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Quotes About Pragmatism

Quotes tagged as "pragmatism" (showing 1-30 of 61)
H.L. Mencken
“It is often argued that religion is valuable because it makes men good, but even if this were true it would not be a proof that religion is true. That would be an extension of pragmatism beyond endurance. Santa Claus makes children good in precisely the same way, and yet no one would argue seriously that the fact proves his existence. The defense of religion is full of such logical imbecilities. The theologians, taking one with another, are adept logicians, but every now and then they have to resort to sophistries so obvious that their whole case takes on an air of the ridiculous. Even the most logical religion starts out with patently false assumptions. It is often argued in support of this or that one that men are so devoted to it that they are willing to die for it. That, of course, is as silly as the Santa Claus proof. Other men are just as devoted to manifestly false religions, and just as willing to die for them. Every theologian spends a large part of his time and energy trying to prove that religions for which multitudes of honest men have fought and died are false, wicked, and against God.”
H.L. Mencken, Minority Report

Joyce Carol Oates
“Keep a light, hopeful heart. But ­expect the worst.”
Joyce Carol Oates

Patrick Rothfuss
“She looked at me. "What? Is there something wrong with my idea?"
"It's not very heroic," I said dismissively. "I was expecting something with a little more flair."
"Well, I left my armor and warhorse at home," she said. "You're just upset because your big University brain couldn't think of a way, and my plan is brilliant.”
Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

G.K. Chesterton
“They said that I should lose my ideals and begin to believe in the methods of practical politicians. Now, I have not lost my ideals in the least; my faith in fundamentals is exactly what it always was. What I have lost is my childlike faith in practical politics.”
G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Jean-Paul Marat
“Don’t be deceived when they tell you things are better now. Even if there’s no poverty to be seen because the poverty’s been hidden. Even if you ever got more wages and could afford to buy more of these new and useless goods which industries foist on you and even if it seems to you that you never had so much, that is only the slogan of those who still have much more than you. Don’t be taken in when they paternally pat you on the shoulder and say that there’s no inequality worth speaking of and no more reason to fight because if you believe them they will be completely in charge in their marble homes and granite banks from which they rob the people of the world under the pretence of bringing them culture. Watch out, for as soon as it pleases them they’ll send you out to protect their gold in wars whose weapons, rapidly developed by servile scientists, will become more and more deadly until they can with a flick of the finger tear a million of you to pieces.”
Jean-Paul Marat

W.E.B. Du Bois
“The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife, -- this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost... He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American...”
W.E.B. Du Bois, Souls of Black Folk & Era of Franklin D. Roosevelt 1933-1945 & Movements of the New Left 1950-1975

Bauvard
“Optimist: “It is on the slow ride that the heart beats fastest.”
Realist: “We would’ve snuggled on the Ferris wheel, it’s true – but only the rollercoaster could have made me scream.”
Pessimist: “Yes, we most wish to love those who bore us.”
Idealist: “Then why not live the excitement of your dreams?”
Pragmatist: “Just don’t fall off the Ferris wheel in your simulated swoon – wear a seat belt!”
Metaphysician: “What for, when the fall would be such a short descent into heaven!”
Bauvard, The Darkness of Nature

W.E.B. Du Bois
“One ever feels his twoness, -- an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose strenth alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”
W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk

Robert G. Ingersoll
“The hands that help are better far than lips that pray.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol. IV

Graham Greene
“Thought's a luxury. Do you think the peasant sits and thinks of God and Democracy when he gets inside his mud hut at night?”
Graham Greene, The Quiet American

Richard M. Rorty
“Truth is what your contemporaries let you get away with.”
Richard M. Rorty

William James
“See the exquisite contrast of the types of mind! The pragmatist clings to facts and concreteness, observes truth at its work in particular cases, and generalises. Truth, for him, becomes a class-name for all sorts of definite working-values in experience. For the rationalist it remains a pure abstraction, to the bare name of which we must defer. When the pragmatist undertakes to show in detail just why we must defer, the rationalist is unable to recognise the concretes from which his own abstraction is taken. He accuses us of denying truth; whereas we have only sought to trace exactly why people follow it and always ought to follow it. Your typical ultra-abstractions fairly shudders at concreteness: other things equal, he positively prefers the pale and spectral. If the two universes were offered, he would always choose the skinny outline rather than the rich thicket of reality. It is so much purer, clearer, nobler.”
William James, Pragmatism and Other Writings

Richard M. Rorty
“There is nothing deep down inside us except what we have put there ourselves.”
Richard M. Rorty

