Quotes about doubt

A collection of quotes on the topic of question.

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Margaret Mead photo

„It is an open question whether any behavior based on fear of eternal punishment can be regarded as ethical or should be regarded as merely cowardly.“

—  Margaret Mead American anthropologist 1901 - 1978

Attributed in American Quotations (1992) by Gorton Carruth and Eugene H. Ehrlich, p. 149
1990s

Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov photo
Claude Lévi-Strauss photo
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Martin Heidegger photo

„Why are there beings at all, and why not rather nothing? That is the question.“

—  Martin Heidegger, book Introduction to Metaphysics

Warum ist überhaupt Seiendes und nicht vielmehr Nichts? Das ist die Frage.
What is Metaphysics? (1929), p. 110
Cf. Gottfried Leibniz, De rerum originatione radicali (1697)ː "cur aliquid potius extiterit quam nihil."
Source: Introduction to Metaphysics

Voltaire photo

„Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.“

—  Voltaire French writer, historian, and philosopher 1694 - 1778

Il est encore plus facile de juger de l'esprit d'un homme par ses questions que par ses réponses. (It is easier to judge the mind of a man by his questions rather than his answers) — Pierre-Marc-Gaston, duc de Lévis (1764-1830), Maximes et réflexions sur différents sujets de morale et de politique (Paris, 1808): Maxim xviii
Misattributed

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Maryam Mirzakhani photo

„It's not only the question, but the way you try to solve it.“

—  Maryam Mirzakhani Iranian mathematician 1977 - 2017

Interview with Research Fellow Maryam Mirzakhani | january 2008

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„The most basic question is not what is best, but who shall decide what is best.“

—  Thomas Sowell American economist, social theorist, political philosopher and author 1930

Stephen King photo

„And the most terrifying question of all may be just how much horror the human mind can stand and still maintain a wakeful, staring, unrelenting sanity.“

—  Stephen King, Pet Sematary

Source: Pet Sematary (1983)
Context: It's probably wrong to believe there can be any limit to the horror which the human mind can experience. On the contrary, it seems that some exponential effect begins to obtain as deeper and deeper darkness falls - as little as one may like to support the idea that when the nightmare grows black enough, horror spawns horror, one coincidental evil begets other, often more deliberate evils, until finally blackness seems to cover everything. And the most terrifying question of all may be just how much horror the human mind can stand and still maintain a wakeful, staring, unrelenting sanity. That such events have their own Rube Goldberg absurdity goes almost without saying. At some point, it all starts to become rather funny. That may be the point at which sanity begins either to save itself or to buckle and break down; that point at which one's sense of humor begins to reassert itself.

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Mikhail Bakunin photo

„I allow neither the bootmaker nor the architect nor the savant to impose his authority upon me. I listen to them freely and with all the respect merited by their intelligence, their character, their knowledge, reserving always my incontestable right of criticism and censure. I do not content myself with consulting authority in any special branch; I consult several; I compare their opinions, and choose that which seems to me the soundest. But I recognize no infallible authority, even in special questions; consequently, whatever respect I may have for the honesty and the sincerity of such or such an individual, I have no absolute faith in any person. Such a faith would be fatal to my reason, to my liberty, and even to the success of my undertakings; it would immediately transform me into a stupid slave, an instrument of the will and interests of others.“

—  Mikhail Bakunin, book God and the State

God and the State (1871; publ. 1882)
Context: Does it follow that I reject all authority? Far from me such a thought. In the matter of boots, I refer to the authority of the bootmaker; concerning houses, canals, or railroads, I consult that of the architect or engineer. For such or such special knowledge I apply to such or such a savant. But I allow neither the bootmaker nor the architect nor the savant to impose his authority upon me. I listen to them freely and with all the respect merited by their intelligence, their character, their knowledge, reserving always my incontestable right of criticism and censure. I do not content myself with consulting authority in any special branch; I consult several; I compare their opinions, and choose that which seems to me the soundest. But I recognize no infallible authority, even in special questions; consequently, whatever respect I may have for the honesty and the sincerity of such or such an individual, I have no absolute faith in any person. Such a faith would be fatal to my reason, to my liberty, and even to the success of my undertakings; it would immediately transform me into a stupid slave, an instrument of the will and interests of others.

Bjarne Stroustrup photo

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“