Quotations about   dispute

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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)
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Added on 28-Feb-19 | Last updated 28-Feb-19
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If you are threatened or offended by people disagreeing, challenging or even ridiculing your faith, your faith can’t be that strong.

Ricky Gervais (b. 1961) English comedian, actor, director, writer
Twitter (23 Sep 2012)
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Added on 25-Aug-16 | Last updated 25-Aug-16
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The test of a man or woman’s breeding is how they behave in a quarrel.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
The Philanderer, Act 4 (1893)
Added on 26-Feb-16 | Last updated 26-Feb-16
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If a couple could see themselves twenty years later they might not recognize their love, but they would recognize their argument.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
Vectors: Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays, # 20 (2001)
Added on 11-Sep-15 | Last updated 11-Sep-15
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Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by a difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought to be deprecated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society.

George Washington (1732-1799) American military leader, Founding Father, US President (1789-1797)
Letter to Edward Newenham (30 Oct 1792)
Added on 6-May-15 | Last updated 6-May-15
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Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.

Marcus Aurelius (121-180) Roman emperor (161-180), Stoic philosopher
Meditations, Book 10, #16 [tr. Staniforth (1964)]
Added on 3-Apr-15 | Last updated 1-Mar-16
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This is the character of truth: it is of all time, it is for all men, it has only to show itself to be recognized, and one cannot argue against it. A long dispute means that both parties are wrong.

Voltaire (1694-1778) French writer [pseud. of Francois-Marie Arouet]
Philosophical Dictionary, “Sect” (1764) [tr. Gay (1962)]
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Added on 31-Oct-14 | Last updated 31-Oct-14
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It would be almost unbelievable, if history did not record the tragic fact that men have gone to war and cut each other’s throat because they could not agree as to what was to become of them after their throats were cut. Many sins have been committed in the name of religion. Alas! the spirit of proscription is never kind. It is the unhappy quality of religious disputes that they are always bitter. For some reason, too deep to fathom, men contend more furiously over the road to heaven, which they cannot see, than over their visible walks on earth.

Walter P. Stacy (1884-1951) American jurist
State v. Beal, 199 N.C. 278 (1930)
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Added on 3-Oct-14 | Last updated 3-Oct-14
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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)
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Added on 2-Oct-14 | Last updated 2-Oct-14
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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
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What Tully said of war may be applied to disputing: “It should be always so managed as to remember that the only true end of it is peace.” But generally true disputants are like true sportsmen, — their whole delight is in the pursuit; and the disputant no more cares for the truth than the sportsman for the hare.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“Thoughts on Various Subjects” (1727)
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Added on 8-Aug-14 | Last updated 8-Aug-14
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Lower your voice and strengthen your argument.

Other Authors and Sources
Lebanese proverb
Added on 1-Aug-14 | Last updated 1-Aug-14
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An association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to John Taylor (1 Jun 1798)
Added on 20-Jun-14 | Last updated 20-Jun-14
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Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.

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

Frequently attributed to Twain, but also to Immanuel Kant (but never, in either case, with any citation). See also Proverbs 26:4.
Added on 5-Jun-14 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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‘Twas blow for blow, disputing inch by inch,
For one would not retreat, nor t’other flinch.

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
Don Juan, canto 8, st. 77 (1823)
Added on 14-Mar-14 | Last updated 14-Mar-14
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Where two discourse, if the one’s anger rise,
The man who lets the contest fall is wise.

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Protesilaus, fragment 656

Also attributed to Plutarch.
Added on 16-Aug-13 | Last updated 9-May-14
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That was excellently observed, say I, when I read a passage in an author, where his opinion agrees with mine. When we differ, there I pronounce him to be mistaken.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
“Thoughts on Various Subjects” (1706)
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Added on 17-Feb-10 | Last updated 6-Feb-15
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Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [tr. Collins (1928)]

Alt. trans.: "The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress." [tr. Paul Auster (1983)]
Added on 9-Dec-08 | Last updated 24-Jan-17
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There is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees.

Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) French essayist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Jan-16
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