Sir William Hamilton, 9th Baronet

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Sir William Hamilton.

Sir William Hamilton, 9th Baronet (8 March 1788 – 6 May 1856) was a Scottish metaphysician.


  • Analysis and synthesis, though commonly treated as two different methods, are, if properly understood, only the two necessary parts of the same method. Each is the relative and correlative of the other. Analysis, without a subsequent synthesis, is incomplete ; it is a mean cut of from its end. Synthesis, without a previous analysis, is baseless ; for synthesis receives from analysis the elements which it recomposes.
    • Sir W. Hamilton, Metaphysics, p. 69, ed. 1871, Boston; Partly reported in Austin Allibone ed. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. (1903), p. 34
  • Be sober, and to doubt prepense,
    These are the sinews of good sense.
    • Sir William Hamilton, Notes on Reid, from the Fragments of Epicharmus, 255.
  • The primary principle of education is the determination of the pupil to self-activity — the doing nothing for him which he is able to do for himself.
    • Sir William Hamilton, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895). p. 573.
  • Truth like a torch, the more 'tis shook, it shines.
    • Sir William Hamilton, Discussions on Philosophy, Title Page, reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 818-22.

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