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OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR.
American lawyer
(1841 - 1935)

Any two philosophers can tell each other all they know in two hours.
      - [Philosophers]

Continuity with the past is a necessity, not a duty.
      - [Continuity : Justice : Past]

General propositions do not decide concrete cases. The decision will depend on a judgment or intuition more subtle than any articulate major premise.
      - Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45, 74 (1905)
        [Decision : Judgment : Theories]

I dare say that I have worked off my fundamental formula on you that the chief end of man is to frame general propositions and that no general proposition is worth a damn.
      - written to Pollock, November 22, 1920, found in "Holmes-Pollock Letters," p. 59
        [Theories]

Man's mind stretched by a new idea, never goes back to its orginal dimensions.
      - [Education : Mind]

The great act of faith is when a man decides he is not God.
      - [God]

The great act of faith is when man decides that he is not God.
      - said to William James, March 24, 1907
        [Faith]

The ideas of the classics, so far as living, are our commonplaces. It is the modern books that give us the latest and most profound conceptions. It seems to me rather a lazy makeshift to mumble over the familiar.
      - in a letter to Wu, March 26, 1925, see Shriver's "Book Notices, Uncollected Papers, etc."
        [Books : Reading]

The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.
      - in the case of "Schenck v. United States"
        [Speech]

The reward of the general is not a bigger tent, but command.
      - in a letter to Charles Bunn [Power : Reward]

Who does not feel that Nansen's account of his search for the Pole rather loses than gains in ideal satisfaction by the pretense of a few trifling acquisitions for science?
      - Collected Legal Papers (p. 273) [Motive]

Behold--not him we knew!
  This was the prison which his soul looked through.
      - The Last Look [Death]


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