„Most events spring from causes equally small: we are unacquainted with them because most historians have been themselves ignorant of them, or have not had eyes capable of perceiving them. It is true, that, in this respect, the mind may repair their omissions; for the knowledge of certain principles easily compensates the lack of knowledge of certain facts.“

La plupart des évènements ont des causes aussi petites. Nous les ignorons, parce que la plupart des historiens les ont ignorées eux-mêmes, ou parce qu’ils n’ont pas eu d’yeux pour les appercevoir. Il est vrai qu’à cet égard l’esprit peut réparer leurs omissions : la connoissance de certains principes supplée facilement à la connoissance de certains faits.
Essay III, Chapter I
De l'esprit or, Essays on the Mind, and Its Several Faculties (1758)

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Claude Adrien Helvétius Foto
Claude Adrien Helvétius5
französischer Philosoph 1715 - 1771

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David Hume Foto

„This deficiency in our ideas is not, indeed, perceived in common life, nor are we sensible, that in the most usual conjunctions of cause and effect we are as ignorant of the ultimate principle, which binds them together, as in the most unusual and extraordinary.“

—  David Hume, buch A Treatise of Human Nature

Part 4, Section 7
A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40), Book 1: Of the understanding
Kontext: This deficiency in our ideas is not, indeed, perceived in common life, nor are we sensible, that in the most usual conjunctions of cause and effect we are as ignorant of the ultimate principle, which binds them together, as in the most unusual and extraordinary. But this proceeds merely from an illusion of the imagination; and the question is, how far we ought to yield to these illusions. This question is very difficult, and reduces us to a very dangerous dilemma, whichever way we answer it. For if we assent to every trivial suggestion of the fancy; beside that these suggestions are often contrary to each other; they lead us into such errors, absurdities, and obscurities, that we must at last become asham'd of our credulity. Nothing is more dangerous to reason than the flights of the imagination, and nothing has been the occasion of more mistakes among philosophers. Men of bright fancies may in this respect be compar'd to those angels, whom the scripture represents as covering their eyes with their wings. This has already appear'd in so many instances, that we may spare ourselves the trouble of enlarging upon it any farther.

Henri Poincaré Foto
Pierre-Simon Laplace Foto
Aurelius Augustinus Foto

„We both are, and know that we are, and delight in our being, and our knowledge of it. Moreover, in these three things no true-seeming illusion disturbs us; for we do not come into contact with these by some bodily sense, as we perceive the things outside of us of all which sensible objects it is the images resembling them, but not themselves which we perceive in the mind and hold in the memory, and which excite us to desire the objects. But, without any delusive representation of images or phantasms, I am most certain that I am, and that I know and delight in this.“

—  Aurelius Augustinus, buch The City of God

XI, 26, Parts of this passage has been heavily compared with later statements of René Descartes; in Latin and with a variant translations:
The City of God (early 400s)
Kontext: We both are, and know that we are, and delight in our being, and our knowledge of it. Moreover, in these three things no true-seeming illusion disturbs us; for we do not come into contact with these by some bodily sense, as we perceive the things outside of us of all which sensible objects it is the images resembling them, but not themselves which we perceive in the mind and hold in the memory, and which excite us to desire the objects. But, without any delusive representation of images or phantasms, I am most certain that I am, and that I know and delight in this. In respect of these truths, I am not at all afraid of the arguments of the Academicians, who say, What if you are deceived? For if I am deceived, I am. For he who is not, cannot be deceived; and if I am deceived, by this same token I am. And since I am if I am deceived, how am I deceived in believing that I am? for it is certain that I am if I am deceived. Since, therefore, I, the person deceived, should be, even if I were deceived, certainly I am not deceived in this knowledge that I am. And, consequently, neither am I deceived in knowing that I know. For, as I know that I am, so I know this also, that I know. And when I love these two things, I add to them a certain third thing, namely, my love, which is of equal moment. For neither am I deceived in this, that I love, since in those things which I love I am not deceived; though even if these were false, it would still be true that I loved false things. For how could I justly be blamed and prohibited from loving false things, if it were false that I loved them? But, since they are true and real, who doubts that when they are loved, the love of them is itself true and real? Further, as there is no one who does not wish to be happy, so there is no one who does not wish [themself] to be [into being]. For how can he be happy, if he is nothing?

William Stanley Jevons Foto
Karl Pearson Foto
Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues Foto
Socrates Foto
William G. Boykin Foto

„No one I have ever known is so brilliant as to have learned the languages of all fields of knowledge equally well. Most of us do not learn some of them at all.“

—  Neil Postman American writer and academic 1931 - 2003

Language Education in a Knowledge Context (1980)
Kontext: The question, "How well does one read?" is a bad question... essentially unanswerable. A more proper question is "How well does one read poetry, or history, or science, or religion?" No one I have ever known is so brilliant as to have learned the languages of all fields of knowledge equally well. Most of us do not learn some of them at all.

Hannah Arendt Foto

„Because of the influence of the cinema, most reports or stories of violence are so pictorial that they lack content or meaning. The camera brings them to our eyes, but does not settle them in our minds, nor in time.“

—  V.S. Pritchett British writer and critic 1900 - 1997

"Jorge Luis Borges: Medallions", p. 178
The Myth Makers: European and Latin American Writers (1979)

Muhammad al-Taqi Foto

„Knowledgeable persons are strangers because of the many ignorant people around them.“

—  Muhammad al-Taqi ninth of the Twelve Imams of Twelver Shi'ism 811 - 835

[Baqir Sharīf al-Qurashi, The life of Imam Muhammad al-Jawad, Wonderful Maxims and Arts, 2005]

Brent Weeks Foto
Robert Grosseteste Foto
Isaac Newton Foto
Jacob Bronowski Foto

„The Principle of Uncertainty is a bad name. In science, or outside of it, we are not uncertain; our knowledge is merely confined, within a certain tolerance. We should call it the Principle of Tolerance. And I propose that name in two senses. First, in the engineering sense: Science has progressed, step by step, the most successful enterprise in the ascent of man, because it has understood that the exchange of information between man and nature, and man and man, can only take place with a certain tolerance. But second, I also use the word, passionately, about the real world. All knowledge – all information between human beings – can only be exchanged within a play of tolerance. And that is true whether the exchange is in science, or in literature, or in religion, or in politics, or in any form of thought that aspires to dogma. It's a major tragedy of my lifetime and yours that scientists were refining, to the most exquisite precision, the Principle of Tolerance – and turning their backs on the fact that all around them, tolerance was crashing to the ground beyond repair. The Principle of Uncertainty or, in my phrase, the Principle of Tolerance, fixed once for all the realization that all knowledge is limited. It is an irony of history that at the very time when this was being worked out, there should rise, under Hitler in Germany and other tyrants elsewhere, a counter-conception: a principle of monstrous certainty. When the future looks back on the 1930's, it will think of them as a crucial confrontation of culture as I have been expounding it – the ascent of man against the throwback to the despots' belief that they have absolute certainty.“

—  Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man

Episode 11: "Knowledge or Certainty"
The Ascent of Man (1973)

Maimónides Foto
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