„A writer may use different terms to mean the same thing, in order to avoid a monotonous repetition of the same word. Common, vague words may be employed in order that the common people may understand; and sometimes a writer sacrifices perfect accuracy in the interest of a clear general statement. Poetical, figurative language is often obscure and vague.“

—  Petrus Abaelardus, Context: There are many seeming contradictions and even obscurities in the innumerable writings of the church fathers. Our respect for their authority should not stand in the way of an effort on our part to come at the truth. The obscurity and contradictions in ancient writings may be explained upon many grounds, and may be discussed without impugning the good faith and insight of the fathers. A writer may use different terms to mean the same thing, in order to avoid a monotonous repetition of the same word. Common, vague words may be employed in order that the common people may understand; and sometimes a writer sacrifices perfect accuracy in the interest of a clear general statement. Poetical, figurative language is often obscure and vague. Not infrequently apocryphal works are attributed to the saints. Then, even the best authors often introduce the erroneous views of others and leave the reader to distinguish between the true and the false. Sometimes, as Augustine confesses in his own case, the fathers ventured to rely upon the opinions of others. Prologue as translated in Readings in European History, Vol. I (1904) edited by James Harvey Robinson, p. 450
Petrus Abaelardus Foto
Petrus Abaelardus10
Philosoph des Mittelalters und Vertreter der Frühscholastik 1079 - 1142
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„Whenever we proceed from the known into the unknown we may hope to understand, but we may have to learn at the same time a new meaning of the word "understanding."“

—  Werner Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science
Context: Whenever we proceed from the known into the unknown we may hope to understand, but we may have to learn at the same time a new meaning of the word "understanding."

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„I say, life and figure are distinct attributes of one substance, and as one and the same body may be transmuted into all kinds of figures; and as the perfecter figure comprehends that which is more imperfect; so one and the same body may be transmuted from one degree of life to another more perfect, which always comprehends in it the inferior.“

—  Anne Conway
Context: I say, life and figure are distinct attributes of one substance, and as one and the same body may be transmuted into all kinds of figures; and as the perfecter figure comprehends that which is more imperfect; so one and the same body may be transmuted from one degree of life to another more perfect, which always comprehends in it the inferior. We have an example of figure in a triangular prism, which is the first figure of all right lined solid triangular prism, which is the first figure of all right lined solid bodies, where into a body is convertible; and from this into a cube, which is a perfecter figure, and comprehends in it a prism; from a cube it may be turned into a more perfect figure, which comes nearer to a globe, and from this into another, which is yet nearer; and so it ascends from one figure, more imperfect to another more perfect, ad infinitum; for here are no bounds; nor can it be said, this body cannot be changed into a perfecter figure: But the meaning is that that body consists of plane right lines; and this is always chageablee into a perfecter figure, and yet can never reach to the perfection of a globe, although it always approaches nearer unto it; the case is the same in diverse degrees of life, which have indeed a beginning, but no end; so that the creature is always capable of a farther and perfecter degree of life, ad infinitum, and yet can never attain to be equal with God; for he is still infinitely more perfect than a creature, in its highest elevation or perfection, even as a globe is the most perfect of all other figures, unto which none can approach.

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„Croatian linguists proscribe words that are common to the majority of the Croatian people just to make a difference to the language in Serbia.“

—  Snježana Kordić Croatian linguist 1964
I linguisti croati rifiutano le parole in uso presso la maggior parte della popolazione solo per dare artificiosamente corpo ad una diversità nei confronti della lingua parlata in Serbia. [Kordić, Snježana, w:Snježana Kordić, Snježana Kordić, Purismo e censura linguistica in Croazia oggi, Studi Slavistici, 5, 284, 2008, http://www.fupress.net/index.php/ss/article/view/2943/8774, 1824-7601] (in Italian)

„Conventions of generality and mathematical elegance may be just as much barriers to the attainment and diffusion of knowledge as may contentment with particularity and literary vagueness… It may well be that the slovenly and literary borderland between economics and sociology will be the most fruitful building ground during the years to come and that mathematical economics will remain too flawless in its perfection to be very fruitful.“

—  Kenneth E. Boulding British-American economist 1910 - 1993
Kenneth Boulding (1948) "Samuelson's Foundations: The Role of Mathematics in Economics," In: Journal of Political Economy, Vol 56 (June). as cited in: Peter J. Boettke (1998) " James M. Buchanan and the Rebirth of Political Economy http://publicchoice.info/Buchanan/files/boettke.htm". Boettke further explains "Boulding's words are even more telling today than they were then as we have seen the fruits of the formalist revolution in economic theory and how it has cut economics off from the social theoretic discourse on the human condition."

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„It may come as a surprise to our technocrat philosophers, but people do not read, write, speak, or listen primarily for the purpose of achieving a test score. They use language in order to conduct their lives, and to control their lives, and to understand their lives.“

—  Neil Postman American writer and academic 1931 - 2003
Context: It may come as a surprise to our technocrat philosophers, but people do not read, write, speak, or listen primarily for the purpose of achieving a test score. They use language in order to conduct their lives, and to control their lives, and to understand their lives. An improvement in one's language abilities is therefore... observed in changes in one's purposes, perceptions, and evaluations. Language education... may achieve what George Bernard Shaw asserted is the function of art. "Art," he said in Quintessence of Ibsenismn, "should refine our sense of character and conduct, of justice and sympathy, greatly heightening our self knowledge, self-control, precision of action and considerateness, and making us intolerant of baseness, cruelty, injustice, and intellectual superficialty and vulgarity." …For my purposes, if you replace the word "art" with the phrase "language education," you will have a precise statement of what I have been trying to say.

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„The need for a body of common knowledge and common reference does not disappear when a society is pluralistic. On the contrary, it grows more necessary, so that people of different origins and occupation may quickly find familiar ground and as we say, speak a common language.“

—  Jacques Barzun Historian 1907 - 2012
Context: The need for a body of common knowledge and common reference does not disappear when a society is pluralistic. On the contrary, it grows more necessary, so that people of different origins and occupation may quickly find familiar ground and as we say, speak a common language. It not only saves time and embarrassment, but it also ensures a kind of mutual confidence and goodwill. One is not addressing an alien, as blank as a stone wall, but a responsive creature whose mind is filled with the same images, memories, and vocabulary as oneself. Otherwise, with the unstoppable march of specialization, the individual mind is doomed to solitude and the individual heart to drying up. "Of What Use the Classics Today?," Begin Here: The Forgotten Conditions of Teaching and Learning (1991)

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