Logic is an organized way of going wrong with confidence.

Kettering - ketterings law - wist_info quote

Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958) American inventor, engineer, researcher, businessman
“Kettering’s Law,” from address before American Society of Mechanical Engineers (c. 1944)

Quoted in Heinlein, The Number of the Beast (1980).

Alternately quoted:

  • "Beware logic. Logic is an organized way to go wrong -- with confidence."
  • Logic is an organized way to go wrong with confidence. We should all know by now that a logical course is not always the right one."

Sometimes referred to "Kettering's Observation."

Cited in Food Industries magazine, vol. 16 (1944), referring to the speech being "recent" (the magazine is also referred to as Food Engineering).

This site previously incorrectly attributed the quote to Iris Murdoch.  That attribution seems to have been duplicated at some other sites, but was an error.  I have also found citations to L. Walter Lundell and Karl Popper.

Another "Kettering's Law" that is referenced is: "Parts left out cost nothing, require no maintenance, and do not fail."

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 7-Dec-15
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2 Responses to “Kettering’s Law,” from address before American Society of Mechanical Engineers (c. 1944)

  1. Chris C says:

    Please, if you remember, could you tell me where you found this? I have previously seen this quotation attributed only to Robert A Heinlein (who also referred to it as “Kettering’s Law” but without any attribution to anyone else). I would like to know the true origin (presumably in one of her novels).

  2. Dave says:

    Hi, Chris. I’m not quite sure how I ended up with Iris Murdoch as the author of this (and it appears a few other sites have picked it up). I’ve corrected it, and done (as noted in the post) a bit more research.

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