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Vagueness Quotes

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"Yellow is vagueness and luminousness, both." - Alexander Theroux

"Mathematics allows for no hypocrisy and no vagueness." - Stendhal

"Vagueness and procrastination are ever a comfort to the frail in spirit." - John Updike

"He must approach the subject critically, alert for contradictions, pedantry and vagueness." - Jack Vance

"Vagueness is at times an indication of nearness to a perfect truth." - Charles Ives

"A bit of the vagueness of music stops you going completely mad, I imagine." - Sebastian Faulks

"Maybe vagueness has been good for me. The word means two different things in Tokyo and Osaka, you know. In Tokyo it means stupidity, but in Osaka they talk about vagueness in a painting and in a game of Go." - Yasunari Kawabata

"The extreme nature of dominant-end views is often concealed by the vagueness and ambiguity of the end proposed." - John Rawls

"None of our beliefs are quite true; all have at least a penumbra of vagueness and error." - Bertrand Russell

"Noise is the typographical error and the poorly designed page...Ambiguity is noise. Redundancy is noise. Misuse of words is noise. Vagueness is noise. Jargon is noise." - William Zinsser

"Any useful logic must concern itself with Ideas with a fringe of vagueness and a Truth that is a matter of degree." - Norbert Wiener

"And the vagueness of his alarm added to its terrors; when once you have taken the Impossible into your calculations its possibilities become practically limitless." - Hector Hugh Munro

"A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, and some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people" - Edgar Degas

"A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, and some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people." - Edgar Degas

"Unhappy women are given to protecting their sensitiveness by cynical gossip, by whining, by high-church and new-thought religions, or by a fog of vagueness." - Sinclair Lewis

"Ask a man which way he is going to vote, and he will probably tell you. Ask him, however, why, and vagueness is all." - Bernard Levin

"In abandoning the vagueness of the sketch the artist shows more of his personality by revealing the range but also the limitations of his talent." - Eugene Delacroix

"But, as we have before been led to remark, most of Mr. Darwin's statements elude, by their vagueness and incompleteness, the test of Natural History facts." - Richard Owen

"I am only conscious of any satisfaction in Scientific Reading or thinking when it rounds off into a poetical generality and vagueness." - Wilfred Owen

"Pain can be vitalising; it gives intensity in the place of vagueness and emptiness. If we don't suffer, how do we know that we live?" - Sebastian Horsley

"Human relations are built on feeling, not on reason or knowledge. And feeling is not an exact science; like all spiritual qualities, it has the vagueness of greatness about it." - Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

"It is in the early morning hour that the unseen is seen, and that the far-off beauty and glory, vanquishing all their vagueness, move down upon us till they stand clear as crystal close over against the soul." - Sarah Smiley

"No blur of inexactness, no cloud of vagueness, is allowable in good writing; from the first seeing to the last putting down, there must be steady lucidity and uncompromise of purpose." - Eudora Welty

"Just, harmonious, temperate as is the spirit of liberty, there is in the name and mere notion of it a vagueness so opposite to the definite clearness of the moral law...." - Augustus William Hare

"William James used to preach the will-to-believe. For my part, I should wish to preach the will-to-doubt. None of our beliefs are quite true; all at least have a penumbra of vagueness and error." - Bertrand Russell

"You must not know too much or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and watercraft; a certain free-margin, and even vagueness - ignorance, credulity - helps your enjoyment of these things." - Walt Whitman

"Just, harmonious, temperate as is the spirit of liberty, there is in the name and mere notion of it a vagueness so opposite to the definite clearness of the moral law...." - Augustus Hare

"You must not know too much, or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and water-craft; a certain free margin, and even vagueness - perhaps ignorance, credulity - helps your enjoyment of these things..." - Walt Whitman

"Indeed, the sole criticism of him was that he prolonged beyond the point of decency, his look of nuptial rapture and the vagueness which rendered him, in conversation, slightly stupid." - Jean Stafford

"You must not know too much or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and watercraft; a certain free-margin , or even vagueness - ignorance, credulity - helps your enjoyment of these things." - Walt Whitman

"Perhaps I became so vague, so exhilarated with vagueness, precisely in order to forestall a recognition of the final term of the syllogism that begins: If one man loves another he is a homosexual; I love a man..." - Edmund White

