Quotations about   pragmatism

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



Reason allows us to determine when our wishes are in irrevocable conflict with reality, and then bids us to submit ourselves willingly, rather than angrily or bitterly, to necessities. We may be powerless to alter certain events, but we remain free to choose our attitude towards them, and it is in our spontaneous acceptance of necessity that we find our distinctive freedom.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Consolations of Philosophy, ch. 3 “Consolation for Frustration”(2000)
    (Source)
Added on 10-Oct-19 | Last updated 10-Oct-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by De Botton, Alain

What Mr. Howells said of the American theater is true of the whole American attitude toward life. “A tragedy with a happy ending” is exactly what the child wants before he goes to sleep: the reassurance that “all’s well with the world” as he lies in his cozy nursery. It is a good thing that the child should receive this reassurance; but as long as he needs it he remains a child, and the world he lives in is a nursery-world. Things are not always and everywhere well with the world, and each man has to find it out as he grows up. It is the finding out that makes him grow, and until he has faced the fact and digested the lesson he is not grown up — he is still in the nursery.

Edith Wharton (1862-1937) American novelist
French Ways and Their Meaning, ch. 4 “Intellectual Honesty” (1919)
    (Source)

Commenting on William Dean Howells' comment to her on American taste in theater and drama: "What the American public wants is a tragedy with a happy ending."
Added on 10-Apr-19 | Last updated 10-Apr-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Wharton, Edith

Love is a great force in private life; it is indeed the greatest of all things: but love in public affairs simply does not work. It has been tried again and again: by the Christian civilisations of the Middle Ages, and also by the French Revolution, a secular movement which reasserted the Brotherhood of Man. And it has always failed. The idea that nations should love one another, or that business concerns or marketing boards should love one another, or that a man in Portugal, say, should love a man in Peru of whom he has never heard—it is absurd, it is unreal, worse, it is dangerous. It leads us into perilous and vague sentimentalism. “Love is what is needed,” we chant, and then sit back and the world goes on as before. The fact is we can only love what we know personally. And we cannot know much. In public affairs, in the rebuilding of civilisation, something much less dramatic and emotional is needed, namely, tolerance.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
“The Unsung Virtue of Tolerance,” radio broadcast (Jul 1941)
    (Source)

Published as "Tolerance," Two Cheers for Democracy (1951)
Added on 13-Mar-19 | Last updated 13-Mar-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Forster, E. M.

Marriage is not just spiritual communion and passionate embraces; marriage is also three-meals-a-day and remembering to carry out the trash.

Joyce Brothers (1927-2013) American psychologist, television personality, advice columnist
“When Your Husband’s Affection Cools,” Good Housekeeping (May 1972)
Added on 6-Dec-17 | Last updated 6-Dec-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Brothers, Joyce

A wise man weaves a philosophy out of each acceptance life forces upon him.

Elizabeth Bibesco (1897-1945) Romanian-English writer
Haven (1951)
    (Source)
Added on 25-May-17 | Last updated 25-May-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Bibesco, Elizabeth

When all is said and all is done,
When all is lost or all is won —
In spite of musty theory,
Of purblind faith and vain conceit,
Of barren creed and sophistry:
In spite of all — success, defeat,
The Judge accords to worst and best,
Impartially, this final test:
What hast thou done with brawn and brain,
To help the world to lose or gain
An onward step? Canst reckon one
Unselfish, brave or noble deed,
That thou — nor counting cost! Hast done
To help a brother’s crying need?
Not what professed nor what believed
But what good thing hast thou achieved?

James Ball Naylor (1860-1945) American physician, writer, poet, politician
“The Final Test”
Added on 24-Jan-17 | Last updated 24-Jan-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Naylor, James Ball

There is always a certain meanness in the argument of conservatism, joined with a certain superiority in its fact.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“The Conservative,” lecture, Masonic Temple, Boston (9 Dec 1841)
Added on 26-Dec-16 | Last updated 26-Dec-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Emerson, Ralph Waldo

Practical politics consists in ignoring facts.

