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Fallibility   Listen
noun
Fallibility  n.  The state of being fallible; liability to deceive or to be deceived; as, the fallibity of an argument or of an adviser.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Fallibility" Quotes from Famous Books



... Obedience may spring from the general religious phenomenon of inner softening and self-surrender and throwing one's self on higher powers. So saving are these attitudes felt to be that in themselves, apart from utility, they become ideally consecrated; and in obeying a man whose fallibility we see through thoroughly, we, nevertheless, may feel much as we do when we resign our will to that of infinite wisdom. Add self-despair and the passion of self-crucifixion to this, and obedience becomes an ascetic sacrifice, agreeable quite ...
— The Varieties of Religious Experience • William James

... Independently, however, of any peculiar chances of mendacity arising from the nature of the assertion, Laplace contends, that merely on the general ground of the fallibility of testimony, a coincidence is not credible on the same amount of testimony on which we should be warranted in believing an ordinary combination of events. In order to do justice to his argument, it is necessary ...
— A System Of Logic, Ratiocinative And Inductive • John Stuart Mill

... definite point in his argument, and you have nothing much to say, you must try to give the matter a general turn, and then talk against that. If you are called upon to say why a particular physical hypothesis cannot be accepted, you may speak of the fallibility of human knowledge, and give ...
— The Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer; The Art of Controversy • Arthur Schopenhauer

... for all is to learn to the dregs our own ignoble fallibility. When we have fallen through storey after storey of our vanity and aspiration, and sit rueful among the ruins, then it is that we begin to measure the stature of our friends: how they stand between us and ...
— Memories and Portraits • Robert Louis Stevenson

... but when brought to the light of day, deepens into a crimson blush; this is represented by a waxen model. It is strange that political and controversial literature, so rich in chameleons, asses in lions' skins, and other figures for human fallibility and stupidity, should not contain a few, just a few, varieties of the ...
— How to See the British Museum in Four Visits • W. Blanchard Jerrold

... own steadiness, which so much disdained my fears that the change of your residence might produce a change in your sentiments, is still as unshaken as when we parted in Suffolk? Or whether experience, that foe to unpractised refinement, has already taught you the fallibility of theory?" ...
— Cecilia Volume 1 • Frances Burney

... freedom of a whole people to dispose of its own destiny; and I do not see how the existence of such an ultimate popular political freedom and responsibility can be denied by any one who has rejected the theory of a divinely appointed political order. The fallibility of human nature being what it is, the practical application of this theory will have its grave dangers; but these dangers are only evaded and postponed by a failure to place ultimate political ...
— The Promise Of American Life • Herbert David Croly

... not felt about other men as I do of St. Vincent. We may be truthful, you and I, and forgive the pain we give each other. My opinion counts for no more than another's. Fallibility is the commonest of curses. Nor can I explain why I feel as I do—I oppose much in the way you expect to when your great white flash sears your eyes. But, in a word, I do not ...
— A Daughter of the Snows • Jack London

... monarchies, but the merits of systems are to be proved, not by these brilliant coups de justice, but by the steady, quiet and regular working of the machine, on which men know how to calculate, in which they have faith, and which as seldom deceives them as comports with human fallibility, rather than by scenes in which the blind goddess is made to play a part ...
— Recollections of Europe • J. Fenimore Cooper

... proceed to an examination of the plan submitted by the convention, not only without a disposition to find or to magnify faults; but will see the propriety of reflecting, that a faultless plan was not to be expected. Nor will they barely make allowances for the errors which may be chargeable on the fallibility to which the convention, as a body of men, were liable; but will keep in mind, that they themselves also are but men, and ought not to assume an infallibility in rejudging the fallible opinions of others. With equal readiness will it ...
— The Federalist Papers

