But as the work proceeded I was continually reminded of the fable about the elephant and the tortoise. Having constructed an elephant upon which the mathematical world could rest, I found the elephant tottering, and proceeded to construct a tortoise to keep the elephant from falling. But the tortois
All that passes for knowledge can be arranged in a hierarchy of degrees of certainty, with arithmetic and the facts of perception at the top.
While the dogmatist is harmful, the sceptic is useless ...; one is certain of knowing, the other of not knowing. What philosophy should dissipate is certainty, whether of knowledge or of ignorance. Knowledge is not so precise a concept as is commonly thought. Instead of saying 'I know this', we ough
The demand for certainty is one which is natural to man, but is nevertheless an intellectual vice. If you take your children for a picnic on a doubtful day, they will demand a dogmatic answer as to whether it will be fine or wet, and be disappointed in you when you cannot be sure.
I have throughout been curious about how much we can be said to know and with what degree of certainty or doubtfulness.
When one admits that nothing is certain one must, I think, also admit that some things are much more nearly certain than others. It is much more nearly certain that we are assembled here tonight than it is that this or that political party is in the right. Certainly there are degrees of certainty, a
Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom.
Dogmatism and skepticism are both, in a sense, absolute philosophies; one is certain of knowing, the other of not knowing. What philosophy should dissipate is certainty, whether of knowledge or ignorance.
In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.
To teach how to live without certainty and yet without being paralysed by hesitation is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy, in our age, can do for those who study it.
Some care is needed in using Descartes' argument. "I think, therefore I am" says rather more than is strictly certain. It might seem as though we are quite sure of being the same person to-day as we were yesterday, and this is no doubt true in some sense. But the real Self is as hard to arrive at as
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.
What men really want is not knowledge but certainty.
A habit of basing convictions upon evidence, and of giving to them only that degree or certainty which the evidence warrants, would, if it became general, cure most of the ills from which the world suffers.
I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom.
I think that if anything can be proved by natural theology, it is that slavery is morally wrong. God gave man a mouth to receive bread, hands to feed it, and his hand has a right to carry bread to his mouth without controversy.
Extemporaneous speaking should be practised [sic] and cultivated. It is the lawyer's avenue to the public. However able and faithful he may be in other respects, people are slow to bring him business if he cannot make a speech. And yet there is not a more fatal error to young lawyers than relying to
A right result, at this time, will be worth more to the world, than ten times the men, and ten times the money.
As an individual who undertakes to live by borrowing, soon finds his original means devoured by interest, and next no one left to borrow from - so must it be with a government.
Hypocrite: The man who murdered his parents, and then pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan.
As our case is new, we must think and act anew.
Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.
I must keep some standard of principle fixed within myself.
To say a sheep has 5 legs doesn't make it so.
We can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us.
Well, I suppose you know that men will stand a good deal when they are flattered.
Surely God would not have created such a being as man, with an ability to grasp the infinite, to exist only for a day! No, no, man was made for immortality.
Never regret what you don't write.
I am much indebted to the good Christian people of the country for their constant prayers and consolations; and to no one of them, more than to yourself.
A house divided against itself cannot stand.
Four score and seven days is too long between massages
Never stir up litigation. A worse man can scarcely be found than one who does this. Abraham Lin
I never did ask more, nor ever was willing to accept less, than for all the States, and the people thereof, to take and hold their places, and their rights, in the Union, under the Constitution of the United States. For this alone have I felt authorized to struggle; and I seek neither more nor less
This human struggle and scramble for office, for a way to live without work, will finally test the strength of our institutions.