Connexions Quotations

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Critical Thinking Quotes

Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence; he is just using his memory.
- Leonardo da Vinci

Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.
- George Bernard Shaw

The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.
- John Kenneth Galbraith

Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.
- George Orwell

Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper.
- George Orwell

Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken.
- Bertrand Russell

Every government is run by liars and nothing they say should be believed.
- I.F. Stone

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.
- Bertrand Russell

A fundamental fallacy is the belief that because something is bad, or appears to some to be bad, it ought to be banned.
- Ulli Diemer

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.
- William James

The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.
- Leonardo da Vinci

I am not a ‘Marxist’.
- Karl Marx

I think we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt. I shouldn’t wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine.
- Bertrand Russell

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to treat everything as if it were a nail.
- Abraham Maslow

If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.
- Thomas Pynchon
  Proverbs for Paranoids

If those in charge of our society – politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television - can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves.
- Howard Zinn

If you do not expect it, you will not find out the unexpected, for it is trackless and unexplored.
- Heraclitus

If you want truly to understand something, try to change it.
- Kurt Lewin

Many good ideas have been shipwrecked because people insisted that they were universally applicable, failing to distinguish between situations to which they applied and ones to which they didn’t.
- Ulli Diemer

Marx was relentlessly critical, always seeking new knowledge and deeper understanding, never feeling that his own understanding of any subject was adequate – hence his well-known difficulties in finishing any work because he was never finished investigating the subject matter in its infinite ramifications. It was Marx who scoffed “I am not a Marxist” and who said that “Since it is not for us to create a plan for the future that will hold for all time, all the more surely what we contemporaries have to do is the uncompromising critical evaluation of all that exists, uncompromising in the sense that our criticism fears neither its own results nor the conflict with the powers that be.”
- Ulli Diemer

The more important the subject and the closer it cuts to the bone of our hopes and needs, the more we are likely to err in establishing a framework for analysis.
The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best - and therefore never scrutinize or question.
- Stephen Jay Gould

Nothing is more dangerous than active ignorance.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself.
- Ludwig Wittgenstein

Orthodoxy is the death of intelligence.
- Bertrand Russell

The physical threat posed by climate change represents a crisis that is not only material but also profoundly spiritual at its core because it challenges us to think seriously about the future of the human race and what it means to be a human being.
- Grace Lee Boggs

The test of intelligence [is] not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do. Similarly, any situation, any activity, that puts before us real problems, that we have to solve for ourselves, problems for which there are no answers in any book, sharpens our intelligence.
- John Holt

There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them.
- George Orwell

We do not need to be shoemakers to know if our shoes fit, and just as little have we any need to be professionals to acquire knowledge of matters of universal interest.
- G.W.F. Hegel

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To learn more about Critical Thinking, explore the Connexions Subject Index Critical Thinking page and the Skepticism page.