Inspirational William of Ockham Quotes

William of Ockham (c. 1287 – 1347) was an English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher and theologian. This post features some Inspirational William of Ockham Quotes.

He is believed to have been born in Ockham, a small village in Surrey. He is considered to be one of the major figures of medieval thought and was at the centre of the major intellectual and political controversies of the fourteenth century.

He is commonly known for Occam’s razor, the methodological principle that bears his name, and also produced significant works on logic, physics, and theology. In the Church of England, his day of commemoration is 10 April. Ockham was a pioneer of nominalism, and some consider him the father of modern epistemology, because of his strongly argued position that only individuals exist, rather than supra-individual universals, essences, or forms, and that universals are the products of abstraction from individuals by the human mind and have no extra-mental existence.

William of Ockham believed “only faith gives us access to theological truths. The ways of God are not open to reason, for God has freely chosen to create a world and establish a way of salvation within it apart from any necessary laws that human logic or rationality can uncover.” Ockham’s theism was based solely on private revelation and faith(fideism). He believed that science was a matter of discovery and saw God as the only ontological necessity. His importance is as a theologian with a strongly developed interest in logical method, and whose approach was critical rather than system building.

In scholasticism, Ockham advocated reform in both method and content, the aim of which was simplification. Ockham incorporated much of the work of some previous theologians, especially John Duns Scotus. From Scotus, Ockham derived his view of divine omnipotence, his view of grace and justification, much of his epistemology and ethical convictions.

William of Ockham Quotes
William of Ockham Quotes

William of Ockham Quotes

“The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct.”
― William of Ockham

“When you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better.”
― William of Ockham

“Entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity.”
― William of Ockham

“Plurality is never to be posited without necessity.”
― William of Ockham

“It is pointless to do with more what can be done with fewer.”
― William of Ockham quotes

“Keep things simple.”
― William of Ockham quotes

“Logic is the most useful tool of all the arts. Without it no science can be fully known.”
― William of Ockham

“With all things being equal, the simplest explanation tends to be the right one.”
― William of Ockham

“All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the best one.”
― William of Ockham

“The simplest explanation is usually the right one”
― William of Ockham

“I have set out opposing assertions in response to your question and I have touched on quite strong arguments in support of each position. Therefore consider now which seems the more probable to you.”
― William of Ockham

“The head of Christians does not, as a rule, have power to punish secular wrongs with a capital penalty and other bodily penalties and it is for thus punishing such wrongs that temporal power and riches are chiefly necessary; such punishment is granted chiefly to the secular power. The pope therefore, can, as a rule, correct wrongdoers only with a spiritual penalty. It is not, therefore, necessary that he should excel in temporal power or abound in temporal riches, but it is enough that Christians should willingly obey him.”
William of Ockham

“It is on account of theology alone that any assertion whatsoever should be called catholic or heretical. For only an assertion which is consonant with theology is truly catholic, and only one which is known to be opposed to theology is known to be heretical. For if some assertion were found to be opposed to decrees of the highest pontiffs, or also of general councils or also to laws of the emperors, nevertheless, if it were not in conflict with theology, even if it could be considered false, erroneous or unjust, it should not be counted as a heresy.”
― William of Ockham

“Purely philosophical assertions which do not pertain to theology should not be solemnly condemned or forbidden by anyone, because in connection with such [assertions] anyone at all ought to be free to say freely what pleases him.”
― William of Ockham

“Intuitive cognition is such that when some things are cognized, of which one inheres in the other, or one is spatially distant from the other, or exists in some relation to the other, immediately in virtue of that non-propositional cognition of those things, it is known if the thing inheres or does not inhere, if it is spatially distant or not, and the same for other true contingent propositions, unless that cognition is flawed or there is some impediment.”
― William of Ockham

Inspirational Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes

Niccolò Machiavelli (3 May 1469 – 21 June 1527) was an Italian Renaissance historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist, and writer. This post features some Inspirational Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes.

He has often been called the founder of modern political science. He was for many years a senior official in the Florentine Republic, with responsibilities in diplomatic and military affairs. He also wrote comedies, carnival songs, and poetry. His personal correspondence is renowned in the Italian language. He was secretary to the Second Chancery of the Republic of Florence from 1498 to 1512, when the Medici were out of power. He wrote his most renowned work The Prince (Il Principe) in 1513.

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes
Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes

“Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great. ”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“Never was anything great achieved without danger.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“People should either be caressed or crushed. If you do them minor damage they will get their revenge; but if you cripple them there is nothing they can do. If you need to injure someone, do it in such a way that you do not have to fear their vengeance.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others.”
Niccolò Machiavelli quotes

“There is no other way to guard yourself against flattery than by making men understand that telling you the truth will not offend you.”
Niccolò Machiavelli

“The lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“Men are driven by two principal impulses, either by love or by fear.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it’s impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“The vulgar crowd always is taken by appearances, and the world consists chiefly of the vulgar.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“It is much safer to be feared than loved because …love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“Men in general judge more by the sense of sight than by the sense of touch, because everyone can see but few can test by feeling. Everyone sees what you seem to be, few know what you really are; and those few do not dare take a stand against the general opinion.”
Niccolò Machiavelli quotes

“He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“How we live is so different from how we ought to live that he who studies what ought to be done rather than what is done will learn the way to his downfall rather than to his preservation.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“It is not titles that honour men, but men that honour titles.”
Niccolò Machiavelli quotes

