Rationalism Quotes

Quotes tagged as "rationalism" (showing 1-30 of 98)
Gilles Deleuze
“A concept is a brick. It can be used to build a courthouse of reason. Or it can be thrown through the window.”
Gilles Deleuze, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia

Douglas Adams
“Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.
The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist,'" says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
"But," says Man, "The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."
"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
"Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.”
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Immanuel Kant
“All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason.”
immanuel kant, Critique of Pure Reason

Bertrand Russell
“The opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists; indeed the passion is the measure of the holders lack of rational conviction. Opinions in politics and religion are almost always held passionately.”
Bertrand Russell, Sceptical Essays

Mitch Albom
“Love is the only rational act.”
Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

Richard Feynman
“Science is what we have learned about how to keep from fooling ourselves.”
Richard Feynman

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

Samuel Butler
“Logic is like the sword--those who appeal to it shall perish by it.”
Samuel Butler

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“Twice two is four is not life, gentlemen, but the beginning of death.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground & The Double

The teachings of Buddha are eternal, but even then Buddha did not proclaim them to
“The teachings of Buddha are eternal, but even then Buddha did not proclaim them to be infallible.

The religion of Buddha has the capacity to change according to times, a quality which no other religion can claim to have...
Now what is the basis of Buddhism?

If you study carefully, you will see that Buddhism is based on reason.
There is an element of flexibility inherent in it, which is not found in any other religion.”
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, The Buddha and His Dhamma: A Critical Edition

Pierre Bourdieu
“I would simply ask why so many critics, so many writers, so many philosophers take such satisfaction in professing that the experience of a work of art is ineffable, that it escapes by definition all rational understanding; why are they so eager to concede without a struggle the defeat of knowledge; and where does their irrepressible need to belittle rational understanding come from, this rage to affirm the irreducibility of the work of art, or, to use a more suitable word, its transcendence.”
Pierre Bourdieu, The Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field

Stephen King
“Rationalism is the idea that we can ever understand anything about the state of being. It's a deathtrip. It always has been. . . . And if rationalism is a deathtrip, then irrationalism might very well be a lifetrip . . . at least until it proves otherwise.”
Stephen King, The Stand

Hal Herzog
“The inconsistencies that haunt our relationships with animals also result from the quirks of human cognition. We like to think of ourselves as the rational species. But research in cognitive psychology and behavioral economics shows that our thinking and behavior are often completely illogical. In one study, for example, groups of people were independently asked how much they would give to prevent waterfowl from being killed in polluted oil ponds. On average, the subjects said they would pay $80 to save 2,000 birds, $78 to save 20,000 birds, and $88 to save 200,000 birds. Sometimes animals act more logically than people do; a recent study found that when picking a new home, the decisions of ant colonies were more rational than those of human house-hunters.
What is it about human psychology that makes it so difficult for us to think consistently about animals? The paradoxes that plague our interactions with other species are due to the fact that much of our thinking is a mire of instinct, learning, language, culture, intuition, and our reliance on mental shortcuts.”
Hal Herzog, Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals

Terence McKenna
“The ufo is nothing more than an assertion of herself by the Goddess into history, saying to science and paternalistically governed and driven organizations: You have gone far enough. We are going to turn the world upside down. Your science is going to be shown up for what it is, nothing more than a pleasant metaphor usefully extrapolated into the production of toys for healthy children. That's what science is good for.
It is not some meta-theory at whose feet every point of view from astrology to acupressure to channeling need be laid to have the hand of science announce thumbs up or thumbs down.”
Terence McKenna

Werner Heisenberg
“If we wanted to construct a basic philosophical attitude from these scientific utterances of Pauli's, at first we would be inclined to infer from them an extreme rationalism and a fundamentally skeptical point of view. In reality however, behind this outward display of criticism and skepticism lay concealed a deep philosophical interest even in those dark areas of reality of the human mind which elude the grasp of reason. And while the power of fascination emanating from Pauli's analyses of physical problems was admittedly due in some measure to the detailed and penetrating clarity of his formulations, the rest was derived from a constant contact with the field of creative processes, for which no rational formulation as yet exists.”
Werner Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science

Michael Oakeshott
“Like Midas, the Rationalist is always in the unfortunate position of not being able to touch anything, without transforming it into an abstraction; he can never get a square meal of experience.”
Michael Joseph Oakeshott, Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays

Terry Eagleton
“The Kantian imperative to have the courage to think for oneself has involved a contemptuous disregard for the resources of tradition and an infantile view of authority as inherently oppressive.”
Terry Eagleton, Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate

Upton Sinclair
“A large section of the idling classes of England get their incomes by believing that Jesus was born of a virgin and that Jonah swallowed a whale; and with the progress of science they were naturally finding this more and more difficult. A school of ingenious Bible-twisters arose, to invent symbolical and literary meanings for fairy tales, in order that people who no longer believed could continue with good conscience to collect the salaries of belief.”
Upton Sinclair, Mammonart: An Essay in Economic Interpretation