... a student who has pursued such a course of study has reached the conviction that no one person is capable of discovering all the important factors in thirty minutes of instruction, and that his own conclusions are probably faulty in numerous serious respects. This impression in regard to the fallibility of individual judgment has a wholesome effect on any tendency to be too positive and fixed, while it directly engenders respect for ...
— How To Study and Teaching How To Study • F. M. McMurry

... that a certain fretfulness of temper characterizes most of the critics of Socialism. Strict adherence to the letter of Marx is pronounced as a sign of intellectual bondage of the movement and its leaders to the "Marxian fetish," and, on the other hand, every recognition of the human fallibility of Marx by a Socialist thinker is hailed as a sure portent of a split in the movement. Yet the most serious criticisms of Marx have come from the ranks of his followers—perhaps only another sign of the intellectual bankruptcy of the ...
— Socialism - A Summary and Interpretation of Socialist Principles • John Spargo

... unhappy man had reasons of his own—not exactly in his bosom, but a little lower—for remaining silent, in the midst of the general hilarity and the general applause. Alas for humanity! Even maternal love is alloyed with mortal fallibility. Owing much already to his excellent mother, the Reverend Samuel was now additionally indebted to ...
— Armadale • Wilkie Collins

... was a case of the fallibility of appearances. Fyles was remarkable both for great intelligence and extreme shrewdness. Not only that, he was a man of cat-like activity. His bulk was the result of a superabundance of muscle, and not of superfluous tissue. His bucolic spread of features was useful ...
— The Night Riders - A Romance of Early Montana • Ridgwell Cullum

... favour should not be a mercenary object; he should rather show his son, that he is aware of the great temptations to which a young man is exposed in going first into the world: he should show him, both that he is disposed to place confidence in him, and that he yet knows the fallibility of youthful prudence. If he expect from his son unerring prudence, he expects too much, and he will, perhaps, create an apprehension of his displeasure, which may chill and repress all ingenuous confidence. In all ...
— Practical Education, Volume II • Maria Edgeworth

... them draw back from the object of it. After the service, nobody spoke to Annie. She heeded this but little, absorbed as she was in thankfulness in finding that the privileges of God's house were not disturbed—that her relation to Him and her rights of worship were not touched by any fallibility in His minister. As she reached the entrance of the churchyard, Macdonald overtook her, and made her use his arm for the descent of the irregular steps. A few words from Helsa had put him in possession of the case. He desired ...
— The Billow and the Rock • Harriet Martineau

... following their guidance, I am responsible for her arrest and detention for trial. To the scrutiny of the Court I have submitted every fact that influenced my action, and the estimate of their value decided by the jurymen, must either confirm the cogency of my reasoning, or condemn my rash fallibility. Having under oath conscientiously given all the evidence in my possession, that the prosecution would accept or desire, I now respectfully request, that unless the prisoner chooses to exercise her right of cross-examination, my colleagues of the prosecution, and his Honor, ...
— At the Mercy of Tiberius • August Evans Wilson

... people will who have learnt, as most Doctors must learn, the fallibility of the human memory and its infinite powers of invention ...
— Mount Music • E. Oe. Somerville and Martin Ross

... slight, that it meant no vindictiveness towards her loved ones to say what she did about them. She asserted to us later that she really did not know what she said to the judge at the first hearing. The case illustrated well the fallibility of a young girl's accusations coming even from the lips of a normally bright and ...
— Pathology of Lying, Etc. • William and Mary Healy

... quantity, which can enter into human imagination, must in this manner be reduced to nothing. Let our first belief be never so strong, it must infallibly perish by passing through so many new examinations, of which each diminishes somewhat of its force and vigour. When I reflect on the natural fallibility of my judgment, I have less confidence in my opinions, than when I only consider the objects concerning which I reason; and when I proceed still farther, to turn the scrutiny against every successive estimation I make of my faculties, all the rules of logic require a continual diminution, ...
— A Treatise of Human Nature • David Hume

