Rationality Quotes

Quotes tagged as "rationality" Showing 1-30 of 454
Jane Austen
“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.”
Jane Austen, Persuasion

Euripides
“Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.”
Euripides, The Bacchae

Friedrich Nietzsche
“One ought to hold on to one's heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

Mary Wollstonecraft
“My own sex, I hope, will excuse me, if I treat them like rational creatures, instead of flattering their fascinating graces, and viewing them as if they were in a state of perpetual childhood, unable to stand alone.”
Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

Jane Austen
“Elinor agreed to it all, for she did not think he deserved the compliment of rational opposition.”
Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

René Descartes
“And thus, the actions of life often not allowing any delay, it is a truth very certain that, when it is not in our power to determine the most true opinions we ought to follow the most probable.”
Rene Descartes, Discourse on Method

Brian Cox
“The problem with today’s world is that everyone believes they have the right to express their opinion AND have others listen to it.

The correct statement of individual rights is that everyone has the right to an opinion, but crucially, that opinion can be roundly ignored and even made fun of, particularly if it is demonstrably nonsense!”
Brian Cox

Salman Rushdie
“Books choose their authors; the act of creation is not entirely a rational and conscious one.”
Salman Rushdie

Ricky Gervais
“A Christian telling an atheist they're going to hell is as scary as a child telling an adult they're not getting any presents from Santa.”
Ricky Gervais

Harlan Ellison
“The passion for revenge should never blind you to the pragmatics of the situation. There are some people who are so blighted by their past, so warped by experience and the pull of that silken cord, that they never free themselves of the shadows that live in the time machine...

And if there is a kind thought due them, it may be found contained in the words of the late Gerald Kersh, who wrote:"... there are men whom one hates until a certain moment when one sees, through a chink in their armour, the writhing of something nailed down and in torment.”
Harlan Ellison, The Essential Ellison: A 50 Year Retrospective

B.R. Ambedkar
“In the Hindu religion, one can[not] have freedom of speech. A Hindu must surrender his freedom of speech. He must act according to the Vedas. If the Vedas do not support the actions, instructions must be sought from the Smritis, and if the Smritis fail to provide any such instructions, he must follow in the footsteps of the great men.
He is not supposed to reason. Hence, so long as you are in the Hindu religion, you cannot expect to have freedom of thought”
B.R. Ambedkar

Eliezer Yudkowsky
“Your strength as a rationalist is your ability to be more confused by fiction than by reality. If you are equally good at explaining any outcome, you have zero knowledge.”
Eliezer Yudkowsky

Terence McKenna
“Reality is, you know, the tip of an iceberg of irrationality that we've managed to drag ourselves up onto for a few panting moments before we slip back into the sea of the unreal.”
Terence McKenna

David Hume
“Does a man of sense run after every silly tale of hobgoblins or fairies, and canvass particularly the evidence? I never knew anyone, that examined and deliberated about nonsense who did not believe it before the end of his enquiries.”
David Hume, The Letters of David Hume

Ayn Rand
“Happiness is not to be achieved at the command of emotional whims. Happiness is not the satisfaction of whatever irrational wishes you might blindly attempt to indulge. Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy—a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but of using your mind's fullest power, not the joy of faking reality, but of achieving values that are real, not the joy of a drunkard, but of a producer. Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions.”
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Salman Rushdie
“When...did it become irrational to dislike religion, any religion, even to dislike it vehemently? When did reason get redescribed as unreason? When were the fairy stories of the superstitious placed above criticism, beyond satire? A religion was not a race. It was an idea, and ideas stood (or fell) because they were strong enough (or too weak) to withstand criticism, not because they were shielded from it. Strong ideas welcomed dissent.”
Salman Rushdie, Joseph Anton: A Memoir

Stefan Molyneux
“The world, viewed philosophically, remains a series of slave camps, where citizens – tax livestock – labor under the chains of illusion in the service of their masters.”
Stefan Molyneux

Robert A. Heinlein
“But there seems to have been an actual decline in rational thinking. The United States had become a place where entertainers and professional athletes were mistaken for people of importance. They were idolized and treated as leaders; their opinions were sought on everything and they took themselves just as seriously — after all, if an athlete is paid a million or more a year, he knows he is important … so his opinions of foreign affairs and domestic policies must be important, too, even though he proves himself to be both ignorant and subliterate every time he opens his mouth. (Most of his fans were just as ignorant and unlettered; the disease was spreading.)”
Robert A. Heinlein, To Sail Beyond the Sunset

B.R. Ambedkar
“A bitter thing cannot be made sweet.
The taste of anything can be changed.
But poison cannot be changed into nectar.”
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, Writings And Speeches: A Ready Reference Manual

Stefan Molyneux
“Truth has nothing to do with the conclusion, and everything to do with the methodology.”
Stefan Molyneux

Stefan Molyneux
“You cannot connect with anyone except through reality.”
Stefan Molyneux

Stefan Molyneux
“We may not yet know the right way to go, but we should at least stop going in the wrong direction.”
Stefan Molyneux, Against The Gods?

