The key to wisdom is this -- constant and frequent questioning ... for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth.
more Peter Abelard quotes
Twenty times in the course of my late reading have I been on the point of breaking out, "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!" But in this exclamation I would have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean hell.
more John Adams quotes
Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.
more Aesop quotes
There are in fact four very significant stumblingblocks in the way of grasping the truth, which hinder every man however learned, and scarcely allow anyone to win a clear title to wisdom, namely, the example of weak and unworthy authority, longstanding custom, the feeling of the ignorant crowd, and the hiding of our own ignorance while making a display of our apparent knowledge.
more Roger Bacon quotes
Persecution in intellectual countries produces a superficial conformity, but also underneath an intense, incessant, implacable doubt.
more Walter Bagehot quotes
Weary the path that does not challenge. Doubt is an incentive to truth and patient inquiry leadeth the way.
more Hosea Ballou quotes
So, you listen to me. Listen to me! Television is not the truth. Television's a god-damned amusement park. Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, sideshow freaks, lion tamers, and football players. We're in the boredom-killing business... We deal in illusions, man. None of it is true! But you people sit there day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds. We're all you know. You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here. You're beginning to think that the tube is reality and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you. You dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube. You even think like the tube. This is mass madness. You maniacs. In God's name, you people are the real thing. We are the illusion.
more Howard Beale quotes
Conformities are called for much more eagerly today than yesterday... skeptics, liberals, individuals with a taste for private life and their own inner standards of behavior, are objects of fear and derision and targets of persecution for either side... in the great ideological wars of our time.
more Isaiah Berlin quotes
A good writer of history is a guy who is suspicious. Suspicion marks the real difference between the man who wants to write honest history and the one who’d rather write a good story.
more Jim Bishop quotes
The concept of military necessity is seductively broad, and has a dangerous plasticity. Because they invariably have the visage of overriding importance, there is always a temptation to invoke security "necessities" to justify an encroachment upon civil liberties. For that reason, the military-security argument must be approached with a healthy skepticism.
more Justice William J. Brennan quotes
He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.
more Edmund Burke quotes
When men have come to the edge of a precipice, it is the lover of life who has the spirit to leap backwards, and only the pessimist who continues to believe in progress.
more Gilbert Keith Chesterton quotes
The life of a thinking man will probably be divided into two parts -- the first in which he desires to exterminate modern thinkers, and the second in which he desires to watch them exterminating each other. ... Suppose, for instance, there is an old story and a new skeptic who is skeptical of the story. We have only to wait a little while for a yet newer skeptic who is skeptical of the skeptic. He will probably find the old notion actually a help in his new notion. This process is an abstract truth applying to anything, apart from agreement or disagreement.
more Gilbert Keith Chesterton quotes
By doubting we all come at truth.
more Marcus Tullius Cicero quotes
The business of the philosopher is well done if he succeeds in raising genuine doubt.
more Morris R. Cohen quotes
Every reform, however necessary, will by weak minds be carried to an excess, that itself will need reforming.
more Samuel Taylor Coleridge quotes
Every politician, every member of the clerical profession, ought to incur the reasonable suspicion of being an interested supporter of false doctrines, who becomes angry at opposition, and endeavors to cast an odium on free inquiry. Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it.
more Thomas Cooper quotes
The objector and the rebel who raises his voice against what he believes to be the injustice of the present and the wrongs of the past is the one who hunches the world along.
more Clarence S. Darrow quotes
I see men ordinarily more eager to discover a reason for things than to find out whether things are so.
more Michel De Montaigne quotes
There are all kinds of devices invented for the protection and preservation of countries: defensive barriers, forts, trenches, and the like... But prudent minds have as a natural gift one safeguard which is the common possession of all, and this applies especially to the dealings of democracies. What is this safeguard? Skepticism. This you must preserve. This you must retain. If you can keep this, you need fear no harm.
more Demosthenes quotes
If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.
more Rene Descartes quotes
The great and invigorating influences in American life have been the unorthodox: the people who challenge an existing institution or way of life, or say and do things that make people think.
more William O. Douglas quotes
I know no class of my fellowmen, however just, enlightened, and humane, which can be wisely and safely trusted absolutely with the liberties of any other class.
more Frederick Douglass quotes
We find few historians who have been diligent enough in their search for truth; it is their common method to take on trust what they help distribute to the public; by which means a falsehood once received from a famed writer becomes traditional to posterity.
more John Dryden quotes
The important thing is never to stop questioning.
more Albert Einstein quotes
Who shall forbid a wise skepticism, seeing that there is no practical question on which anything more than an approximate solution can be had?
more Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes
The civilized man has a moral obligation to be skeptical, to demand the credentials of all statements that claim to be facts.
more Bergan Evans quotes
Freedom of speech and freedom of action [is meaningless] without freedom to think. And there is no freedom of thought without doubt.
more Bergan Evans quotes
We must not overlook the role that extremists play. They are the gadflies that keep society from being too complacent.
more Abraham Flexner quotes
Increasingly constructive doubt is the sign of advancing civilization.
more Jerome D. Frank quotes
As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the World ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupting Changes; and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some doubts as to his divinity.
more Benjamin Franklin quotes
A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point of doubtful sanity.
more Robert Frost quotes
I know of no inquiry which the impulses of man suggests that is forbidden to the resolution of man to pursue.
more Margaret Fuller quotes
Curiosity is the kernal of forbidden fruit.
more Dr. Thomas Fuller quotes
It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.
more Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi quotes
I love agitation and investigation and glory in defending unpopular truth against popular error.
more James A. Garfield quotes
Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.
more Khalil Gibran quotes
Humanity's most valuable assets have been the non-conformists. Were it not for the non-conformists, he who refuses to be satisfied to go along with the continuance of things as they are, and insists upon attempting to find new ways of bettering things, the world would have known little progress, indeed.
more Josiah William Gitt quotes
The freedom of speech and the freedom of the press have not been granted to the people in order that they may say things which please, and which are based upon accepted thought, but the right to say things which displease, the right to say the things which convey the new and yet unexpected thoughts, the right to say things, even though they do a wrong.
more Samuel Gompers quotes
The tolerance of the skeptic… accepts the most diverse and indeed the most contradictory opinions, and keeps all his suspicions for the “dogmatist.”
more Jean Guitton quotes
Advances are made by answering questions. Discoveries are made by questioning answers.
more Bernhard Haisch quotes
All discussion, all debate, all dissidence tends to question and in consequence, to upset existing convictions; that is precisely its purpose and its justification.
more Judge Learned Hand quotes
A society committed to the search for truth must give protection to, and set a high value upon, the independent and original mind, however angular, however rasping, however, socially unpleasant it may be; for it is upon such minds in large measure, that the effective search for truth depends.
more Caryl Parker Haskins quotes
Love your country, but never trust its government.
more Robert A. Heinlein quotes
Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined.... O sir, we  should have fine times, indeed, if to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people!
more Patrick Henry quotes
A university’s essential character is that of being a center of free inquiry and criticism – a thing not to be sacrificed for anything else.
more Richard Hofstadter quotes
To prevent inquiry is among the worst of evils.
more Thomas Holcroft quotes
To silence criticism is to silence freedom.
more Sidney Hook quotes
A civilization in which there is not a continuous controversy about important issues…is on the way to totalitarianism and death.
more Robert M. Hutchins quotes
What are the moral convictions most fondly held by barbarous and semi-barbarous people? They are the convictions that authority is the soundest basis of belief; that merit attaches to readiness to believe; that the doubting disposition is a bad one, and skepticism is a sin.
more Thomas Henry Huxley quotes
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