Quotations about:
    debate


Note not all quotations have been tagged, so Search may find additional quotes on this topic.


A clever speaker can speak on any
subject, either for or against.

[ἐκ παντὸς ἄν τις πράγµατος δισσῶν λόγων
ἀγῶνα θεῖτ᾽ἄν, εἰ λέγειν εἴη σοφός.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Antiope [Αντιοπη], frag. 189 (TGF, Kannicht) [Chorus] (c. 410 BC)
    (Source)

Barnes frag. 79, Musgrave 39. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

The skillful orator can either side
Maintain on every topic of debate.
[tr. Wodhall (1809)]

A man could make an argument for two sides of any
matter, if he were a clever speaker.
[tr. Will (2015)]

 
Added on 18-Oct-22 | Last updated 18-Oct-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Euripides

Although we have already spoken in the First Part touching the utility of the definition of terms, it is nevertheless so important, that we cannot have it too much impressed on our minds, since we may by it clear up a number of disputes, which have as their subject often only the ambiguity of terms, which one takes in one sense, and another in another. So that some of the greatest controversies would cease in a moment, if one or the other of the disputants took care to make out precisely, and in a few words, what he understands by the terms which are the subject of dispute.

Antoine Arnauld
Antoine Arnauld (1612-1694) French theologian, philosopher, mathematician
Logic, or the Art of Thinking [La Logique ou l’art de penser; The Port-Royal Logic], Part 4, ch. 4 (1662) [with Pierre Nicole] [tr. Baynes (1850)]
    (Source)

Alternate translation:

Although we have already spoken in Part I about the usefulness of defining one's terms, this is, however, so important that we cannot bear it too much in mind, since this is how countless disputes are cleared up whose cause is often merely an ambiguity in terms that one person takes one way and another person another way. Accordingly, some very serious arguments would cease in an instant if either of the disputants took the care to indicate clearly, in a few words, the meanings of the terms that are the subject of dispute.
[tr. Buroker (1996)]

 
Added on 20-Jun-22 | Last updated 21-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Arnauld, Antoine

Even in cases of obvious certainty it is fine to yield: our reasons for holding the view cannot escape notice, our courtesy in yielding must be the more recognised. Our obstinacy loses more than our victory yields: that is not to champion truth but rather rudeness.

[Aun en caso de evidencia, es ingenuidad el ceder, que no se ignora la razón que tuvo y se conoce la galantería que tiene. Más se pierde con el arrimamiento que se puede ganar con el vencimiento; no es defender la verdad, sino la grosería.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 183 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)

(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

Even when you are right, it is good to make concessions: people will recognize you were right but admire your courtesy. More is lost through holding on than can be won by defeating others. One defends not truth but rudeness.
[tr. Maurer (1992)]

 
Added on 1-Jun-22 | Last updated 13-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Gracián, Baltasar

We’re stronger because we’re democracies. We’re not afraid of free and fair elections, because true legitimacy can only come from one source — and that is the people. We’re not afraid of an independent judiciary, because no one is above the law. We’re not afraid of a free press or vibrant debate or a strong civil society, because leaders must be held accountable. We’re not afraid to let our young people go online to learn and discover and organize , because we know that countries are more successful when citizens are free to think for themselves.

Barack Obama (b. 1961) American politician, US President (2009-2017)
Speech, Nordea Concert Hall, Tallinn, Estonia (3 Sep 2014)
    (Source)
 
Added on 26-Apr-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Obama, Barack

Take the pulse of the matter. Many see the trees but not the forest, or bark up the wrong tree, speaking endlessly, reasoning uselessly, without getting to the heart of the matter. They go round and round, tiring themselves and us, and never get to what is important. This happens to people with confused minds who do not know how to clear away the brambles. They waste time and patience on what it would be better to leave alone, and later there is no time for what they left.