Ayn Rand
“Since knowledge, thinking, and rational action are properties of the individual, since the choice to exercise his rational faculty or not depends on the individual, man’s survival requires that those who think be free of the interference of those who don’t. Since men are neither omniscient nor infallible, they must be free to agree or disagree, to cooperate or to pursue their own independent course, each according to his own rational judgment. Freedom is the fundamental requirement of man’s mind.

A rational mind does not work under compulsion; it does not subordinate its grasp of reality to anyone’s orders, directives, or controls; it does not sacrifice its knowledge, its view of the truth, to anyone’s opinions, threats, wishes, plans, or “welfare.” Such a mind may be hampered by others, it may be silenced, proscribed, imprisoned, or destroyed; it cannot be forced; a gun is not an argument. (An example and symbol of this attitude is Galileo.)

It is from the work and the inviolate integrity of such minds—from the intransigent innovators—that all of mankind’s knowledge and achievements have come. (See The Fountainhead.) It is to such minds that mankind owes its survival. (See Atlas Shrugged.)”
Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

Eliezer Yudkowsky
“I have no great fondness for the universe, but I do live there”
Eliezer Yudkowsky, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Eliezer Yudkowsky
“Then you get the wrong answer and you can't go to the Moon that way! Nature isn't a person, you can't trick them into believing something else, if you try to tell the Moon it's made of cheese you can argue for days and it won't change the Moon! What you're talking about is rationalization, like starting with a sheet of paper, moving straight down to the bottom line, using ink to write 'and therefore, the Moon is made of cheese', and then moving back up to write all sorts of clever arguments above. But either the Moon is made of cheese or it isn't. The moment you wrote the bottom line, it was already true or already false. Whether or not the whole sheet of paper ends up with the right conclusion or the wrong conclusion is fixed the instant you write down the bottom line.”
Eliezer Yudkowsky, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Edward Abbey
“Poor Hayduke: won all his arguments but lost his immortal soul.”
Edward Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang

Noam Chomsky
“In fact quite generally, commercial advertising is fundamentally an effort to undermine markets. We should recognize that. If you’ve taken an economics course, you know that markets are supposed to be based on informed consumers making rational choices. You take a look at the first ad you see on television and ask yourself … is that it’s purpose? No it’s not. It’s to create uninformed consumers making irrational choices. And these same institutions run political campaigns. It’s pretty much the same: you have to undermine democracy by trying to get uninformed people to make irrational choices.”
Noam Chomsky, The Kind of Anarchism I Believe in, and What's Wrong with Libertarians

Eliezer Yudkowsky
“I have a feeling," Harry said finally, "that we're coming at this from the wrong angle. There's a tale I once heard about some students who came into a physics class, and the teacher showed them a large metal plate near a fire. She ordered them to feel the metal plate, and they felt that the metal nearer the fire was cooler, and the metal further away was warmer. And she said, write down your guess for why this happens. So some students wrote down 'because of how the metal conducts heat', and some students wrote down 'because of how the air moves', and no one said 'this just seems impossible', and the real answer was that before the students came into the room, the teacher turned the plate around."

"Interesting," said Professor Quirrell. "That does sound similar. Is there a moral?"

"That your strength as a rationalist is your ability to be more confused by fiction than by reality," said Harry. "If you're equally good at explaining any outcome, you have zero knowledge. The students thought they could use words like 'because of heat conduction' to explain anything, even a metal plate being cooler on the side nearer the fire. So they didn't notice how confused they were, and that meant they couldn't be more confused by falsehood than by truth. If you tell me that the centaurs were under the Imperius Curse, I still have the feeling of something being not quite right. I notice that I'm still confused even after hearing your explanation.”
Eliezer Yudkowsky, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

E. Haldeman-Julius
“When confronted by a ‘believer’ it is easy for me to contrast the views of the skeptic with those of the rationalist. I simply reach into my pocket and pull out my change.

Holding a quarter aloft, I say, ‘This is a most remarkable coin, for it is heavier than all the sins of humanity committed since the beginning of the human race.’

I then hold up a nickel and say, ‘This coin is even more amazing, as it is brighter and shinier than the flames that proceeded from the Burning Bush discovered on Mt. Sinai by Moses.’

Then I raise a penny and state, ‘This portrait of President Lincoln is more realistic and true-to-life than any portrait of Satan ever painted.’

And finally, I hold out a bright, shiny dime and say, ‘And this dime is the most amazing of all because it is heavier and contains more precious metals than all the gold bricks in the streets of Heaven.’

I end with ‘Give to Caesar what is his, and hold the rest of it dear—for it is all you see and touch—and the Christian god can take care of all his things, for they amount to less than this 41 cents I hold here in my hand.”
E. Haldeman-Julius

Karen Joy Fowler
“Emotion and instinct were the basis of all our decisions, our actions, everything we valued, the way we saw the world. Reason and rationality were a thin coat of paint on a ragged surface.”
Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

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