It is as if the stuff of which we are made were totally transparent and therefore imperceptible and as if the only appearances of which we can be aware are cracks and planes of fracture in that transparent matrix. Dreams and percepts and stories are perhaps cracks and irregularities in the uniform and timeless matrix. Was this what Plotinus meant by an 'invisible and unchanging beauty which pervades all things"?
Our faith is faith in some one else's faith.
The real, then, is that which, sooner or later, information and reasoning would finally result in, and which is therefore independent of the vagaries of me and you. Thus, the very origin of the conception of reality shows that this conception essentially involves the notion of a COMMUNITY, without definite limits, and capable of a definite increase of knowledge.
It is important to understand what I mean by semiosis. All dynamic action, or action of brute force, physical or psychical, either takes place between two subjects, whether they react equally upon each other, or one is agent and the other patient, entirely or partially, or at any rate is a resultant of such actions between pairs. But by "semiosis" I mean, on the contrary, an action, or influence, which is, or involves, a cooperation of three subjects, such as a sign, its object, and its interpretant, this tri-relative influence not being in any way resolvable into actions between pairs.
The one [the logician] studies the science of drawing conclusions, the other [the mathematician] the science which draws necessary conclusions.
Still, it will sometimes strike a scientific man that the philosophers have been less intent on finding out what the facts are, than on inquiring what belief is most in harmony with their system.
The method of authority will always govern the mass of mankind; and those who wield the various forms of organized force in the state will never be convinced that dangerous reasoning ought not to be suppressed in some way.
The percept is the reality. It is not in propositional form. But the most immediate judgment concerning it is abstract. It is therefore essentially unlike the reality, although it must be accepted as true to that reality. Its truth consists in the fact that it is impossible to correct it, and in the fact that it only professes to consider one aspect of the percept.
If man were immortal he could be perfectly sure of seeing the day when everything in which he had trusted should betray his trust.
The truth is, that common-sense, or thought as it first emerges above the level of the narrowly practical, is deeply imbued with that bad logical quality to which the epithet metaphysical is commonly applied; and nothing can clear it up but a severe course of logic.
The woof and warp of all thought and all research is symbols, and the life of thought and science is the life inherent in symbols; so that it is wrong to say that a good language is important to good thought, merely; for it is the essence of it.
Our whole past experience is continually in our consciousness, though most of it sunk to a great depth of dimness. I think of consciousness as a bottomless lake, whose waters seem transparent, yet into which we can clearly see but a little way.
It is a common observation that a science first begins to be exact when it is quantitatively treated. What are called the exact sciences are no others than the mathematical ones.
The a priori method is distinguished for its comfortable conclusions. It is the nature of the process to adopt whatever belief we are inclined to, and there are certain flatteries to the vanity of man which we all believe by nature, until we are awakened from our pleasing dream by rough facts.
We may say that feelings have two kinds of intensity. One is the intensity of the feeling itself, by which loud sounds are distinguished from faint ones, luminous colors from dark ones, highly chromatic colors from almost neutral tints, etc. The other is the intensity of consciousness that lays hold of the feeling, which makes the ticking of a watch actually heard infinitely more vivid than a cannon shot remembered to have been heard a few minutes ago.
To suppose universal laws of nature capable of being apprehended by the mind and yet having no reason for their special forms, but standing inexplicable and irrational, is hardly a justifiable position. Uniformities are precisely the sort of facts that need to be accounted for. Law is par excellence the thing that wants a reason. Now the only possible way of accounting for the laws of nature, and for uniformity in general, is to suppose them results of evolution.
Every man is fully satisfied that there is such a thing as truth, or he would not ask any question.
Generality is, indeed, an indispensable ingredient of reality; for mere individual existence or actuality without any regularity whatever is a nullity. Chaos is pure nothing.
A true proposition is a proposition belief which would never lead to such disappointment so long as the proposition is not understood otherwise than it was intended.
It is terrible to see how a single unclear idea, a single formula without meaning, lurking in a young man's head, will sometimes act like an obstruction of inert matter in an artery, hindering the nutrition of the brain and condemning its victim to pine away in the fullness of his intellectual vigor and in the midst of intellectual plenty.
It has often been argued that absolute scepticism is self-contradictory; but this is a mistake: and even if it were not so, it would be no argument against the absolute sceptic, inasmuch as he does not admit that no contradictory propositions are true. Indeed, it would be impossible to move such a man, for his scepticism consists in considering every argument and never deciding upon its validity; he would, therefore, act in this way in reference to the arguments brought against him.