[Vanse muchos o por las ramas de un inútil discurrir, o por las hojas de una cansada verbosidad, sin topar con la sustancia del caso. Dan cien vueltas rodeando un punto, cansándose y cansando, y nunca llegan al centro de la importancia. Procede de entendimientos confusos, que no se saben desembarazar. Gastan el tiempo y la paciencia en lo que habían de dejar, y después no la hay para lo que dejaron.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 136 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)

(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

So you feel the pulse of affairs. Many lose their way either in the ramifications of useless discussion or in the brushwood of wearisome verbosity without ever realising the real matter at issue. They go over a single point a hundred times wearying themselves and others and yet never touch the all important centre of affairs. This comes from a confusion of mind from which they cannot extricate themselves. They waste time and patience on matters they should leave alone and cannot spare them afterwards for what they have left alone.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

 
Added on 14-Mar-22 | Last updated 14-Mar-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Gracián, Baltasar

When men are brought face to face with their opponents, forced to listen and learn and mend their ideas, they cease to be children and savages and begin to live like civilized men. Then only is freedom a reality, when men may voice their opinions because they must examine their opinions.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) American journalist and author
“The Indispensable Opposition,” The Atlantic Monthly (Aug 1939)
    (Source)
 
Added on 9-Mar-22 | Last updated 9-Mar-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Lippmann, Walter

Lincoln fragments on slaveryIf A. can prove, however conclusively, that he may, of right, enslave B. — why may not B. snatch the same argument, and prove equally, that he may enslave A?

You say A. is white, and B. is black. It is color, then; the lighter having the right to enslave the darker? Take care. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with a fairer skin than your own.

You do not mean color exactly? — You mean the whites are intellectually the superior of blacks, and, therefore, have the right to enslave them? Take care again. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with an intellect superior to your own.

But, say you, it is a question of interest; and, if you can make it your interest, you have the right to enslave another. Very well. And if he can make it his interest, he has the right to enslave you.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) American lawyer, politician, US President (1861-65)
Fragment on Slavery (c. 1854)
    (Source)
 
Added on 22-Feb-22 | Last updated 22-Feb-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Lincoln, Abraham

A man may be in as just possession of Truth as of a City, and yet be forced to surrender.

Thomas Browne (1605-1682) English physician and author
Religio Medici, Part 1, sec. 6 (1643)
    (Source)
 
Added on 29-Sep-21 | Last updated 29-Sep-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Browne, Thomas

Experts are never right or wrong; they win or lose. Right and wrong are decided by proof; winning and losing are decided by who is doing the talking or talks the loudest, has the last, latest, or only word, and is quoted by reporters.

(Other Authors and Sources)
M. A. Zeidner, “Experts: A Definition” Quarterly Review of Doublespeak (Oct 1988)
 
Added on 2-Jul-21 | Last updated 2-Jul-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by ~Other

To disagree well you must first understand well. You have to read deeply, listen well, watch closely. You need to grant your adversary moral respect; give him the intellectual benefit of doubt; have sympathy for his motives and participate empathically with his line of reasoning. And you need to allow for the possibility that you might yet be persuaded of what he has to say.

Bret Stephens (b. 1973) American journalist, editor, columnist
“The Dying Art of Disagreement,” Lecture, Lowy Institute Media Award dinner, Sydney (23 Sep 2017)
    (Source)

Reprinted in the New York Times (24 Sep 2017)
 
Added on 15-Jun-21 | Last updated 15-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Stephens, Bret

When I talk about the death penalty to people, there are a zillion pragmatic arguments to make that the death penalty is more expensive, that you could make mistakes with the death penalty. I try to never use them, because I believe that as soon as I use them, I have dropped what matters to me. Because those arguments are disingenuous. To say, “What if we put an innocent person to death?” I am then telling you that if you can promise me we won’t put any innocent people to death that I’m somehow OK with that, and I’m fucking not. Killing people is wrong. Government shouldn’t fucking do it. End of story.

Penn Jillette (b. 1955) American stage magician, actor, musician, author
Interview by Kahterine Mangu-Ward, Reason (Jan 2017)
    (Source)
 
Added on 10-Jun-21 | Last updated 10-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Jillette, Penn

Every great idea is really just a spectacular disagreement with some other great idea.