... yet, at every fresh instance which comes before us, we persist in being astonished to find that the man and the woman have not chosen each other on rational and producible grounds! We expect human passion to act on logical principles; and human fallibility—with love for its guide—to be above all danger of making a mistake! Ask the wisest among Anne Silvester's sex what they saw to rationally justify them in choosing the men to whom they have given their hearts and their ...
— Man and Wife • Wilkie Collins

... was above everything else his tolerance that pleased the Russians. Nothing shocked him, which did not at all mean that he had no code of honour or morals. His code was severe and stern, but his sense of human fallibility, and the fine fight that human nature was always making against stupendous odds stirred him to a fine and comprehending clarity. He had many faults. He was obstinate, often dull and lethargic, in many ways grossly ill-educated and sometimes wilfully ...
— The Secret City • Hugh Walpole

... had swayed her in a very different direction. The hard clear pebble, subjected for so long and so constantly to that encircling and insidious fluidity, had suffered a curious corrosion; it seemed to be actually growing a little soft and a little clouded. Humanity and fallibility are infectious things; was it possible that Lehzen's prim pupil had caught them? That she was beginning to listen to siren voices? That the secret impulses of self-expression, of self-indulgence even, were mastering her life? For a moment the child of a new age looked back, and wavered ...
— Queen Victoria • Lytton Strachey

... must also admit that it is easy to go too far in the opposite direction, and reject evidence which depends upon the senses simply because they depend upon them. This, I think, is invalid reasoning. No one would be more willing than I to admit their fallibility and untrustworthiness—especially when we are dealing with conditions and phenomena where mal-observation is possible; but I do not think that any negative conclusion can be drawn from this. The case is still an open one; nothing is proved, one way or the other, and, in such work as ours, proof—and ...
— The Problems of Psychical Research - Experiments and Theories in the Realm of the Supernormal • Hereward Carrington

... he argued, with all the hot impatience of youth, that it was high time he came to rest. Opportunities were on every side of him, but he knew not where or how to lay hold of them to his best advantage. More than ever he felt himself to be the toy of circumstance, more than ever he feared the fallibility of his judgment and the consequences of a mistake. He was in a mood both dissatisfied and irresolute when he encountered his two trail friends, Tom Linton and Jerry Quirk. Pierce had seen them last at Linderman, engaged in prosecuting a stampeders' ...
— The Winds of Chance • Rex Beach

... dependence, dependency, double contingency, possibility upon a possibility; open question &c. (question) 461; onus probandi[Lat]; blind bargain, pig in a poke, leap in the dark, something or other; needle in a haystack, needle in a bottle of hay; roving commission. precariousness &c. adj.; fallibility. V. be uncertain &c. adj.; wonder whether. lose the clue, lose the clew, scent; miss one's way. not know what to make of &c. (unintelligibility) 519, not know which way to turn, not know whether one stands on one s head or one's heels; float in a sea of doubt,hesitate, flounder; ...
— Roget's Thesaurus

... ringing voice, "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged, and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." The lesson he drew from the words was God's recognition of the fallibility of human judgment, and the self-condemnation brought about by ignoring the prohibition in the text. By an effort, he spoke deliberately at first, but the fire in his heart came out more and more in his words ...
— The Uncalled - A Novel • Paul Laurence Dunbar

... like Lucretius and Epicurus—without range or defiance, even without unbecoming mirth, look deep into the tangled mysteries of things; refuse credence to the absurd, and allegiance to arrogant authority; sufficiently conscious of fallibility to be tolerant of all opinions; with a faith too wide for doctrine and a benevolence untrammelled by creed; too wise to be wholly poets, and yet too surely poets to ...
— Persian Literature, Volume 1,Comprising The Shah Nameh, The - Rubaiyat, The Divan, and The Gulistan • Anonymous

... not do it, father, without publishing their fallibility. The credit of certain great patricians was concerned, and I fear there is a morality in these Councils which separates the deed of the man from those of the senators, putting policy ...
— The Bravo • J. Fenimore Cooper

