Another quote for our masthead?

Astude readers of Club Troppo will have noticed quotes running at the top of the page. Quotes that Ken, I and others occasionally have half hearted debates about whether they’re appropriate for Troppo. Well I found another one the other day and it’s below. Readers might like to tell us whether they agree, and/or propose some of their own faves for us.

This is from the extra-ordinary Englishman Frank Ramsey (after whom the main street in Neighbours is named).

Evidently, however, none of these arguments are really decisive, and the position is extremely unsatisfactory to any one with real curiosity about such a fundamental question. In such cases it is a heuristic maxim that the truth lies not in one of the two disputed views but in some third possibility which has not yet been thought of, which we can only discover by rejecting something assumed as obvious by both the disputants.

Of course on Troppo those quotes are up there for what is called in the advertising industry ‘cutthrough’ so we’ll chop it down to size and quote him out of context – we’ll start with ‘the truth lies’.

Still we could do worse. The article the quote is from comes from an essay on ‘Universals’ in which Ramsey goes on to say this:

Both the disputed theories make an important assumption which, to my mind, has only to be questioned to be doubted. They assume a fundamental antithesis between subject and predicate, that if a proposition consists of two terms copulated, these two terms must be functioning in different ways, one as a subject, the other as predicate.

Now I know Ramsey had to put up with walking in on all sorts of shocking things in the Rooms of Kings College, but subject and predicate ‘copulating’? Well that’s the sort of choice of language to take off to Dr Troppo.

But I digress. Comments are now open for responses to these late night thoughts.

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Cameron Riley
15 years ago

On the subject of quotes appropriate for blogs; didnt Locke write something to the effect that a fool will reason incorrectly on correct premises while a madman reasons correctly on absurd premises.

That is a lot of language to describe what we commonly call the comments section.

Patrick
Patrick
15 years ago

Might I offer this one:

Sir James Johnstone happened to say, that he paid not regard to the arguments of counsel at the bar of the House of Commons, because they were paid for speaking.
JOHNSON. Nay, Sir, argument is argument. You cannot help paying regard to their arguments, if they are good. If it were testimony, you might disregard it, if you know that it were purchased. There is a beautiful image in Bacon upon this subject: testimony is like an arrow shot from a long bow, the force of it depends on the strength of the hand that draws it. Argument is like an arrow from a cross-bow, which has equal force though shot by a child.

– Boswell, Life of Johnson (Oxford: Oxford Standard Authors, ed RW Chapman, 1976), 1283:

Although the one N Gruen suggests is not bad, it is limpid.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
15 years ago

There’s that one attributed to Keynes:
‘When the facts change I change my mind. What do you do, sir?’

Tony Harris
Tony Harris(@tony-harris)
15 years ago

Yes, it is just a pity that Keynes wrote the General Theory before he rediscovered the facts.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
15 years ago

A few of my favorite ones from Mad Freddy Nietzsche:

Convictions are more dangerous foes of truth than lies.

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

A pair of powerful spectacles has sometimes sufficed to cure a person in love.

All truth is simple… is that not doubly a lie?

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
15 years ago

I found myself distracted by the article by Ramsey. I kept asking myself “So what’s the point?”. I’m sure there must have been one, but I have to confess it escaped me.

I’ve always liked the Oscar Wilde quote: “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”

david tiley
15 years ago

That Ramsey article is a complete mystery, but the middle line that you want to use is beaut.

I love Jason’s line from Keynes. Such a neat statement of a huge problem in the blogosphere.

(thinks: hope I can change my mind..)

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
15 years ago

David
To actually practice what Keynes preached, that is near impossible for a human, but we try, we try.

The Receptionist
The Receptionist
15 years ago

Has anyone seen Dr Troppo? He hasn’t been into the office in months.

If I find out he’s been out drinking beer with any of you intellectual delinquents there’s going to be trouble.

Gianna
15 years ago

(ah, great, i can view your site again now that you have this design. wonderful!)

hey, i disagree with the quote about all religions regarding life as a prison (it’s on the main page i think). what about zen (as far as it can be called a religion)? consider the koan: “how to get the goose out of the bottle? there! it’s out.” which to me would mean, life is only a prison if you view it as such.

Patrick
Patrick
15 years ago

I would disagree on more general grounds. I don’t think there is any justification for that in Catholic teachings. It is just puerile.

Dr Troppo
Dr Troppo
15 years ago

What’s wrong with drinking beer?

Anyway, I can’t seem to figure out how to make this new blogging interface work. What the hell are ‘sending referrers’ and how does one enable them?

I’m going to try beer and see if that helps.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
15 years ago

Dr Troppo, there is a long queue of sick people waiting for you to return. Where are you? Professor Graeme Bird has diagnosed a latent kleptomania in your friend Don Arthur which may be worth looking into, for starters …

Patrick
Patrick
15 years ago

I am very pleased that you saw fit to appreciate my suggestion from Dr Johnson. However, I, much like the good Dr, actually think that it is Bacon’s phrase that deserves memory (and commemory on your masthead)!