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[Philosophers in search of first principles that carry authority frequently find themselves being driven back on experience, as is shown in this letter from Bertrand Russell to Goldie Lowes Dickinson, dated July 20, 1904.]

I agree with you wholly that philosophy cannot give religion, or indeed anything of more than intellectual interest. It seems to me increasingly that what gives one the beliefs by which one lives is of the nature of experience: it is a sudden realisation, or perhaps a gradual one, of ethical values which one had formerly doubted or taken on trust; and this realisation seems to be caused, as a rule, by a situation containing the things one realises to be good or bad. But although I do not think philosophy itself will give anything of human interest, I think a philosophical training enables one to get richer experiences, and to make more use of those that one does get. And I do not altogether wish mankind to become too firmly persuaded that there is no road from philosophy to religion, because I think the endeavour to find one is very useful, if only it does not destroy candour.

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