satisfied were the reasons to disappear.

Jon Elster, ‘Belief, Bias, and Ideology’, in Martin Hollis & Steven Lukes (eds.), Rationality and Relativism, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1982, p. 140

John McTaggart

The opinion that a belief in immortality is logically indefensible gains strength, paradoxical as it may seem, from the very fact that most of the western world desire that the belief may be true.

John McTaggart, ‘Some Considerations Relating to Human Immortality’, International Journal of Ethics, vol. 13, no. 2 (January, 1903), p. 170

Bertrand Russell

The man of science, whatever his hopes may be, must lay them aside while he studies nature; and the philosopher, if he is to achieve truth, must do the same. Ethical considerations can only legitimately appear when the truth has been ascertained: they can and should appear as determining our feeling towards the truth, and our manner of ordering our lives in view of the truth, but not as themselves dictating what the truth is to be.

Bertrand Russell, ‘Mysticism and Logic’, in John G. Slater (ed.), The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell, London, 1986, vol. 8, p. 33

Friedrich Nietzsche

Kommt es denn darauf an, die Anschauung über Gott, Welt und Versöhnung zu bekommen, bei der man sich am bequemsten befindet, ist nicht viel mehr für den wahren Forscher das Resultat seiner Forschung geradezu etwas Gleichgültiges? Suchen wir denn bei unserem Forschen Ruhe, Friede, Glück? Nein, nur die Wahrheit, und wäre sie höchst abschreckend und häßlich.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Brief an Elisabeth Nietzsche, Bonn, 11. Juni 1865