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Who said: “Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.”
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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index S > Category: Self-Evident

Self-Evident Quotes (6 quotes)

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. [Caution: expressed in this wording, it is likely misattributed.]
Schopenhauer did write a different reflection with this theme, much less tersely, on how the acceptance of truth has “only one short victory celebration is granted between the two long periods where it is despised as paradox and condemned as trivial.” See the Introduction to The World as Will and Representation (1819), xvi. The “three stages” quote is included here so it may be found with this caution: it is questionable that Schopenhauer expressed this idea with this wording. Although widely repeated, Webmaster has not yet found any citation to a primary source for these words. (Schopenhauer was German, so any quote in English represents a translation.) According to Ralph Keys, diligent search by scholars has found no written source in German, either. The sentiment has been variously restated and attributed to other authors. A somewhat better-documented version of the “three stages of truth” is attributed to Louis Agassiz, though still with only second-person references. See Ralph Keyes, The Quote Verifier (2006), 225-226.
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Forty years ago the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead thought it self-evident that you would get a good government if you took power out of the hands of the acquisitive and gave it to the learned and the cultivated. At present, a child in kindergarten knows better than that.
In Before the Sabbath (1979), 40-41.
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It seems plain and self-evident, yet it needs to be said: the isolated knowledge obtained by a group of specialists in a narrow field has in itself no value whatsoever, but only in its synthesis with all the rest of knowledge and only inasmuch as it really contributes in this synthesis toward answering the demand, ‘Who are we?’
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One of the most self-evident principles … is that in science “You can’t vote on the truth.”
In Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology and Academic Science (1998), 273.
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We hold these truths to be self-evident.
Franklin's edit to the assertion of religion in Thomas Jefferson's original wording, “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable” in a draft of the Declaration of Independence changes it instead into an assertion of rationality. The scientific mind of Franklin drew on the scientific determinism of Isaac Newton and the analytic empiricism of David Hume and Gottfried Leibniz. In what became known as “Hume's Fork” the latters' theory distinguished between synthetic truths that describe matters of fact, and analytic truths that are self-evident by virtue of reason and definition.
As explained by Walter Isaacson in Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2004), 312.
Science quotes on:  |  Declaration Of Independence (3)  |  Determinism (7)  |  Empiricism (16)  |  David Hume (33)  |  Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (27)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (258)  |  Rational (42)  |  Reason (330)  |  Science And Religion (267)  |  Truth (750)

When puzzled, it never hurts to read the primary documents–a rather simple and self-evident principle that has, nonetheless, completely disappeared from large sectors of the American experience.
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Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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- 90 -
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Euclid
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Andre Ampere
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- 80 -
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Bible
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- 70 -
Samuel Morse
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Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
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Avicenna
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- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
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Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
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Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
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Richard Feynman
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- 20 -
Carl Sagan
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- 10 -
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