...mathematics is distinguished from all other sciences except only ethics, in standing in no need of ethics. Every other science, even logic, especially in its early stages, is in danger of evaporating into airy nothingness, degenerating, as the Germans say, into an arachnoid film, spun from the stuff that dreams are made of. There is no such danger for pure mathematics; for that is precisely what mathematics ought to be.
The final upshot of thinking is the exercise of volition, and of this thought no longer forms a part; but belief is only a stadium of mental action, an effect upon our nature due to thought, which will influence future thinking.
Another characteristic of mathematical thought is that it can have no success where it cannot generalize.
The universe ought to be presumed too vast to have any character.
A hypothesis is something which looks as if it might be true and were true, and which is capable of verification or refutation by comparison with facts.
Mathematics is purely hypothetical: it produces nothing but conditional propositions.
If an opinion can eventually go to the determination of a practical belief, it, in so far, becomes itself a practical belief; and every proposition that is not pure metaphysical jargon and chatter must have some possible bearing upon practice.
No general description of the mode of advance of human knowledge can be just which leaves out of account the social aspect of knowledge. That is of its very essence. What a thing society is! The workingman, with his trade union, knows that. Men and women moving in polite society understand it, still better. But Bohemians, like me, whose work is done in solitude, are apt to forget that not only is a man as a whole little better than a brute in solitude, but also that everything that bears any important meaning to him must receive its interpretation from social considerations.
Looking out of my window this lovely spring morning I see an azalea in full bloom. No, no! I do not see that; though that is the only way I can describe what I see. That is a proposition, a sentence, a fact; but what I perceive is not proposition, sentence, fact, but only an image which I make intelligible in part by means of a statement of fact. This statement is abstract; but what I see is concrete.
A sign, or representamen, is something which stands to somebody for something in some respect or capacity. It addresses somebody,that is, creates in the mind of that person an equivalent sign, or perhaps a more developed sign. That sign which it creates I call the interpretant of the first sign. The sign stands for something, its object. It stands for that object, not in all respects, but in reference to a sort of idea, which I have sometimes called the ground of the representamen.
Mathematics is distinguished from all other sciences except only ethics, in standing in no need of ethics.
The definition of definition is at bottom just what the maxim of pragmatism expresses.
We should chiefly depend not upon that department of the soul which is most superficial and fallible (our reason), but upon that department that is deep and sure, which is instinct.
I think of consciousness as a bottomless lake, whose waters seem transparent, yet into which we can clearly see but a little way.But in this water there are countless objects at different depths; and certain influences will give certain kinds of those objects an upward influence which may be intense enough and continue long enough to bring them into the upper visible layer. After the impulse ceases they commence to sink downwards.
Bad reasoning as well as good reasoning is possible; and this fact is the foundation of the practical side of logic.
Unless man have a natural bent in accordance with nature's, he has no chance of understanding nature at all.
I define a Sign as anything which is so determined by something else, called its Object, and so determines an effect upon a person, which effect I call its Interpretant, that the latter is thereby mediately determined by the former.
All the progress we have made in philosophy ... is the result of that methodical skepticism which is the element of human freedom.
If man were immortal he could be perfectly sure of seeing the day when everything in which he had trusted should betray his trust, and, in short, of coming eventually to hopeless misery. He would break down, at last, as every good fortune, as every dynasty, as every civilization does. In place of this we have death.
By an object, I mean anything that we can think, i.e. anything we can talk about.
There is a kink in my damned brain that prevents me from thinking as other people think.
There never was a sounder logical maxim of scientific procedure than Ockham's razor: Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem. That is to say; before you try a complicated hypothesis, you should make quite sure that no simplification of it will explain the facts equally well.
In all the works on pedagogy that ever I read — and they have been many, big, and heavy — I don't remember that any one has advocated a system of teaching by practical jokes, mostly cruel. That, however, describes the method of our great teacher, Experience.
Doubt is an uneasy and dissatisfied state from which we struggle to free ourselves and pass into the state of belief; while the latter is a calm and satisfactory state which we do not wish to avoid, or to change to a belief in anything else.
Every new concept first comes to the mind in a judgment.
We do not really think, we are barely conscious, until something goes wrong.
Three elements go to make up an idea. The first is its intrinsic quality as a feeling. The second is the energy with which it affects other ideas, an energy which is infinite in the here-and-nowness of immediate sensation, finite and relative in the recency of the past. The third element is the tendency of an idea to bring along other ideas with it.
Effort supposes resistance.
It is... easy to be certain. One has only to be sufficiently vague.
The one primary and fundamental law of mental action consists in a tendency to generalisation.
The only possible way of accounting for the laws of nature and for uniformity in general is to suppose them results of evolution. This supposes them not to be absolute, not to be obeyed precisely.
