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by Isaac Asimov

Foundation Philosophy (Science) Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #7

"True, but we have trained them. Their knowledge of their tools is purely empirical; and they have a firm belief in the mummery that surrounds them." (III.1.70)

This quote is a little tricky. On the one hand, the priests have been trained in scientific tools empirically (through experimentation). On the other hand, their training has not permitted them to look at the mummery (in this case, religious ceremony) with questioning eyes. So, has their training done them any good? We'll let you take a go at that one.

Quote #8

"Do you suppose [King Lepold] has to accuse us of aggression and pull out all the stops on cheap emotionalism? When the time comes to strike, Lepold gives the order and the people fight. Just like that. That's the damnedness of the system. You don't question a god." (III.4.45)

Here's a nice little quote suggesting exactly why the novel values reason as it does: it helps people from giving over to their emotions and allows them to see that Lepold isn't a god but a man. (Historically speaking, that man-demigod confusion happened more often than anyone should feel comfortable with.)

Quote #9

"It is unscientific to suppose meaningless cases." (V.12.11)

That may just be true, but the tech-man here doesn't quite understand the concept of "meaningless." He says his nuclear reactors will last for eternity and never break down—so asking what will happen if it does is "meaningless." But scientifically speaking, eternity is, well, eternity. And given enough time, anything becomes possible. Especially the failure of rapidly aging technology.

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