Inquiry

Scientific principles and laws do not lie on the surface of nature. They are hidden, and must be wrested from nature by an active, and elaborate technique of inquiry... Pure reasoning as a means of arriving at truth is like the spider who spins a web out of himself. The web is orderly and elaborate, but is s only a trap.

We should not be too hasty in bestowing either our praise or censure on mankind, since we shall often find such a mixture of good and evil in the same character, that it may require a very accurate judgment and a very elaborate inquiry to determine on which side the balance turns.

Nominally a great age of scientific inquiry, ours has actually become an age of superstition about the infallibility of science; of almost mystical faith in its nonmystical methods; above all... of external verities; of traffic-cop morality and rabbit-test truth.

Anyone who wants to be cured of ignorance must confess it... Wonder is the foundation of all philosophy, inquiry its progress, ignorance its end.

Inquiry is a duty, and error in research is not a sin.

It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry.

Reason itself... demands that we recognize the limited place of the virtues of cognition, inquiry, and the cerebral side of life. An adequate account of rationality must rightly stress its importance and primacy while recognizing that the intellectual virtues are only limited components of the good life.

As one may bring himself to believe almost anything he is inclined to believe, it makes all the difference whether we begin or end with the inquiry, "What is truth?"

All calm inquiry conducted among those who have their main principles of judgment in common, leads, if not to an approximation of views, yet, at least, to an increase of sympathy.

Doubt is an incentive to search for truth, and patient inquiry leads the way to it.

Free inquiry, if restrained within due bounds, and applied to proper subjects, is a most important privilege of the human mind; and if well conducted, is one of the greatest friends to truth. But when reason knows neither its office nor its limits, and when employed on subjects foreign to its jurisdiction, it then becomes a privilege dangerous to be exercised.

It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curious of inquiry. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.

To regard teachers - in our entire educational system from the primary grades to the university - as priests of our democracy is therefore not to indulge in hyperbole. It is the special task of teachers to foster those habits of open-mindedness and critical inquiry which alone make for responsible citizens, who in turn, make possible an enlightened and effective public opinion.

No man’s conscience can tell him the rights of another man; they; must be known by rational investigation or historical inquiry.

Wonder is the foundation of all philosophy, inquiry the progress, ignorance the end... It's a sign of contraction of the mind when it is content or of weariness.

Inquiry is human; blind obedience brutal. Truth never loses by the one but often suffers by the other... O God, help us not to despise or oppose what we do not understand.

Disagreement is refreshing when two men lovingly desire to compare their view to find out truth. Controversy is wretched when it is only an attempt to prove another wrong. Religious controversy does only harm. It destroys humble inquiry after truth, and throws all the energies into an attempt to prove ourselves right - a spirit in which no man gets at truth.

Truth should be the first lesson of the child and the last aspiration of manhood; for it has been well said that the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making of it, the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature.

In fact we say that an intention is good, that is, right in itself, but that an action does not bear any good in itself but proceeds from a good intention. Whence when the same thing is done by the same man at different times, by the diversity of his intention, however, his action is now said to be good, now bad.

To approach the living question with the mind alone is impossible. The intellect must be coupled with feeling in order to stir a person to authentic inquiry. Real philosophy recognizes that ideas have sensations and emotions connected with them, and that one responds to them with the whole of oneself.