„We must act in the same way, then, in all other matters as well, that our main task may not be subordinated to minor questions. Nor must we demand the cause in all matters alike; it is enough in some cases that the fact be well established, as in the case of the first principles; the fact is the primary thing or first principle.“

Book I, 1098a-b; §7 as translated by W. D. Ross
Nicomachean Ethics
Context: Let this serve as an outline of the good; for we must presumably first sketch it roughly, and then later fill in the details. But it would seem that any one is capable of carrying on and articulating what has once been well outlined, and that time is a good discoverer or partner in such a work; to which facts the advances of the arts are due; for any one can add what is lacking. And we must also remember what has been said before, and not look for precision in all things alike, but in each class of things such precision as accords with the subject-matter, and so much as is appropriate to the inquiry. For a carpenter and a geometer investigate the right angle in different ways; the former does so in so far as the right angle is useful for his work, while the latter inquires what it is or what sort of thing it is; for he is a spectator of the truth. We must act in the same way, then, in all other matters as well, that our main task may not be subordinated to minor questions. Nor must we demand the cause in all matters alike; it is enough in some cases that the fact be well established, as in the case of the first principles; the fact is the primary thing or first principle. Now of first principles we see some by induction, some by perception, some by a certain habituation, and others too in other ways. But each set of principles we must try to investigate in the natural way, and we must take pains to state them definitely, since they have a great influence on what follows. For the beginning is thought to be more than half of the whole, and many of the questions we ask are cleared up by it.

Adopted from Wikiquote. Last update June 3, 2021. History
Aristotle photo
Aristotle216
Classical Greek philosopher, student of Plato and founder o… -384 - -321 BC

Related quotes

Lloyd Kenyon, 1st Baron Kenyon photo
David Hume photo
Theodore Roosevelt photo

„As in the other cases discussed, our primary concern here is not to establish the facts with regard to postwar Indochina, but rather to investigate their refraction through the prism of Western ideology, a very different task.“

—  Edward S. Herman American journalist 1925 - 2017

Source: After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, with Noam Chomsky, 1979, pp. 139-140.

James Madison photo
Stephen Colbert photo

„It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. But that's not the case anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything. It's certainty.“

—  Stephen Colbert American political satirist, writer, comedian, television host, and actor 1964

AV Club interview http://www.avclub.com/article/stephen-colbert-13970, (25 January 2006)
Context: Truthiness is tearing apart our country, and I don't mean the argument over who came up with the word. I don't know whether it's a new thing, but it's certainly a current thing, in that it doesn't seem to matter what facts are. It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. But that's not the case anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything. It's certainty. People love the president because he's certain of his choices as a leader, even if the facts that back him up don't seem to exist. It's the fact that he's certain that is very appealing to a certain section of the country. I really feel a dichotomy in the American populace. What is important? What you want to be true, or what is true?

Willem de Sitter photo
Thomas Jefferson photo

„All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.“

—  Thomas Jefferson 3rd President of the United States of America 1743 - 1826

1800s, First Inaugural Address (1801)
Context: All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things.

Clive Staples Lewis photo
Noam Chomsky photo

„Independent nationalism is unacceptable to the West, no matter where it is, and it has to be driven back into subordination. In the case of Grenada, you can do it in a weekend; in the case of the Soviet Union it may take 70 years. But these are matters of scale, the logic is essentially the same.“

—  Noam Chomsky american linguist, philosopher and activist 1928

Forum with John Pilger and Harold Pinter in Islington, London, May 1994 https://web.archive.org/web/20000823015510/http://www.redpepper.org.uk/cularch/xalmeida.html.
Quotes 1990s, 1990-1994

Gustav Stresemann photo
Bertrand Russell photo
Ellen G. White photo

„We must not think, "Well, we have all the truth, we understand the main pillars of our faith, and we may rest on this knowledge." The truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light.“

—  Ellen G. White American author and founder/leader of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church 1827 - 1915

The Review and Herald (27 March 1890); also in Counsels for Writers and Editors http://books.google.de/books?id=UEM4uBD04asC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Counsels+to+writers+and+editors&cd=1#v=onepage&q&f=false (1946), p. 33; also in Evangelism http://books.google.de/books?id=gsy20ga71LEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Ellen+Gould+Harmon+White+Evangelism&cd=1#v=onepage&q&f=false (1946), p. 296; also in 1888 - The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials (1987), Ch. 64, p. 547.

Walter Reuther photo

„We must negotiate from unity and strength and stay firm on matters of principle and flexible on matters of procedure.“

—  Walter Reuther Labor union leader 1907 - 1970

Address before the Berlin Freedom Rally, West Berlin, Germany, May 1, 1959, as quoted in Walter P Reuther: Selected Papers (1961), by Henry M. Christman, p. 280
1950s, Address before the Berlin Freedom Rally (1959)

Lee Smolin photo
Adolphe Quetelet photo
G. K. Chesterton photo

„The thing that cannot be defined is the first thing; the primary fact.“

—  G. K. Chesterton, Charles Dickens

Ch 1 : "The Dickens Period"
Charles Dickens (1906)
Context: Much of our modern difficulty, in religion and other things, arises merely from this: that we confuse the word "indefinable" with the word "vague." If some one speaks of a spiritual fact as "indefinable" we promptly picture something misty, a cloud with indeterminate edges. But this is an error even in commonplace logic. The thing that cannot be defined is the first thing; the primary fact. It is our arms and legs, our pots and pans, that are indefinable. The indefinable is the indisputable. The man next door is indefinable, because he is too actual to be defined. And there are some to whom spiritual things have the same fierce and practical proximity; some to whom God is too actual to be defined.

„The science of chemistry rests on two well-established principles: the conservation of matter and the conservation of energy.“

—  David W. Oxtoby President of Pomona college 1951

Principles of Modern Chemistry (7th ed., 2012), Ch. 1 : The Atom in Modern Chemistry

John Fletcher photo

Related topics