Pretension Quotes (6 quotes)

... semantics ... is a sober and modest discipline which has no pretensions of being a universal patent-medicine for all the ills and diseases of mankind, whether imaginary or real. You will not find in semantics any remedy for decayed teeth or illusions of grandeur or class conflict. Nor is semantics a device for establishing that everyone except the speaker and his friends is speaking nonsense

An ounce of pretension is worth a pound of manure.

One can be deluded in favor of a proposition as well as against it. Reasons are often and for the most part only expositions of pretensions designed to give a coloring of legitimacy and rationality to something we would have done in any case.

The Analytical Engine has no pretensions whatever to

*originate*anything. It can do whatever we*know how to order it*to perform. It can*follow*analysis; but it has no power of*anticipating*any analytical relations or truths. Its province is to assist us to making*available*what we are already acquainted with.*[Describing Charles Babbage's machine.]*
The opinion of Bacon on this subject [geometry] was diametrically opposed to that of the ancient philosophers. He valued geometry chiefly, if not solely, on account of those uses, which to Plato appeared so base. And it is remarkable that the longer Bacon lived the stronger this feeling became. When in 1605 he wrote the two books on the Advancement of Learning, he dwelt on the advantages which mankind derived from mixed mathematics; but he at the same time admitted that the beneficial effect produced by mathematical study on the intellect, though a collateral advantage, was no less worthy than that which was principal and intended. But it is evident that his views underwent a change. When near twenty years later, he published the

*De Augmentis*, which is the Treatise on the Advancement of Learning, greatly expanded and carefully corrected, he made important alterations in the part which related to mathematics. He condemned with severity the pretensions of the mathematicians, *delidas et faslum mathematicorum.* Assuming the well-being of the human race to be the end of knowledge, he pronounced that mathematical science could claim no higher rank than that of an appendage or an auxiliary to other sciences. Mathematical science, he says, is the handmaid of natural philosophy; she ought to demean herself as such; and he declares that he cannot conceive by what ill chance it has happened that she presumes to claim precedence over her mistress.
[T]he 47th proposition in Euclid might now be voted down with as much ease as any proposition in politics; and therefore if Lord Hawkesbury hates the abstract truths of science as much as he hates concrete truth in human affairs, now is his time for getting rid of the multiplication table, and passing a vote of censure upon the pretensions of the

*hypotenuse*.