Quotations about   objectivity

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The people who say you are not facing reality actually mean that you are not facing their idea of reality. Reality is above all else a variable, and nobody is qualified to say that he or she knows exactly what it is. As a matter of fact, with a firm enough commitment, you can sometimes create a reality which did not exist before. Protestantism itself is proof of that.

Margaret Halsey
Margaret Halsey (1910-1997) American writer
No Laughing Matter (1977)
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Added on 12-May-22 | Last updated 12-May-22
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If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.

Penn Jillette (b. 1955) American stage magician, actor, musician, author
“Passing Down the Joy of Not Collecting Stamps,” God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales (2011)
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Added on 20-May-21 | Last updated 20-May-21
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A common fallacy in much of the adverse criticism to which science is subjected today is that it claims certainty, infallibility and complete emotional objectivity. It would be more nearly true to say that it is based upon wonder, adventure and hope.

Cyril Norman Hinshelwood (1897-1967) British chemist and Nobel laureate
“Classics among the intellectual disciplines,” Presidential Address to the Classical Association, Hull, UK (9 Apr 1959)
Added on 19-Apr-21 | Last updated 19-Apr-21
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Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty. One person may even perceive deformity, where another is sensible of beauty; and every individual ought to acquiesce in his own sentiment, without pretending to regulate those of others.

David Hume (1711-1776) Scottish philosopher, economist, historian, empiricist
“Of the Standard of Taste” (1739)
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Added on 16-Sep-20 | Last updated 16-Sep-20
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He who walks through a great city to find subjects for weeping, may, God knows, find plenty at every corner to wring his heart; but let such a man walk on his course, and enjoy his grief alone — we are not of those who would accompany him. The miseries of us poor earthdwellers gain no alleviation from the sympathy of those who merely hunt them out to be pathetic over them. The weeping philosopher too often impairs his eyesight by his woe, and becomes unable from his tears to see the remedies for the evils which he deplores. Thus it will often be found that the man of no tears is the truest philanthropist, as he is the best physician who wears a cheerful face, even in the worst of cases.

Charles Mackay (1814-1889) Scottish poet, journalist, song writer
Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness Of Crowds (1841)
Added on 19-Aug-16 | Last updated 19-Aug-16
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In fact we say that an intention is good, that is, right in itself, but that an action does not bear any good in itself but proceeds from a good intention. Whence when the same thing is done by the same man at different times, by the diversity of his intention, however, his action is now said to be good, now bad.

Bonam quippe intentionem, hoc est, rectam in se dicimus, operationem vero non quod boni aliquid in se suscipiat, sed quod ex bona intentione procedat. Unde et ab eodem homine cum in diversis temporibus idem fiat, pro diversitate tamen intentione eius operatio modo bono modo mala dicitur.

Peter Abelard (1079-1142) French philosopher, theologian, logician [Pierre Abélard]
Ethics [Ethica], Book 1 [tr. Luscombe (1971)]
Added on 7-Feb-14 | Last updated 7-Feb-14
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The lack of objectivity, as far as foreign nations are concerned, is notorious. From one day to another, another nation is made out to be utterly depraved and fiendish, while one’s own nation stands for everything that is good and noble. Every action of the enemy is judged by one standard — every action of oneself by another. Even good deeds by the enemy are considered a sign of particular devilishness, meant to deceive us and the world, while our bad deeds are necessary and justified by our noble goals, which they serve.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) American psychoanalyst and social philosopher
The Art of Loving, ch. 5 (1956)
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Added on 15-Nov-12 | Last updated 21-Sep-20
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The first rule of democracy is to distrust all leaders who begin to believe their own publicity.

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (1917-2007) American historian, author, social critic
“On Heroic Leadership,” Encounter (Dec 1960)
Added on 13-Apr-10 | Last updated 3-Nov-20
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