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A truism is a claim that is so obvious or self-evident as to be hardly worth mentioning, except as a reminder or as a rhetorical or literary device, and is the opposite of falsism. In philosophy, a sentence which asserts incomplete truth conditions for a proposition may be regarded as a truism. An example of such a sentence would be "Under appropriate conditions, the sun rises." Without contextual support – a statement of what those appropriate conditions are – the sentence is true but incontestable.


  • The sun is one, but its beams are numberless; and the effects produced are beneficent or maleficent, according to the nature and constitution of the objects they shine upon.
  • It is easy to argue persuasively the truism that the lessons of history are best derived from what actually happened, rather than from what nearly happened. It should be added, however, that what happened becomes more fully comprehensible in the light of the contending forces that existed at moments of decision. Understanding of the total historical setting is bound to contribute to a clearer view of the actual course of affairs.
    • Harold C. Deutsch (1904-1995), Introduction, What If? Strategic Alternatives of WWII (December 1997)
  • I learned this bit of wisdom from a principle of William Blake's which I discovered early and followed far too assiduously the first half of my aesthetic life, and from which I have happily released myself and this axiom was: "Put off intellect and put on imagination; the imagination is the man." From this doctrinal assertion evolved the theoretical axiom that you don't see a thing until you look away from it which was an excellent truism as long as the principles of the imaginative life were believed in and followed. I no longer believe in the imagination.
  • Where this age differs from those immediately preceding it is that a liberal intelligentsia is lacking. Bully-worship, under various disguises, has become a universal religion, and such truisms as that a machine-gun is still a machine-gun even when a "good" man is squeezing the trigger — and that in effect is what Mr Russell is saying — have turned into heresies which it is actually becoming dangerous to utter.
    • George Orwell (1903-1950) Review of Power: A New Social Analysis by Bertrand Russell in The Adelphi (January 1939)
  • It is a truism that success in science comes to the individuals who ask the right questions.
    • John Polanyi, "The Magic of Science" in Imperial Oil Review (Spring, 1994).
  • Decide on some imperfect Somebody and you will win, because the truest truism in politics is: You can’t beat Somebody with Nobody.
    • William Safire As quoted in The Quotable Politician, William B. Whitman, Global Pequot (2003), p. 60.
  • Quot homines tot sententiæ (Translation: There are as many opinions as there are people who hold them).

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