Kate Morton
“Even the most pragmatic person fell victim at times to a longing for something other.”
Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden

Milan Kundera
“Too much faith is the worst ally. When you believe in something literally, through your faith you'll turn it into something absurd. One who is a genuine adherent, if you like, of some political outlook, never takes its sophistries seriously, but only its practical aims, which are concealed beneath these sophistries. Political rhetoric and sophistries do not exist, after all, in order that they be believed; rather, they have to serve as a common and agreed upon alibi. Foolish people who take them in earnest sooner or later discover inconsistencies in them, begin to protest, and finish finally and infamously as heretics and apostates. No, too much faith never brings anything good...”
Milan Kundera

William James
“Pragmatism asks its usual question. "Grant an idea or belief to be true," it says, "what concrete difference will its being true make in anyone's actual life? How will the truth be realized? What experiences will be different from those which would obtain if the belief were false? What, in short, is the truth's cash-value in experiential terms?”
William James

Saadi
“However much you study, you cannot know without action.
A donkey laden with books is neither an intellectual nor a wise man.
Empty of essence, what learning has he whether upon him is firewood or book?”
Saadi

Charles Dickens
“It is known, to the force of a single pound weight, what the engine will do; but, not all the calculators of the National Debt can tell me the capacity for good or evil, for love or hatred, for patriotism or discontent, for the decomposition of virtue into vice, or the reverse.”
Charles Dickens, Hard Times

Diana Gabaldon
“As usual, the note occupied less than a page and included neither salutation nor closing, Uncle Hal's opinion being that since the letter had a direction upon it, the intended recipient was obvious, the seal indicated plainly who had written it, and he did not waste his time in writing to fools.”
Diana Gabaldon, An Echo in the Bone

Salman Rushdie
“Things aren't like this," he kept repeating. "It shouldn't be this way." As if he had access to some other plane of existence, some parallel, "right" universe, and had sensed that our time had somehow been put out of joint. Such was his vehemence that I found myself believing him, believing, for example, in the possibility of that other life in which Vina had never left and we were making our lives together, all three of us, ascending together to the stars. Then he shook his head, and the spell broke. He opened his eyes, grinning ruefully. As if he knew his thoughts had infected mine. As if he knew his power. "Better get on with it," he said. "Make do with what there is.”
Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet

Niccolò Machiavelli
“Verträge bricht man um des Nutzens willen.”
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

René Girard
“The goal of religious thinking is exactly the same as that of technological research -- namely, practical action. Whenever man is truly concerned with obtaining concrete results, whenever he is hard pressed by reality, he abandons abstract speculation and reverts to a mode of response that becomes increasingly cautious and conservative as the forces he hopes to subdue, or at least to outrun, draw ever nearer.”
René Girard, Violence and the Sacred

Graham Greene
“Ordinary life goes on--that has saved many a man's reason.”
Graham Greene, The Quiet American

Suzanne Collins
“Whatever the truth is, I don’t see how it will help me get food on the table.”
Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

William James
“What do believers in the Absolute mean by saving that their belief affords them comfort? They mean that since in the Absolute finite evil is ‘overruled’ already, we may, therefore, whenever we wish, treat the temporal as if it were potentially the eternal, be sure that we can trust its outcome, and, without sin, dismiss our fear and drop the worry of our finite responsibility. In short, they mean that we have a right ever and anon to take a moral holiday, to let the world wag in its own way, feeling that its issues are in better hands than ours and are none of our business.”
William James

“Discipline to be effective must be optional.”
― Saki, The Chronicles of Clovis

Terry Eagleton
“In the pragmatist, streetwise climate of advanced postmodern capitalism, with its scepticism of big pictures and grand narratives, its hard-nosed disenchantment with the metaphysical, 'life' is one among a whole series of discredited totalities. We are invited to think small rather than big – ironically, at just the point when some of those out to destroy Western civilization are doing exactly the opposite. In the conflict between Western capitalism and radical Islam, a paucity of belief squares up to an excess of it. The West finds itself faced with a full-blooded metaphysical onslaught at just the historical point that it has, so to speak, philosophically disarmed. As far as belief goes, postmodernism prefers to travel light: it has beliefs, to be sure, but it does not have faith.”
Terry Eagleton, The Meaning of Life

“We make versions, and true versions make worlds.”
Nelson Goodman

William James
“An outree explanation, violating all our preconceptions, would never pass for a true account of a novelty. We should scratch round industriously till we found something less excentric.”
William James, Pragmatism and Other Writings

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