Max Frisch
“I've often wondered what people mean when they talk about an experience. I'm a technologist and accustomed to seeing things as they are. I see everything they are talking about very clearly; after all, I'm not blind. I see the moon over the Tamaulipas desert--it is more distinct than at other times, perhaps, but still a calculable mass circling around our planet, an example of gravitation, interesting, but in what way an experience? I see the jagged rocks, standing out black against the moonlight; perhaps they do look like the jagged backs of prehistoric monsters, but I know they are rocks, stone, probably volcanic, one should have to examine them to be sure of this. Why should I feel afraid? There aren't any prehistoric monsters any more. Why should I imagine them? I'm sorry, but I don't see any stone angels either; nor demons; I see what I see--the usual shapes due to erosion and also my long shadow on the sand, but no ghosts. Why get womanish? I don't see any Flood either, but sand lit up by the moon and made undulating, like water, by the wind, which doesn't surprise me; I don't find it fantastic, but perfectly explicable. I don't know what the souls of the damned look like; perhaps like black agaves in the desert at night. What I see are agaves, a plant that blossoms once only and dies. Furthermore, I know (however I may look at the moment) that I am not the last or the first man on earth; and I can't be moved by the mere idea that I am the last man, because it isn't true. Why get hysterical? Mountains are mountains, even if in a certain light they may look like something else, but it is the Sierra Madre Oriental, and we are not standing in a kingdom of the dead, but in the Tamaulipas desert, Mexico, about sixty miles from the nearest road, which is unpleasant, but in what way an experience? Nor can I bring myself to hear something resembling eternity; I don't hear anything, apart from the trickle of sand at every step. Why should I experience what isn't there?”
Max Frisch, Homo Faber

“The clothes have no emperor.”
Stewart Elliott Guthrie, Faces in the Clouds: A New Theory of Religion

Joseph Weizenbaum
“Our time prides itself on having finally achieved the freedom from censorship for which libertarians in all ages have struggled...The credit for these great achievements is claimed by the new spirit of rationalism, a rationalism that, it is argued, has finally been able to tear from man's eyes the shrouds imposed by mystical thought, religion, and such powerful illusions as freedom and dignity. Science has given us this great victory over ignorance. But, on closer examination, this victory too can be seen as an Orwellian triumph of an even higher ignorance: what we have gained is a new conformism, which permits us to say anything that can be said in the functional languages of instrumental reason, but forbids us to allude to...the living truth...so we may discuss the very manufacture of life and its 'objective' manipulations, but we may not mention God, grace, or morality.”
Joseph Weizenbaum, Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to Calculation

Craig M. Gay
“The incommensurability between the modern economic system and the people who staff it explains why modern workers have so often been depicted as 'cogs' in the larger 'machinery' of industrial civilization; for while the practical rationalization of enterprise does require workers to be consistent, predictable, precise, uniform, and even to a certain extent creative, it does not really require them to be persons, that is, to live examined lives, to grow, to develop character, to search for truth, to know themselves, etc.”
Craig M. Gay, The Way of the (Modern) World: Or, Why It's Tempting to Live As If God Doesn't Exist

Terry Eagleton
“An enlightened trust in the sovereignty of human reason can be every bit as magical as the exploits of Merlin, and a faith in our capacity for limitless self-improvement just as much a wide-eyed superstition as a faith in leprechauns.”
Terry Eagleton, Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate

“Let's say I have a mystical soul and a rational brain, and, like Montaigne, I am incapable of choosing between them. I don't know if I believe in God, but I am often tempted to believe.”
Francois Mitterrand, Memoir in Two Voices

“The fact is: our faith is more rational than the most elaborate paradigm of the atheistic foundationalist, more romantic than the wildest dreams of the unbelieving postmodernist. our faith is a dogma that makes you dance.”
Reggie M. Kidd, With One Voice: Discovering Christ's Song in Our Worship

Edgar Cantero
“I long for the slightest evidence of it that doesn’t require me to relinquish reason, because a natural mystery and reason to face it make the happiest combination of all.”
Edgar Cantero, The Supernatural Enhancements

“In disputes upon moral or scientific points, ever let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your opponent: so you never shall be at a loss in losing the argument, and gaining a new discovery.”
James Burgh, The Dignity of Human Nature; Or, a Brief Account of the Certain and Established Means for Attaining the True End of Our Existence: Of Knowledge

Winifred Gallagher
“Once out of your cradle, you don't focus on the world in the abstract, perceiving things for the first time, but in synchrony with your accumulated knowledge, which enriches and helps define your experience, as well as ensuring its uniqueness.”
Winifred Gallagher, Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life

“let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your opponent. So you never shall be at a loss in losing the argument, and gaining a new discovery.”
James Burgh, The Dignity of Human Nature, or a Brief Account of the Certain and Established Means for Attaining the True End of Our Existence, Vol. 1: In Four Books

Abhijit Naskar
“Should you wish to pursue the infinity of truth, you must make yourself humble as ashes and vigorous as the wind. And with that attitude flowing through your veins, bring your novel thinking in action and disinfect the world with a bold, radical and positive change – a change of egalitarianism, a change of globalism, a change of rationalism, a change of humanism.”
Abhijit Naskar, Saint of The Sapiens

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