Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.


"When a person is born, he finds the world in a certain organized fashion. As he grows up, he tries to adjust himself to the assumptions that are accepted in the world. He views each event that occurs with the same perspective as the other people of his generation. These perspectives originated in the past and have been handed down from parents to children. These assumptions are taken for granted to such an extent that most people react to the accepted perspective of the world as if they were laws of the universe that cannot be changed. They are accepted as reality and are not challenged. Only a small minority of people obtain the necessary wisdom to look at the world with complete objectivity. They take a critical look at teach and every thing and try to understand everything as it really is instead of accepting the general prevalent outlook. Those who try to investigate the origin of every perspective will perceive everything in a much different light than is commonly accepted." - Yeruchem Levovitz, aka The Mashgiach

"Without some element of objectivity, without any criterion for preferring one scheme of values to another, except the criterion of what looks most attractive to oneself, there cannot in fact be any morality at all." - Mary Warnock, fully Helen Mary Warnock, Baroness Warnock

"Objectivity requires taking subjectivity into account." - Lorraine Code

"In all human activities, it is not ideas or machines that dominate; it is people. I have heard people speak of “the effect of personality on science.” But this is a backward thought. Rather, we should talk about he effect of science on personalities. Science is not the dispassionate analysis of impartial data. It is the human, and thus passionate, exercise of skill and sense on such date. Science is not an exercise in objectivity, but, more accurately, an exercise in which objectivity is prized." - Philip J. Hilts, fully Philip James Hilts

"If subjectivity is the truth, the conceptual account of truth must include an expression of the antithesis to objectivity, a mark of the fork in the road where the way swings off; that expression will serve at the same time to indicate the tension of the subjective inwardness. Here is such a definition of truth: the truth is an objective uncertainty held fast in an appropriation process of the most passionate inwardness, the highest truth attainable for an existing individual." - Søren Kierkegaard, fully Søren Aabye Kierkegaard

"Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false, and the false with the true." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Crisis demands dictatorship, centralization, concentration, obedience, and bias. Intercrisis permits concessions toward democracy, decentralization, dispersion, originality, and objectivity." - Harold Dwight Lasswell

"The relation of love between husband and wife is in itself not objective, because even if their feeling is their substantial unity, still this unity has no objectivity. Such objectivity parents first acquire in their children, in whom they can see objectified the entirety of their union." - Georg Hegel, fully Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

"The pretense of objectivity conceals the fact that all history, while recalling the past, serves some present interest." - Howard Zinn

"Friends are helpful not only because they will listen to us, but because they will laugh at us; Through them we learn a little objectivity, a little modesty, a little courtesy; We learn the rules of life and become better players of the game." - Will Durant, fully William James "Will" Durant

"I believe that the fundamental alternative for man is the choice between "life" and "death"; between creativity and destructive violence; between reality and illusions; between objectivity and intolerance; between brotherhood-independence and dominance-submission." - Erich Fromm, fully Erich Seligmann Fromm

"I believe that one can and must hope for a sane society that furthers man’s capacity to love his fellow men, to work and create, to develop his reason and his objectivity of a sense of himself that is based on the experience of his productive energy. I believe that one can and must hope for the collective regaining of a mental health that is characterized by the capacity to love and to create.." - Erich Fromm, fully Erich Seligmann Fromm

"The revolutionary and critical thinker is in a certain way always outside of his society while of course he is at the same time also in it. That he is in it is obvious, but why is he outside it? First, because he is not brainwashed by the ruling ideology, that is to say, he has an extraordinary kind of independence of thought and feeling; hence he can have a greater objectivity than the average person has. There are many emotional factors too. And certainly I do not mean to enter here into the complex problem of the revolutionary thinker. But it seems to me essential that in a certain sense he transcends his society. You may say he transcends it because of the new historical developments and possibilities he is aware of, while the majority still think in traditional terms." - Erich Fromm, fully Erich Seligmann Fromm

"The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western World. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity — much less dissent." -

"Even scientific knowledge, if there is anything to it, is not a random observation of random objects; for the critical objectivity of significant knowledge is attained as a practice only philosophically in inner action." - Karl Jaspers, fully Karl Theodor Jaspers

"The old scientific ideal of episteme — of absolutely certain, demonstrable knowledge — has proved to be an idol. The demand for scientific objectivity makes it inevitable that every scientific statement must remain tentative for ever. " - Karl Popper, fully Sir Karl Raimund Popper

"Time is no specific character of being... I do not believe in the objectivity of time. The concept of Now never occurs in science itself." - Kurt Gödel, also Goedel

"No one seriously doubts Socrates' maxim: The unexamined life isn't worth living. Self-assessment and attempts at self-improvement are essential aspects of "the good life." Yes, we should engage in ruthless self-reflection and harsh scrutiny, but we should simultaneously acknowledge that such introspection will, at best, only result in a partial view of our minds at work. Complete objectivity is not an option." - Robert Burton

"Obsolescence is a fate devoutly to be wished, lest science stagnate and die." - Stephan Jay Gould

"Pragmatism is offered as a revolutionary new way of thinking about ourselves and our thoughts, but it is apparently disabled by its own character from offering arguments that might show its suyperiority to the common sense it seeks to displace." - Thomas Nagel

"The seductive appeal of objective reality depends on a mistake. It is not the given. Sometimes ... the truth is not found by traveling as far away from one's personal perspective as possible." - Thomas Nagel

"In summary, the existence of an unperceived material thing can only be its capability of being perceived. This capability is not an empty possibility in the sense that everything that is not contradictory is possible; rather, it is a possibility which belongs to the very essence of consciousness." - Emmanuel Lévinas , originally Emanuelis Lévinas

"The first TV babies are now writing with a TV mind that has no attention span at all." - Gore Vidal, fully Eugene Luther Gore Vidal