Bret Stephens (b. 1973) American journalist, editor, columnist
“The Dying Art of Disagreement,” Lecture, Lowy Institute Media Award dinner, Sydney (23 Sep 2017)
    (Source)

Reprinted in the New York Times (24 Sep 2017).
 
Added on 2-Jun-21 | Last updated 2-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Stephens, Bret

One should emulate works and deeds of virtue, not arguments about it.

[Ἔργα καὶ πρήξιας ἀρετῆς, οὐ λόγους, ζηλοῦν χρειών.]

Democritus (c. 460 BC - c. 370 BC) Greek philosopher
Frag. 55 (Diels) [tr. Bakewell (1907)]
    (Source)

Cited in Diels as "55. (121 N.) DEMOKRATES. 21"; collected in Joannes Stobaeus (Stobaios) Anthologium II, 15, 36. Bakewell lists this under "The Golden Sayings of Democritus." Freeman notes this as one of the Gnômae, from a collection called "Maxims of Democratês," but because Stobaeus quotes many of these as "Maxims of Democritus," they are generally attributed to the latter.

Alternate translations:

  • "One should emulate the deeds and actions of virtue, not the words." [tr. Freeman (1948)]
  • "One must emulate the deeds and actions fo virtue, not the words." [tr. Barnes (1987)]
  • "It is necessary to envy the deeds of the work of virtue not the words." [tr. @sententiq (2018)]
  • "Envy the deeds and actions of virtue, not the words." [Source]
 
Added on 23-Feb-21 | Last updated 23-Feb-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Democritus

Great causes are never tried on their merits; but the cause is reduced to particulars to suit the size of the partisans, and the contention is ever hottest on minor matters.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Nature,” Essays: Second Series (1844)
    (Source)
 
Added on 15-Oct-20 | Last updated 24-Feb-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Emerson, Ralph Waldo

The enemies of Freedom do not argue; they shout and they shoot.

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
End of an Age, ch. 4 (1948)
 
Added on 10-Aug-20 | Last updated 10-Aug-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Inge, William Ralph

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) American writer, journalist, activist, politician
I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked, ch. 20 (1935)
    (Source)

A regular comment of his on the campaign trail. The wording is Sinclair's, though there are earlier references with the same sentiment (see here for more discussion).

Often misattributed to H. L. Mencken. (e.g., "Never argue with a man whose job depends on not being convinced") though not found in his work.
 
Added on 16-Jul-20 | Last updated 16-Jul-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Sinclair, Upton

It is as absurd to argue men, as to torture them, into believing.

John Henry Newman (1801-1890) English prelate, Catholic Cardinal, theologian
“The Usurpations of Reason,” Sermon, Oxford, England (11 Dec 1831)
    (Source)
 
Added on 7-Jul-20 | Last updated 7-Jul-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Newman, John

There are two sides to every argument, unless a person is personally involved, in which case there is only one.

(Other Authors and Sources)
“Cutler Webster’s Law,” in P. Dickson (ed.), The Official Rules (1978)
 
Added on 20-May-20 | Last updated 20-May-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by ~Other

So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887) American poet and satirist
“The Blind Men and the Elephant,” Moral, The Poems of John Godfrey Saxe (1872)
    (Source)
 
Added on 8-May-20 | Last updated 11-May-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Saxe, John Godfrey

O’Brien knew everything. A thousand times better than Winston, he knew what the world was really like, in what degradation the mass of human beings lived and by what lies and barbarities the Party kept them there. He had understood it all, weighed it all, and it made no difference: all was justified by the ultimate purpose. What can you do, thought Winston, against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)
    (Source)
 
Added on 28-Oct-19 | Last updated 28-Oct-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Orwell, George

Anger blows out the lamp of the mind. In the examination of a great and important question, every one should be serene, slow-pulsed and calm.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Christian Religion,” Article 3, The North American Review (1881)
    (Source)
 
Added on 31-May-19 | Last updated 31-May-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Ingersoll, Robert Green

Our disputants put me in mind of the scuttle-fish, that when he is unable to extricate himself, blackens all the water about him, till he becomes invisible.