"Human relations are built on feeling, not on reason or knowledge. And feeling is not an exact science; like all spiritual qualities, it has the vagueness of greatness about it." - Amelia Barr

"To borrow from Mark Twain, I tend to think that reports of the death of supervaluationist approaches have been greatly exaggerated. The arguments that have been given against supervaluationism usually aim to show that it is just incoherent. But it's not. It may be false, as a general theory of vagueness, but it's a coherent and, I think, even correct way to think about some vagueness." - Richard F. Heck

"After all we speak of people 'taking refuge' in vagueness -the more precise you are, in general the more likely you are to be wrong, whereas you stand a good chance of not being wrong if you make it vague enough." - J L Austin

"An artist has to go to every extreme, to stretch his sensibility through excess and suffering in order to feel and to communicate more. I have always been fascinated by blood. Pain can be vitalizing; it gives intensity in the place of vagueness and emptiness. If we don't suffer, how do we know that we live?" - Sebastian Horsley

"In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible... Thus, political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging, and sheer cloudy vagueness... Political language [is] designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable." - George Orwell

"As we lose our vagueness about ourself, our values, our life situation, we become available to the moment. It is there, in the particular, that we contact the creative self. Art lies in the moment of encounter: we meet our truth and we meet ourselves; we meet ourselves and we meet our self-expression ." - Julia Cameron

"The policies that Hillary [Clinton] advocates are going to be more of the same, whether you're looking at her cozy relationships with the banks, her refusal to support Glass-Steagall, her vagueness about what actually she's going to do about the control of the big banks." - Jill Stein

"Outside of mathematics and logic, there are common sense truths, such as that it is snowing that normal observers, in a specified context can agree on, subject to vagueness considerations, and theoretical truths, such as that snow is crystallised water vapour, and maybe in-between truths." - Catherine Wilson

"The art of a great writer is seen in the perfect fitness of his expressions. He knows how to blend vividness with vagueness, knows where images are needed, and where by their vivacity they would be obstacles to the rapid appreciation of his thought." - George Henry Lewes

"My struggle has been to return painting to the tangible object, which is like returning the personality to touching and feeling the world around it, to offset the tendency to vagueness and abstraction. To remind people of practical activity, to suggest the sense and not to escape from the senses." - Claes Oldenburg

"We cannot afford to have any large section of the business world in doubt whether they have broken the laws or not, and we cannot let the laws become a dead letter through vagueness. In this view it is clear that an administrative commission can render invaluable service." - John Bates Clark

"You start meditation as an average human being who is filled with vagueness and not much purpose or definition, who is controlled by their desires, your mind spins all over the place, your senses spin all over the place, out of control." - Frederick Lenz

"Science fiction rarely is about scientists doing real science, in its slowness, its vagueness, the sort of tedious quality of getting out there and digging amongst rocks and then trying to convince people that what you're seeing justifies the conclusions you're making." - Kim Stanley Robinson

"William James used to preach the "will-to-believe." For my part, I should wish to preach the "will-to-doubt." None of our beliefs are quite true; all at least have a penumbra of vagueness and error. What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite." - Bertrand Russell

"I am very Aristotelian in approach - not in detail - so I always find I'm saying things that get people frustrated like 'It's a matter of balance and judgement'. To a lot of philosophers these are terrible words because they're admitting of vagueness and uncertainty. The more I've done philosophy, the more I've become convinced that that is the way it is." - Julian Baggini

"Fatalism, whose solving word in all crises of behavior is All striving is vain, will never reign supreme, for the impulse to take life strivingly is indestructible in the race. Moral creeds which speak to that impulse will be widely successful in spite of inconsistency, vagueness, and shadowy determination of expectancy. Man needs a rule for his will, and will invent one if one be not given him." - William James

"Suppose the looking glass smashes, the image disappears, and the romantic figure with the green of forest depths all about it is there no longer, but only that shell of a person which is seen by other people - what an airless, shallow, bald, prominent world it becomes! A world not to be lived in. As we face each other in omnibuses and underground railways we are looking into the mirror that accounts for the vagueness, the gleam of glassiness, in our eyes." - Virginia Woolf