The hypothesis of God is a peculiar one, in that it supposes an infinitely incomprehensible object, although every hypothesis, as such, supposes its object to be truly conceived in the hypothesis.
Few persons care to study logic, because everybody conceives himself to be proficient enough in the art of reasoning already.
One of the most marked features about the law of mind is that it makes time to have a definite direction of flow from past to future.
Bravery is not the absence of fear. Bravery is feeling the fear, the doubt, the insecurity, and deciding that something else is more important.
We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case and that faith causes people to be more mean, more selfish, and perhaps above all, more stupid.
The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.
Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.
Human relationsHuman relations
Terrorizzare i bambini con l'immagine dell'inferno, considerare la donna una creatura inferiore: è cosa buona per l'umanità?
To terrify children with the image of hell, to consider women an inferior creation—is that good for the world?
Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.
The vast majority of human beings dislike and even dread all notions with which they are not familiar. Hence it comes about that at their first appearance innovators have always been derided as fools and madmen.
You cannot give to people what they are incapable of receiving.
Human relationsHuman relations
To be passive is to let others decide for you. To be aggressive is to decide for others. To be assertive is to decide for yourself.
Try not to become a man of success, but a man of value. Look around at how people want to get more out of life than they put in. A man of value will give more than he receives.
Human valuesHuman values
I started my professional activity as a neurologist trying to bring relief to my neurotic patients. Under the influence of an older friend and by my own efforts, I discovered some important new facts about the unconscious in psychic life, the role of instinctual urges, and so on. Out of these findings grew a new science, psychoanalysis, a part of psychology, and a new method of treatment of the neuroses. I had to pay heavily for this bit of good luck. People did not believe in my facts and thought my theories unsavory. Resistance was strong and unrelenting. In the end I succeeded in acquiring pupils and building up an International Psychoanalytic Association. But the struggle is not yet over.
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.
People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character.
To be proud of virtue, is to poison yourself with the Antidote.
Everyone is right from their point of view, and the points of view can be very different.
The law an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
The future depends on what you do today.
The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell.
No one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.
People run in packs because they don't feel safe alone. I run alone because I don't feel safe in packs.
Human relationsHuman relations
Wrongs are often forgiven, but contempt never is.
Learning is acquired by reading books; but the much more necessary learning, the knowledge of the world, is only to be acquired by reading men, and studying all the various editions of them.
Climate change could produce a lot of misery and waste without necessarily leading to large-scale armed conflict, which depends more on ideology and bad governance than on resource scarcity.
Belief in a cruel god makes a cruel man.
There's no doubt that inequality destabilizes societies. I think the social science evidence on that front is crystal clear.
If you're not going to be rewarded for your virtues, and instead you're going to be punished for them, then what's your motivation to continue?
If you learn a martial art, you learn to be dangerous, but simultaneously, you learn to control it.
Become aware of your own insufficiency.
Free speech is not just another value. It's the foundation of Western civilization.
Adopt responsibility for your own well-being, try to put your family together, try to serve your community, try to seek for eternal truth... That's the sort of thing that can ground you in your life, enough so that you can withstand the difficulty of life.
I don't tell people, 'You're okay the way that you are.' That's not the right story. The right story is, 'You're way less than you could be.'
It is more difficult to rule yourself than to rule a city.
The truth is something that burns. It burns off dead wood. And people don't like having the dead wood burnt off, often because they're 95 percent dead wood.
Accept the terrible responsibility of life with eyes wide open.
Don't compare yourself with other people; compare yourself with who you were yesterday.
The function of the nervous system is to bring each part into harmonious co-operation with every other.
Too little liberty brings stagnation, and too much brings chaos.
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
A living system, due to its circular organization, is an inductive system and functions always in a predictive manner: what happened once will occur again. Its organization, (genetic and otherwise) is conservative and repeats only that which works. For this same reason living systems are historical systems; the relevance of a given conduct or mode of behavior is always determined in the past.
Living systems are units of interactions; they exist in an ambience. From a purely biological point of view they cannot be understood independently of that part of the ambience with which they interact: the niche; nor can the niche be defined independently of the living system that specifies it.
If you look around at your family and friends, you will see that the happiest people are the ones who don't pretend to know what's right for others and don't try to control anyone but themselves.
Since the obvious purpose of pain, misery, and suffering is to tell you something is wrong, fix it, change it, reform, improve, get help; if you don’t have the strength to do it, you are stuck with the pain. This is not to say that people with strength don’t suffer—they do. They have no immunity to life, but when they feel pain, they get moving or at least they try to do something, and the more strength they have the more successful their efforts are.
True compassion is helping people help themselves.
If everyone could learn that what is right for me does not make it right for anyone else, the world would be a much happier place.