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
The Spectator, #476 (5 Sep 1712)
    (Source)
 
Added on 28-Feb-19 | Last updated 28-Feb-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Addison, Joseph

The intoxication of anger, like that of the grape, shows us to others, but hides us from ourselves; and we injure our own cause, in the opinion of the world, when we too passionately and eagerly defend it.

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer
Lacon, Vol. 1, #240 (1820)
    (Source)
 
Added on 18-Jan-19 | Last updated 18-Jan-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Colton, Charles Caleb

To have a discussion coolly waived when you feel that justice is all on your side is even more exasperating in marriage than in philosophy.

George Eliot (1819-1880) English novelist [pseud. of Mary Ann Evans]
Middlemarch, Book 3, ch. 24 (1871)
    (Source)
 
Added on 3-Nov-17 | Last updated 3-Nov-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Eliot, George

Philosophy had supplied Socrates with convictions in which he had been able to have rational, as opposed to hysterical, confidence when faced with disapproval.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Consolations of Philosophy, ch. 1 “Consolations for Unpopularity” (2000)
    (Source)
 
Added on 24-Aug-17 | Last updated 24-Aug-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by De Botton, Alain

One of the greatest advantages of the totalitarian elites of the twenties and thirties was to turn any statement of fact into a question of motive.

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) German-American philosopher, political theorist
(Spurious)

This is frequently cited to Arendt, often to The Origins of Totalitarianism, (1951), but is not found as such in her works. The source appears to be a paraphrase of Arendt in a 1999 New Yorker article.

Stuart Elden suggested the following from The Origins of Totalitarianism, Part 3, ch. 11, might be original quotation the paraphrase was built on, though the overall meaning is different:

The elite is not composed of ideologists; its members’ whole education is aimed at abolishing their capacity for distinguishing between truth and falsehood, between reality and fiction. Their superiority consists in their ability immediately to dissolve every statement of fact into a declaration of purpose.
 
Added on 17-May-17 | Last updated 5-Jul-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Arendt, Hannah

When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.

Socrates (c.470-399 BC) Greek philosopher
(Spurious)

Of recent coinage. See here for more discussion.
 
Added on 16-Aug-16 | Last updated 16-Aug-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Socrates

The world today is ruled by harassed politicians absorbed in getting into office or turning out the other man so that not much room is left for determining great issues on their merits.

Churchill - harassed politicians - wist_info quote

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British statesman and author
Speech, New York (25 Jan 1932)
 
Added on 7-Apr-16 | Last updated 7-Apr-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Churchill, Winston

Anger is the common substitute for logic among those who have no evidence for what they desperately want to believe.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
“The Tyrannosaurus Prescription”
 
Added on 29-Mar-16 | Last updated 29-Mar-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Asimov, Isaac

Reasoning will never make a Man correct an ill Opinion, which by Reasoning he never acquired.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
“Letter to a Young Clergyman” (9 Jan 1720)
    (Source)

Earliest version of this general sentiment, which has been attributed to (or at times borrowed by) figures such as Sydney Smith, Fisher Ames, and Lyman Beecher.

For more information about this quotation: You Cannot Reason People Out of Something They Were Not Reasoned Into – Quote Investigator.
 
Added on 20-Aug-15 | Last updated 20-Sep-22
Link to this post | 1 comment
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Swift, Jonathan

Arguments only confirm people in their own opinions.

Booth Tarkington (1869-1946) American novelist and dramatist
Looking Forward to the Great Adventure (1926)
 
Added on 17-Oct-14 | Last updated 17-Oct-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Tarkington, Booth

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 (1714-1775) British politician and writer
The Dignity of Human Nature, Sec. 5 “Miscellaneous Thoughts on Prudence in Conversation” (1754)
    (Source)
 
Added on 2-Oct-14 | Last updated 2-Oct-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Burgh, James

Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed — and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment — the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution — not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply “give the public what it wants” — but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
Speech, American Newspaper Publishers Association (27 Apr 1961)
    (Source)
 
Added on 1-Sep-14 | Last updated 1-Sep-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Kennedy, John F.

