Talk:Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. page.


These three:

*I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.

*A mind stretched by a new idea can never go back to its original dimensions.

*Insanity is the logic of an accurate mind overtaxed.

are also listed on OWH Sr.'s page. Which one is correct? -203.219.227.6 15:00, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

1) "Insanity is the logic of an accurate mind overtaxed." This is already correctly sourced on the Holmes Sr page as "Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtaxed" (from The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, ch. II). I'll remove it from the Holmes Jr page (Unsourced section).

2) "A mind stretched by a new idea can never go back to its original dimensions." This also turns out to be from The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table (ch. XI) as the following:

"Every now and then a man's mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions."

I'll add this quote to its appropriate place on the Holmes Sr page and will remove it from the Holmes Jr page (I didn't see it already on the Holmes Sr page, by the way).

3) "I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity." This quote, which on the Holmes Sr page has "my right arm" instead of "my life," is one for which I haven't found the source so far, and so I will leave this quote as it is on both pages. - InvisibleSun 18:05, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

*If I were dying, my last words would be, Have faith and pursue the unknown end. This quote is listed instead as his father's, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., on ThinkExist.com.

*A moment's insight is somtimes worth life's experience appears also in Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. To whom should it be attributed?

Dror dori 16:49, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

"The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins."[edit]

Did he actually say this? It's a common quotation attributed to him but doesn't appear on the main page. If he did indeed say it, it should be there! Hanxu9 13:02, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

The quote's by Zechariah Chafee. Its exact form is "Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins." See Z Chafee 'Freedom of Speech in Wartime' (1919) 32 Harvard Law Review 932 at p. 957. Its context in his piece is somewhat different from what it's usually taken to be. But you're right - this is frequently attributed to Holmes. Perhaps it merits an entry in the 'misattributed' section. -- Arvind 00:12, 4 December 2010 (UTC)
Agreed, done. BD2412 T 00:40, 4 December 2010 (UTC)

Unsourced[edit]

These require citations to adequate sources before being placed into the main article.
  • There's a great deal of difference between a little bit and a lot.
    • Justice Holmes' comment on judging, quoted by Harvard Law Professor Arthur Sutherland, who has been personal secretary to Justice Holmes.

I removed this as probably a hoax edit at this point — an brief internet search provides no corroboration of this.

Date of OWH, Jr. quote[edit]

The only simplicity for which I would give a straw is that which is on the other side of the complex — not that which never has divined it. "Holmes-Pollock Letters : The Correspondence of Mr. Justice Holmes and Sir Frederick Pollock, 1874-1932" (2nd ed., 1961), p. 109.

Just trying to understand why the following quote is listed under 1930s, when the letter cited is dated October 24, 1902. Laschoenfeld (talk) 17:38, 8 February 2021 (UTC)