Henry Adams (1838-1918) American journalist, historian, academic, novelist
The Education of Henry Adams, ch. 22 (1907)
Added on 17-Nov-16 | Last updated 17-Nov-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Adams, Henry

DRUMLIN: I know you must think this is all very unfair. Maybe that’s an understatement. What you don’t know is I agree. I wish the world was a place where fair was the bottom line, where the kind of idealism you showed at the hearing was rewarded, not taken advantage of. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world.

ARROWAY: Funny, I’ve always believed that the world is what we make of it.

Carl Sagan (1934-1996) American scientist and writer
Contact, film (1997) [screenplay by J. Hart and M. Goldenberg
Added on 11-Nov-16 | Last updated 11-Nov-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Sagan, Carl

Lady Maccon cast her hands heavenward, although there was no one up there for her to appeal to. It was an accepted fact that preternaturals had no spiritual recourse, only pragmatism. Alexia didn’t mind; the latter had often gotten her out of sticky situations, whereas the former seemed highly unreliable when one was in a bind.

Gail Carriger (b. 1976) American archaeologist, author [pen name of Tofa Borregaard]
Heartless (2011)
Added on 22-Sep-16 | Last updated 22-Sep-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Carriger, Gail

We are much beholden to Machiavel and others, that write what men do, and not what they ought to do.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
De Augmentis Scientiarum [Advancement of Learning], Book 2, ch. 21, #9 (1605)
Added on 11-Aug-16 | Last updated 11-Aug-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Bacon, Francis

It doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.

Deng - cat is black or white - wist_info quote

Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997) Chinese revolutionary, politician, statesman [Teng Hsiao-p'ing]
Speech, Communist Youth League conference (Jul 1962)

There are a variety of translations, and Deng used the phrase on numerous occasions.
Added on 5-Aug-16 | Last updated 5-Aug-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Deng Xiaoping

Hope for the best.
Expect the worst.
The world’s a stage.
We’re unrehearsed.

Brooks - were unrehearsed - wist_info quote

Mel Brooks (b. 1926) American comedic actor, writer, producer [b. Melvyn Kaminsky]
The Twelve Chairs, “Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst”, chorus (1970)
Added on 20-Jul-16 | Last updated 20-Jul-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Brooks, Mel

He that studies books alone, will know how things ought to be; and he that studies men will know how things are.

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer
Lacon: or, Many Things in Few Words, Preface (1821 ed.)
Added on 19-May-16 | Last updated 19-May-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Colton, Charles Caleb

LADY MACBETH: Whither should I fly?
I have done no harm. But I remember now
I am in this earthly world; where to do harm
Is often laudable, to do good sometime
Accounted dangerous folly.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Macbeth, Act 4, scene 2, l. 74 (1605)
Added on 22-Mar-16 | Last updated 18-Mar-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Shakespeare, William

A belief is a question we have put aside so we can get on with what we believe we have to do.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
Vectors: Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays, #100 (2001)
Added on 8-Jan-16 | Last updated 8-Jan-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Richardson, James

One should never forbid what one lacks the power to prevent.

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) French emperor, military leader
(Attributed)

An aphorism he frequently used. See Sophocles.
Added on 14-Sep-15 | Last updated 14-Sep-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Napoleon Bonaparte

Hunger makes a thief of any man.

Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973) American writer
The Good Earth, ch. 15 (1931)
Added on 10-Sep-15 | Last updated 10-Sep-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Buck, Pearl S.

In order to govern, the question is not to follow out a more or less valid theory but to build with whatever materials are at hand. The inevitable must be accepted and turned to advantage.

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) French emperor, military leader
Deathbed statement (17 Apr 1821)
Added on 7-Sep-15 | Last updated 7-Sep-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Napoleon Bonaparte

In foreign policy one must make do with what one has.

Henry Kissinger (b. 1923) German-American diplomat
Years of Upheaval, ch. 12 (1982)
Added on 1-Sep-15 | Last updated 1-Sep-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Kissinger, Henry

International relations are governed by interests, and not by moral principles.

B. H. Liddell Hart (1895-1970) English soldier, military historian (Basil Henry Liddell Hart)
“The Illusion of Treaties,” Why Don’t We Learn from History? (1944)
Added on 25-Aug-15 | Last updated 25-Aug-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Liddell Hart, B. H.

