LINGUIST List 12.2172

Thu Sep 6 2001

Sum: Source of Russell Quote

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  1. Stephen R. Anderson, Source of Russell quote about dogs

Message 1: Source of Russell quote about dogs

Date: Wed, 05 Sep 2001 14:28:12 -0400
From: Stephen R. Anderson <>
Subject: Source of Russell quote about dogs

I received many responses to my inquiry about this famous quotation, but 
virtually all of them were either references to other places where it's 
been quoted or requests for the answer if I found it. Someone else 
re-posted my question on another list (HOPOS-L, History of the Philosophy 
of Science), though, which elicited the answer from Malthe Nielsen 

> In "Human Knowledge - Its Scope And Limits (George Allen and Unwin Ltd.,
> London, 1948) Russell writes (page 74):

> "A dog cannot relate his autobiography; however eloquently he may bark, he
> cannot tell you that his parents were honest though poor."

Unless Russell said more or less the same thing elsewhere in different 
form, most of the citations of this remark that I've found (and I've found 
lots - all without a source beyond "Russell") are more or less imprecise.

- Steve Anderson
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