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Quotes about logic, rationality, and logical fallacies.


Logic and rationality

  • Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.
  • Logic hasn't wholly dispelled the society of witches and prophets and sorcerers and soothsayers.
  • Logic is a large drawer, containing some useful instruments, and many more that are superfluous. A wise man will look into it for two purposes, to avail himself of those instruments that are really useful, and to admire the ingenuity with which those that are not so, are assorted and arranged.
  • Logic is one thing and commonsense another.
  • The want of logic annoys. Too much logic bores. Life eludes logic, and everything that logic alone constructs remains artificial and forced.
  • Logic, like whiskey, loses its beneficial effect when taken in too large quantities.
    • Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, Lord Dunsany, "Weeds & Moss", My Ireland
  • Metaphysics may be, after all, only the art of being sure of something that is not so, and logic only the art of going wrong with confidence.
  • These, briefly, are the key elements of the stereotype: logic cripples and constrains; it forces one into narrow and mechanical modes of thought that cut one off from a vast range of superior thoughts, feelings and perceptions; logic is an enemy of wit and humor (Mr. Spock's face was always an impassive mask); logic makes us dull and pedantic (Mr. Spock always spoke in a monotone); logic presupposes a simple-minded, black-and-white, yes-no conception of the world. ... Logic misses the point of half the things we ordinarily say and cannot match the insight of the humblest person's common sense.
  • One cannot use one's logic to explain actions driven by others' logic.
    • Sir. Acel Quailin KBE
  • Logic and mathematics seem to be the only domains where self-evidence manages to rise above triviality; and this it does, in those domains, by a linking of self-evidence on to self-evidence in the chain reaction known as proof.
  • "Contrariwise," continued Tweedledee, "if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic."
  • ...logicians tell us that a system of ideas containing a contradiction can be used to deduce any statement whatsoever, no matter how absurd.

Logical fallacies

Appeal to authority

  • This fallacy [appeal to authority] is not in itself an error; it is impossible to learn much in today’s world without letting somebody else crunch the numbers and offer us explanations. And teachers are sources of necessary information. But how we choose our "authorities" and place a value on such information, is just another skill rarely taught in our education systems. It’s little wonder that to most folk, sound bites and talking heads are enough to count as experts. […] Teaching is reinforcing the appeal to authority, where anybody who seems more intelligent than you must ultimately be right. […] We educators must simply role-model critical thinking. […] Educators themselves have to be prepared to show that “evidence” and “answers” are two separate things by firmly believing that, themselves.
    • Mike McRae, Australian teacher and guest columnist, "Educating Future Critical Thinkers", Swift: Online Newsletter of the JREF, 31 March 2006


  • Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level then beat you with experience. ~ Jawaad Abdullah
  • A good notation has a subtlety and suggestiveness which at times make it seem almost like a live teacher... ~ Bertrand Russell
  • A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It cuts the hand that wields it. ~ Rabindranath Tagore
  • ... all traits of reality worthy of the name can be set down in an idiom of this form if in any idiom. ~ Willard van Orman Quine
  • If the world were a logical place, men would ride side saddle. ~ Rita Mae Brown
  • Instinct leads, logic does but follow. — William James
  • Logic: The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding. ~ Ambrose Bierce
  • No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. ~ Niels Bohr
  • Roughly speaking: to say of two things that they are identical is nonsense, and to say of one thing that it is identical with itself is to say nothing. ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein
  • All men are mortal. Socrates was mortal. Therefore, all men are Socrates. ~ Woody Allen
  • If you argue with a fool you must argue like a fool or he will think himself wise. If you argue like a fool you become a fool and the fool becomes wiser then you. So never argue with a fool. - unknown

External links

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