An eagerness and zeal for dispute on every subject, and with every one, shows great self-sufficiency, that never-failing sign of great self-ignorance.

William Pitt the Elder (1708-1778) British statesman, orator [1st Earl of Chatham]
Correspondence of William Pitt, vol 4 (1840) [ed. Taylor and Pringle]
 
Added on 22-Aug-14 | Last updated 22-Aug-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Pitt, William the Elder

If you mean to make your side of the argument appear plausible, do not prejudice the people against what you think truth by your passionate manner of defending it.

James Burgh (1714-1775) British politician and writer
The Dignity of Human Nature, Sec. 5 “Miscellaneous Thoughts on Prudence in Conversation” (1754)
    (Source)
 
Added on 21-Aug-14 | Last updated 21-Aug-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Burgh, James

The very man who has argued you down, will sometimes be found, years later, to have been influenced by what you said.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
Reflections on the Psalms (1964)
 
Added on 15-Aug-14 | Last updated 15-Aug-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Lewis, C.S.

Prejudice, not being founded on reason, cannot be removed by argument.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
(Spurious)
    (Source)

Frequently attributed without citation, and not found in Johnson's works.  However, the phrase can be found in other contexts:

  • "This objection on the score of color is founded upon prejudice, and hence cannot be removed by argument, for prejudice is blind and listens not to reason." -- Rep. Godlove S. Orth of Indiana, speech before the House of Representatives (5 Apr 1869) on the question of admitting the Dominican Republic as a US territory.
  • "This persuasion of the power of the priest is, as we have said, a traditional prejudice; it is not founded on any reasons or proofs addressed to the understanding, and therefore it cannot be removed by argument." -- John Eliot Howard, The Island of the Saints (1855), quoting from the Achill Herald (Jun 1855).

 
Added on 8-Aug-14 | Last updated 8-Aug-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Johnson, Samuel

But in stating prudential rules for our government in society I must not omit the important one of never entering into dispute or argument with another. I never yet saw an instance of one of two disputants convincing the other by argument. I have seen many of their getting warm, becoming rude, & shooting one another. Conviction is the effect of our own dispassionate reasoning, either in solitude, or weighing within ourselves dispassionately what we hear from others standing uncommitted in argument ourselves.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Thomas Jefferson Randolph (24 Nov 1808)
 
Added on 11-Jul-14 | Last updated 3-Aug-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Jefferson, Thomas

When a subject is highly controversial — and any question about sex is that — one cannot hope to tell the truth. One can only show how one came to hold whatever opinion one does hold. One can only give one’s audience the chance of drawing their own conclusions as they observe the limitations, the prejudices, the idiosyncrasies of the speaker.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
A Room of One’s Own, ch. 1 (1929)
 
Added on 7-Jul-14 | Last updated 7-Jul-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Woolf, Virginia

Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
(Spurious)

Frequently attributed to Twain and also to Immanuel Kant (but never, in either case, with any citation). The phrase first makes recognizable (if anonymous) appearance in the late 19th Century; attributions to Twain begin in the late 1990s. See also Proverbs 26:4. For more discussion (and a shout-out to WIST) see here.
 
Added on 5-Jun-14 | Last updated 25-Mar-19
Link to this post | 4 comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Twain, Mark

I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect.

Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) English historian
(Attributed)

Quoted in The Fra (May 1913) and Elbert Hubbard's Scrap Book (1923).
 
Added on 30-May-14 | Last updated 30-May-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Gibbon, Edward

In a Debate, rather pull to Pieces the Argument of thy Antagonist than offer him any of thy own; for thus thou wilt fight him in his own Country.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Introductio ad Prudentiam, # 766 (1725)
    (Source)
 
Added on 9-May-14 | Last updated 26-Jan-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Fuller, Thomas (1654)

It is only when they cannot answer your reasons, that they wish to knock you down.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“The Assault upon Mr. Sumner,” speech, Concord (26 May 1856)
    (Source)
 
Added on 2-May-14 | Last updated 10-Mar-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Emerson, Ralph Waldo

If government, or those in positions of power and authority, can silence criticism by the argument that such criticism might be misunderstood somewhere, there is an end to all criticism, and perhaps an end to our kind of political system. For men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
“The Problem of Dissent” Saturday Review (Dec 1965)
    (Source)

Reprinted in Freedom and Order (1966); also read into the US Congressional Record (26 Jun 1969).
 