“Wisdom consists of knowing how to distinguish the nature of trouble, and in choosing the lesser evil.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“There is nothing more important than appearing to be religious.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for everyone can see and few can feel. Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“Because there are three classes of intellects: one which comprehends by itself; another which appreciates what others comprehend; and a third which neither comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others; the first is the most excellent, the second is good, the third is useless.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“He who becomes a Prince through the favour of the people should always keep on good terms with them; which it is easy for him to do, since all they ask is not to be oppressed.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“A man who is used to acting in one way never changes; he must come to ruin when the times, in changing, no longer are in harmony with his ways.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“Nature creates few men brave, industry and training makes many.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good. Hence a prince who wants to keep his authority must learn how not to be good, and use that knowledge, or refrain from using it, as necessity requires.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“Men are so simple of mind, and so much dominated by their immediate needs, that a deceitful man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived.”
Niccolò Machiavelli quotes

“Of mankind we may say in general they are fickle, hypocritical, and greedy of gain.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“In conclusion, the arms of others either fall from your back, or they weigh you down, or they bind you fast.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“Everyone who wants to know what will happen ought to examine what has happened: everything in this world in any epoch has their replicas in antiquity.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“And here comes in the question whether it is better to be loved rather than feared, or feared rather than loved. It might perhaps be answered that we should wish to be both; but since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“A prudent man should always follow in the path trodden by great men and imitate those who are most excellent, so that if he does not attain to their greatness, at any rate he will get some tinge of it.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“Men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones. ”
― Niccolò Machiavelli quotes

“Men never do good unless necessity drives them to it; but when they are free to choose and can do just as they please, confusion and disorder become rampant.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

“When evening comes, I return home and go into my study. On the threshold I strip off my muddy, sweaty, workday clothes, and put on the robes of court and palace, and in this graver dress I enter the antique courts of the ancients and am welcomed by them, and there I taste the food that alone is mine, and for which I was born. And there I make bold to speak to them and ask the motives of their actions, and they, in their humanity, reply to me. And for the space of four hours I forget the world, remember no vexation, fear poverty no more, tremble no more at death: I pass indeed into their world.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli

Inspirational John Duns Scotus Quotes

John Duns Scotus (c. 1266 – 8 November 1308), is one of the three most important philosopher-theologians of the High Middle Ages. This post features some Inspirational John Duns Scotus Quotes.

Scotus has had considerable influence on both Catholic and secular thought. The doctrines for which he is best known are the “univocity of being,” that existence is the most abstract concept we have, applicable to everything that exists; the formal distinction, a way of distinguishing between different aspects of the same thing; and the idea of haecceity, the property supposed to be in each individual thing that makes it an individual. Scotus also developed a complex argument for the existence of God, and argued for the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Scotus’s great work is his commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, which contains nearly all the philosophical views and arguments for which he is well known, including the univocity of being, the formal distinction, less than numerical unity, individual nature or ‘thisness’ (haecceity), his critique of illuminationism and his renowned argument for the existence of God.

Duns Scotus died unexpectedly in Cologne in November 1308; the date of his death is traditionally given as 8 November. He is buried in the Church of the Friars Minor there. His sarcophagus bears the Latin inscription:
Scotia me genuit. Anglia me suscepit. Gallia me docuit. Colonia me tenet.
(Scotland brought me forth. England sustained me. France taught me. Cologne holds me.)

John Duns Scotus Quotes
John Duns Scotus Quotes

John Duns Scotus Quotes

“If all men by nature desire to know, then they desire most of all the greatest knowledge of science. And he immediately indicates what the greatest science is, namely the science which is about those things that are most knowable. But there are two senses in which things are said to be maximally knowable: either because they are the first of all things known and without them nothing else can be known; or because they are what are known most certainly. In either way, however, this science is about the most knowable. Therefore, this most of all is a science and, consequently, most desirable.”
John Duns Scotus

“I say that some things can be said to belong to the law of nature in two ways: One way is as first practical principles known from their terms or as conclusions necessarily entailed by them. These are said to belong to the natural law in the strictest sense, and there can be no dispensation in their regard… But this is not the case when we speak in general of all the precepts of the second table. For the reasons behind the commands and prohibitions there are not practical principles that are necessary in an unqualified sense, nor are they simply necessary conclusions from such. For they contain no goodness such as is necessarily prescribed for attaining the goodness of the ultimate end, nor in what is forbidden is there such malice as would turn one away necessarily from the last end, for even if the good found in these [precepts] were not commanded, the ultimate end could still be loved and attained, whereas if the evil proscribed by them were not forbidden, it would still be consistent with the acquisition of the ultimate end.”
John Duns Scotus quotes

“We speak of the matter [of this science] in the sense of its being what the science is about. This is called by some the subject of the science, but more properly it should be called its object, just as we say of a virtue that what it is about is its object, not its subject. As for the object of the science in this sense, we have indicated above that this science is about the transcendentals. And it was shown to be about the highest causes. But there are various opinions about which of these ought to be considered its proper object or subject. Therefor, we inquire about the first. Is the proper subject of metaphysics being as being, as Avicenna claims, or God and the Intelligences, as the Commentator, Averroes, assumes.”
– John Duns Scotus