... so high as to inspire him with a very watchful fastidiousness of judgment; certain it is that he was, in some degree, the dupe of this remarkable imposture, which, as a lesson to the self-confidence of criticism, and an exposure of the fallibility of taste, ought never to be forgotten in ...
— Memoirs of the Life of Rt. Hon. Richard Brinsley Sheridan Vol 2 • Thomas Moore

... describing; pouncing on his minute errors, and forgetting the totality of his generous labors. Much of this spirit infests literature; and merges the kindly exposition of error into the bitterness of personal attack. The fallibility of human nature should teach us charity, and our own faults lead us to "more gently scan our brother man,"—a thing too often unthought of by those who are nothing if not critical, and as frequently nothing when they are. The painter ...
— The International Monthly, Volume 3, No. 2, May, 1851 • Various

... to spare no trouble in endeavoring to witness the trial of M. Benedetto for the murder of his comrade in chains. In the eyes of many, Benedetto appeared, if not a victim to, at least an instance of, the fallibility of the law. M. Cavalcanti, his father, had been seen in Paris, and it was expected that he would re-appear to claim the illustrious outcast. Many, also, who were not aware of the circumstances attending his withdrawal from Paris, were struck with the worthy appearance, ...
— The Count of Monte Cristo • Alexandre Dumas, Pere

... interest, be reexamined for signs of recurrence, and perhaps from time to time reinforce his immunity by a course of rubs or a few mercurial injections. Such a statement is not pessimism, but merely the same deliberate recognition of the fallibility of human judgment and the uncertainty of life which we show when we sleep out-of-doors after we have been suspected of having tuberculosis, or when we take ...
— The Third Great Plague - A Discussion of Syphilis for Everyday People • John H. Stokes

... manner of the teacher, or from his purity of life, or from the strong impression of a particular text at a particular time, and various things beside, may influence and decide our opinion; and the hand of the Almighty, let us hope, will fall gently on human fallibility. ...
— Imaginary Conversations and Poems - A Selection • Walter Savage Landor

... than the pump-room at Leamington built bigger;—but the bigness tells at last: and Corinthian pillars whose capitals alone are ten feet high, and their acanthus leaves, three feet six long, give you a serious conviction of the infallibility of the Pope, and the fallibility of the wretched Corinthians, who invented the style indeed, but built with ...
— Mornings in Florence • John Ruskin

... an inferior copy of the Vatican Ms. became the vulgata—the progenitor of this series of medieval copies. One must bear in mind how assiduously medieval scribes copied everything that appeared to be of any importance to them, and how each new copy by virtue of human fallibility or self-sufficiency must have suffered in the making, and it is only by very careful comparison of the various manuscripts that the original ...
— Cooking and Dining in Imperial Rome • Apicius

... the phenomena of the weather, for example, the phenomena are so exceedingly complex that anything approaching a complete statement of their elements is quite out of the question. The fallibility of most popular generalizations in these fields is evidence of the difficulty of dealing with such facts. Must we be content then simply to guess at such phenomena? ... In instances of this sort, another method ... becomes important: ...
— Human Traits and their Social Significance • Irwin Edman

... ruling principles of our forefathers in their most decided conduct. Not being illuminated with the light of which the gentlemen of France tell us they have got so abundant a share, they acted under a strong impression of the ignorance and fallibility of mankind. He that had made them thus fallible rewarded them for having in their conduct attended to their nature. Let us imitate their caution, if we wish to deserve their fortune or to retain their bequests. Let us add, ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. III. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... return, enter upon some more embarrassing line of inquiry; in which case the agent decided to take refuge in silence. But the reporter, when he came back late in the evening disheartened and disgusted with the fallibility of long-distance tips, declared himself ...
— Success - A Novel • Samuel Hopkins Adams



Words linked to "Fallibility" :   fallible, unreliableness, errancy, infallibility



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