Added on 15-Apr-14 | Last updated 8-Dec-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Commager, Henry Steele

I am bound to furnish my antagonists with arguments, but not with comprehension.

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) English politician and author
(Attributed)

An frequently used saying of his. Quoted in Wilfrid Meynell, Benjamin Disraeli: An Unconventional Biography (1903). Also attributed to Samuel Johnson.
 
Added on 4-Apr-14 | Last updated 4-Apr-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Disraeli, Benjamin

Everyone is in favor of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British statesman and author
Debate, House of Commons (13 Oct 1943)
    (Source)
 
Added on 28-Mar-14 | Last updated 15-Apr-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Churchill, Winston

It is very natural for young men to be vehement, acrimonious and severe. For as they seldom comprehend at once all the consequences of a position, or perceive the difficulties by which cooler and more experienced reasoners are restrained from confidence, they form their conclusions with great precipitance. Seeing nothing that can darken or embarrass the question, they expect to find their own opinion universally prevalent, and are inclined to impute uncertainty and hesitation to want of honesty, rather than of knowledge.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Rambler, #121 (14 May 1751)
    (Source)
 
Added on 31-Jan-14 | Last updated 26-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Johnson, Samuel

I love to see two truths at the same time. Every good comparison gives the mind this advantage.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
 
Added on 20-May-13 | Last updated 13-May-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Joubert, Joseph

Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
“Of Studies,” Essays, No. 50 (1625)
    (Source)
 
Added on 9-Jul-10 | Last updated 25-Mar-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Bacon, Francis

I have seen a man of genius who made one think if other men were like him, cooperation were impossible. Must we always talk for victory, and never once for truth, for comfort, and joy?

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Table Talk,” American Life lecture, Boston (18 Dec 1864)
    (Source)

Speaking of Thoreau's style of conversation. Originally a Journal entry of 29 Feb 1856. Also part of the lecture "Social Aims".
 
Added on 18-Dec-09 | Last updated 10-Mar-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Emerson, Ralph Waldo

Opinions are made to be changed — or how is truth to be got at?

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
Letter to John Murray (9 May 1818)
 
Added on 28-May-09 | Last updated 15-Jun-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Byron, George Gordon, Lord

He that hath the worst Cause, makes the most Noise.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #2153 (1732)
    (Source)
 
Added on 29-Dec-08 | Last updated 26-Jan-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Fuller, Thomas (1654)

The end of an argument or discussion should be, not victory, but enlightenment.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées [Thoughts] (1838) [tr. Collins (1928)]
    (Source)

Alternate translation:

The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress.
[tr. Lyttelton (1899)]

 
Added on 9-Dec-08 | Last updated 19-Dec-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Joubert, Joseph

So then, I am simply in favor of intellectual hospitality — that is all. You come to me with a new idea. I invite you into the house. Let us see what you have. Let us talk it over. If I do not like your thought, I will bid it a polite “good day.” If I do like it, I will say: “Sit down; stay with me, and become a part of the intellectual wealth of my world.” That is all.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Limits of Toleration,” debate at the Nineteenth Century Club, New York (8 May 1888)
    (Source)
 
Added on 3-Jul-08 | Last updated 4-Feb-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Ingersoll, Robert Green

Great virtues may draw attention from defects, they cannot sanctify them. A pebble surrounded by diamonds remains a common stone, and a diamond surrounded by pebbles is still a gem. No one should attempt to refute an argument by pronouncing the name of some man, unless he is willing to adopt all the ideas and beliefs of that man. It is better to give reasons and facts than names. An argument should not depend for its force upon the name of its author. Facts need no pedigree, logic has no heraldry, and the living should not awed by the mistakes of the dead.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Great Infidels” (1881)
    (Source)
 
Added on 26-Jun-08 | Last updated 2-Feb-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Ingersoll, Robert Green