Governments make of philosophy a means of serving their state interests, and scholars make of it a trade.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher
(Attributed)

Speaking of Hegel acting as an agent of the Prussian government.
Added on 23-Jul-15 | Last updated 23-Jul-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Schopenhauer, Arthur

America — a conservative country without any conservative ideology — appears now before the world a naked and arbitrary power, as, in the name of realism, its men of decision enforce their often crackpot definitions upon world reality. The second-rate mind is in command of the ponderously spoken platitude. In the liberal rhetoric, vagueness, and in the conservative mood, irrationality, are raised to principle. Public relations and the official secret, the trivializing campaign and the terrible fact clumsily accomplished, are replacing the reasoned debate of political ideas in the privately incorporated economy, the military ascendancy, and the political vacuum of modern America.

C. Wright Mills (1916-1962) American sociologist, academic, author [Charles Wright Mills]
The Power Elite, ch. 14 “The Conservative Mood” (1956)
    (Source)
Added on 21-Jan-15 | Last updated 21-Jan-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Mills, C. Wright

To accomplish almost anything worthwhile, it is necessary to compromise between the ideal and the practical.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) US President (1933-1945)
In Drew Pearson and Robert S. Allen, “How the President Works,” Harper’s (Jun 1936)
Added on 9-Dec-14 | Last updated 9-Dec-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Roosevelt, Franklin Delano

Listen, here’s the thing about politics: It’s not an expression of your moral purity and your ethics and your probity and your fond dreams of some utopian future. Progressive people constantly fail to get this.

Tony Kushner (b. 1956) American playwright and screenwriter
Interview with Ben Greenman, “Tony Kushner, Radical Pragmatist,” Mother Jones (Nov/Dec 2003)
    (Source)
Added on 14-Aug-14 | Last updated 14-Aug-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Kushner, Tony

Saints can be pure but statesmen must be responsible. As trustees for others, they must defend interests and compromise principles. In politics, practical and prudential judgment must have priority over moral verdicts.

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (1917-2007) American historian, author, social critic
“The Necessary Amorality of Foreign Affairs,” Harper’s (Aug 1971)
Added on 16-Jul-14 | Last updated 16-Jul-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Schlesinger, Arthur

It is a human inclination to hope things will work out, despite evidence or doubt to the contrary. A successful manager must resist this temptation. This is particularly hard if one has invested much time and energy on a project and thus has come to feel possessive about it. Although it is not easy to admit what a person once thought correct now appears to be wrong, one must discipline himself to face the facts objectively and make the necessary changes — regardless of the consequences to himself. The man in charge must personally set the example in this respect. He must be able, in effect, to “kill his own child” if necessary and must require his subordinates to do likewise.

Hyman Rickover (1900-1986) US Navy Admiral
(Attributed)

Quoted in T. Rockwell, The Rickover Effect (1992)

Added on 11-Aug-08 | Last updated 9-May-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Rickover, Hyman

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
James 2:14-18 (KJV)
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:
  • "What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith." (NRSV)
  • "My friends, what good is it for one of you to say that you have faith if your actions do not prove it? Can that faith save you? Suppose there are brothers or sisters who need clothes and don't have enough to eat. What good is there in your saying to them, “God bless you! Keep warm and eat well!”—if you don't give them the necessities of life? So it is with faith: if it is alone and includes no actions, then it is dead. But someone will say, “One person has faith, another has actions.” My answer is, “Show me how anyone can have faith without actions. I will show you my faith by my actions.” " (GNT)
Added on 7-Feb-05 | Last updated 8-Nov-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Bible

HAYWOOD: There are those in our own country, too, who today speak of the protection of country, of survival. A decision must be made, in the life of every nation, at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat, when it seems the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient. To look the other way. Only the answer to that is: Survival as what?

Abby Mann (1927-2008) American screenwriter, producer [a.k.a. Abraham Goodman, Ben Goodman]
Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 6-Dec-14
Link to this post | 1 comment
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Mann, Abby

Whenever people say “we mustn’t be sentimental,” you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add, “we must be realistic,” they mean they are going to make money out of it.

Brigid Brophy (1929-1995) Anglo-Irish writer, novelist, playwright
Unlived Life
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 4-Sep-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Brophy, Brigid