"Conventions of generality and mathematical elegance may be just as much barriers to the attainment and diffusion of knowledge as may contentment with particularity and literary vagueness... It may well be that the slovenly and literary borderland between economics and sociology will be the most fruitful building ground during the years to come and that mathematical economics will remain too flawless in its perfection to be very fruitful." - Kenneth E. Boulding

"It is easy enough to write and talk about God while remaining comfortable within the contemporary intellectual climate. Even people who would call themselves unbelievers often use the word gesturally, as a ready-made synonym for mystery. But if nature abhors a vacuum, Christ abhors a vagueness. If God is love, Christ is love for this one person, this one place, this one time-bound and time-ravaged self." - Christian Wiman

"We think of it as a sort of traffic accident of the heart. It is an emotion that scares us more than cruelty, more than violence, more than hatred. We allow ourselves to be foiled by the vagueness of the word. After all, love requires the utmost vulnerability. We equip someone with freshly sharpened knives; strip naked; then invite him to stand close. What could be scarier?" - Diane Ackerman

"In a play, certainly, the subject is of more importance than in any other work of art. Infelicity, triviality, vagueness of subject, may be outweighed in a poem, a novel, or a picture, by charm of manner, by ingenuity of execution; but in a drama the subject is of the essence of the work-it is the work. If it is feeble, the work can have no force; if it is shapeless, the work must be amorphous." - Henry James

"To write or even speak English is not a science but an art. There are no reliable words. Whoever writes English is involved in a struggle that never lets up even for a sentence. He is struggling against vagueness, against obscurity, against the lure of the decorative adjective, against the encroachment of Latin and Greek, and, above all, against the worn-out phrases and dead metaphors with which the language is cluttered up." - George Orwell

"In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness." - George Orwell

"When people talk, they lay lines on each other, do a lot of role playing, sidestep, shilly-shally and engage in all manner of vagueness and innuendo. We do this and expect others to do it, yet at the same time we profess to long for the plain truth, for people to say what they mean, simple as that. Such hypocrisy is a human universal." - Steven Pinker

"The more I read, the less I admire modern theology. the more I study the productions of the new schools of theological teachers, the more I marvel that men and women can be satisfied with such writings. There is a vagueness, a mistiness, a shallowness, an indistinctness, a superficiality, an aimlessness, a hollowness about the literature of the 'broader and kinder systems', as they are called, which to my mind stamps their origin on their face. They are of the earth, earthy." - J C Ryle

"The 'Little' or 'Barebones' Parliament, summoned by Oliver Cromwell to meet at Westminster on 4th July, 1653, after the dissolution of the remains of the Long Parliament, may have been an unpractical body, so far as the task of administration in troublous times was concerned. But it seems quite possible that the wealth of contumely and scorn which has been poured upon it was, originally, due quite as much to the fierce anger of vested interests against outspoken criticism, as to any real vagueness or want of practical wisdom in the plans of the House itself." - Edward Jenks

"The mission of the law is not to oppress persons and plunder them of their property, even though the law may be acting in a philanthropic spirit. Its purpose is to protect persons and property.... If you exceed this proper limit - if you attempt to make the law religious, fraternal, equalizing, philanthropic, industrial, or artistic - you will then be lost in uncharted territory, in vagueness and uncertainty, in a forced utopia or, even worse, in a multitude of utopias, each striving to seize the law and impose it on you." - Frederic Bastiat

"I can't write from the subconscious actually, because a lot of the time when I co-write with other people, I'm writing for them as opposed to for myself. When it comes to lyrics, I tend to want to give them their voice, since it's most likely going to be on their record, or somebody else's record. And I find for more commerial-style music, people want simplicity, less vagueness, and less space to fill between the lines, so to speak. So I can't be quite as ethereal and mystical." - Gary Louris

"Kantians are saddled with absolutist views, Aristotelians are accused of vagueness, and there is almost no horror to which Consequentialists are innocent of, according to some critics. While all these families of views have been victimized in these ways, Consequentialists have gotten the worst of it. I think this may have something to do with the fact that Kant and Aristotle are acknowledged to be great philosophers, and we tend to read the greats sympathetically, while Consequentialism is a family of views not rooted in the work of a single great man to whom this kind of deference is owed." - Dale Jamieson



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