Quote of the Day

If you enjoy programming, philosophy, math, or any number of geeky topics, you're in the right place. Every day, I'll post a random quote from my extensive collection of Kindle highlights. Quotes do not necessarily reflect my views or opinions. In fact, part of my epistemic process is to consume a wide variety of contradictory material.


mankind have a little corrupted nature, for they were not born wolves, and they have become wolves; God has given them neither cannon of four-and-twenty pounders, nor bayonets; and yet they have made cannon and bayonets to destroy one another. Into this account I might throw not only bankrupts, but Justice which seizes on the effects of bankrupts to cheat the creditors.

— Voltaire, Candide

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…there is something that we have that they do not—that all-wise machine sitting there like a god in judgment of our work. When a patient recovers, it is the work of the doctor; when a patient dies, it is an act of God. But when a computer program doesn’t work, everyone knows—and everyone knows who is to blame.

— Gerald Weinberg, The Psychology of Computer Programming

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The reason why it may be wise to distrust the political judgment of scientists qua scientists is not primarily their lack of ‘character’ – that they did not refuse to develop atomic weapons – or their naïvete – that they did not understand that once these weapons were developed they would be the last to be consulted about their use – but precisely the fact that they move in a world where speech has lost its power

— Hannah Arendt , The Human Condition

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[Deductive thinking] is a form of torture for the imaginatively gifted, the very totalitarianism of thought, one line being made to march strictly in step behind the other, all leading inexorably to a single undeviating conclusion. A proof out of Euclid recalls to my mind nothing so much as the troops goose-stepping before the Supreme Dictator. I have always delighted in my mind’s refusal to follow a single line of any mathematical explanation offered to me. Why should these exacting sciences exact anything from me? Or as Dostoevsky’s Underground Man shrewdly argues, “Good God, what do I care about the laws of nature and arithmetic if, for one reason or another, I don’t like these laws, including the ‘two times two is four’?” Dostoevsky spurned the hegemaniacal logic and I can do no less.

— Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God

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