„So blind is the curiosity by which mortals are possessed, that they often conduct their minds along unexplored routes, having no reason to hope for success, but merely being willing to risk the experiment of finding whether the truth they seek lies there.“

Rules for the Direction of the Mind: IV

Adopted from Wikiquote. Last update June 3, 2021. History
René Descartes photo
René Descartes45
French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist 1596 - 1650

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René Descartes photo

„Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason, and Seeking Truth in the Sciences“

—  René Descartes French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist 1596 - 1650

Le Discours de la Méthode (1637)

Max Planck photo
Hans Reichenbach photo
Ronald Fisher photo

„To consult the statistician after an experiment is finished is often merely to ask him to conduct a post mortem examination. He can perhaps say what the experiment died of.“

—  Ronald Fisher English statistician, evolutionary biologist, geneticist, and eugenicist 1890 - 1962

"Presidential Address to the First Indian Statistical Congress" https://www.gwern.net/docs/statistics/decision/1938-fisher.pdf, 1938. Sankhya 4, 14-17.
1930s

Jiddu Krishnamurti photo

„When the mind seeks truth, the truth it has read about in books, that "truth" is self-projected, for then the mind is merely in pursuit of the known, a more satisfactory known than the previous one. When the mind seeks truth, it is seeking its own self-projection, not truth.“

—  Jiddu Krishnamurti Indian spiritual philosopher 1895 - 1986

Vol. VI, p 5, "First Talk in Rajahmundry (20 November 1949) http://www.jkrishnamurti.com/krishnamurti-teachings/view-text.php?tid=335&chid=4655&w=%22You+cannot+find+truth+through+anybody+else%22, J.Krishnamurti Online, JKO Serial No. 491120
Posthumous publications, The Collected Works
Context: You cannot find truth through anybody else. How can you? Surely, truth is not something static; it has no fixed abode; it is not an end, a goal. On the contrary, it is living, dynamic, alert, alive. How can it be an end? If truth is a fixed point, it is no longer truth; it is then a mere opinion. Sir, truth is the unknown, and a mind that is seeking truth will never find it. For mind is made up of the known; it is the result of the past, the outcome of time — which you can observe for yourself. Mind is the instrument of the known; hence it cannot find the unknown; it can only move from the known to the known. When the mind seeks truth, the truth it has read about in books, that "truth" is self-projected, for then the mind is merely in pursuit of the known, a more satisfactory known than the previous one. When the mind seeks truth, it is seeking its own self-projection, not truth. After all, an ideal is self-projected; it is fictitious, unreal. What is real is what is, not the opposite. But a mind that is seeking reality, seeking God, is seeking the known. When you think of God, your God is the projection of your own thought, the result of social influences. You can think only of the known; you cannot think of the unknown, you cannot concentrate on truth. The moment you think of the unknown, it is merely the self-projected known. So, God or truth cannot be thought about. If you think about it, it is not truth. Truth cannot be sought; it comes to you. You can go after only what is known. When the mind is not tortured by the known, by the effects of the known, then only can truth reveal itself. Truth is in every leaf, every tear; it is to be known from moment to moment. No one can lead you to truth; and if anyone leads you, it can only be to the known.

Benjamin N. Cardozo photo

„We seek to find peace of mind in the word, the formula, the ritual. The hope is an illusion.“

—  Benjamin N. Cardozo United States federal judge 1870 - 1938

Pages 66 http://books.google.com/books?id=LGLuAAAAMAAJ&q=%22We+seek+to+find+peace+of+mind+in+the+word+the%22&pg=PA66#v=onepage – 67 http://books.google.com/books?id=LGLuAAAAMAAJ&q=%22formula+the+ritual+The+hope+is+an+illusion%22&pg=PA67#v=onepage
Other writings, The Growth of the Law (1924)
Context: Magic words and incantations are as fatal to our science as they are to any other. Methods, when classified and separated, acquire their true bearing and perspective as a means to an end, not as ends in themselves. We seek to find peace of mind in the word, the formula, the ritual. The hope is an illusion.

Évariste Galois photo

„[This] science is the work of the human mind, which is destined rather to study than to know, to seek the truth rather than to find it.“

—  Évariste Galois French mathematician, founder of group theory 1811 - 1832

Of mathematics — as quoted in Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty (1980) by Morris Kline, p. 99.

W. H. Auden photo
Ralph Waldo Emerson photo
Thomas Aquinas photo
Colette photo

„Perhaps the only misplaced curiosity is that which persists in trying to find out here, on this side of death, what lies beyond the grave.“

—  Colette 1873-1954 French novelist: wrote Gigi 1873 - 1954

Le Pur et l'Impur (The Pure and the Impure) (1932)

Charles Darwin photo

„Physiological experiment on animals is justifiable for real investigation; but not for mere damnable and detestable curiosity.“

—  Charles Darwin British naturalist, author of "On the origin of species, by means of natural selection" 1809 - 1882

letter http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?itemID=F2113&viewtype=text&pageseq=7 to E. Ray Lankester, quoted in his essay "Charles Robert Darwin" in C.D. Warner, editor, Library of the World's Best Literature: Ancient and Modern (R.S. Peale & J.A. Hill, New York, 1896) volume 2, pages 4835-4393, at page 4391
Other letters, notebooks, journal articles, recollected statements

Torquato Tasso photo

„For in a world so mutable and blind
it's often constancy to change one's mind.“

—  Torquato Tasso Italian poet 1544 - 1595

Chè nel mondo mutabile e leggiero,
Costanza è spesso il variar pensiero.
Canto V, stanza 3 (tr. Wickert)
Gerusalemme Liberata (1581)

Jerzy Vetulani photo

„I will remember him as a man who is honestly seeking the truth. And a bit more: there was also the courage to find and take risks to defend this truth.“

—  Jerzy Vetulani Polish scientist 1936 - 2017

Grzegorz Strzelczyk, a Catholic priest who co-authored a book that was a conversation record between him and Vetulani, in an interview with Tygodnik Sanocki http://tygodniksanocki.pl/2017/10/08/czy-w-mozgu-mieszka-bog/ (in Polish).

Immanuel Kant photo

„Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is mere intellectual play.“

—  Immanuel Kant German philosopher 1724 - 1804

This is declared to be "an old Kantian maxim" in General Systems Vol. 7-8 (1962)‎, p. 11, by the Society for the Advancement of General Systems Theory, but may simply be a paraphrase or summation of Kantian ideas.
Kant's treatment of the transcendental logic in the First Critique contains a portion, of which this quote may be an ambiguously worded paraphrase. Kant, claiming that both reason and the senses are essential to the formation of our understanding of the world, writes: "Without sensibility no object would be given to us, and without understanding none would be thought. Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind (A51/B75)".
Disputed

Richard Francis Burton photo

„As palace mirror'd in the stream, as vapour mingled with the skies,
So weaves the brain of mortal man the tangled web of Truth and Lies.“

—  Richard Francis Burton British explorer, geographer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet,… 1821 - 1890

The Kasîdah of Hâjî Abdû El-Yezdî (1870)

Emily Brontë photo
Michael Ignatieff photo

„The [Afghans] understand the difficult truth that their best hope of freedom lies in a temporary experience of imperial rule.“

—  Michael Ignatieff professor at Harvard Kennedy School and former Canadian politician 1947

"Nation Building Lite", New York Times Magazine (July 2002)

Robert Harris photo

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