Ernest Gellner quotes

  • In brief, nationalism is a theory of political legitimacy, which requires the ethnic boundaries should not be cut across political ones, and, in particular, that ethnic boundaries within a given state a contingency already formally excluded by the principle in its general formulation should not separate the power holders from the rest.
    -- Ernest Gellner

    #Cutting #Political #Principles

  • It is nationalism which engenders nations, and not the other way round.
    -- Ernest Gellner

    #Way #Nationalism

  • Capital, like capitalism, seems an overrated category.
    -- Ernest Gellner

    #Categories #Overrated #Capitalism

  • Tribalism never prospers, for when it does, everyone will respect it as a true nationalism, and no-one will dare call it tribalism.
    -- Ernest Gellner

    #Doe #Tribalism #Dare

  • Philosophy is explicitness, generality, orientation and assessment. That which one would insinuate, thereof one must speak.
    -- Ernest Gellner

    #Philosophy #Assessment #Speak

  • [I am a humble adherent of]...Enlightenment Rationalist Fundamentalism.
    -- Ernest Gellner

    #Humble #Enlightenment

  • The way forward does not lie in amateur and comically timeless linguistic sociology which takes 'forms of life ' for granted (and this is what philosophy has been recently), but in the systematic study of forms of life which does not take them for granted at all. It hardly matters whether such an inquiry is called philosophy or sociology.
    -- Ernest Gellner

    #Philosophy #Lying #Doe

  • Nationalism is not the awakening of nations to self-consciousness; it invents nations where they do not exist...
    -- Ernest Gellner

    #Self #Awakening #Consciousness

  • America was born modern; it did not have to achieve modernity, nor did it have modernity thrust upon it.
    -- Ernest Gellner

    #America #Modern #Achieve

  • Civil Society is a cluster of institutions and associations strong enough to prevent tyranny, but which are, none the less, entered and left freely, rather than imposed by birth or sustained by awesome ritual. You can join the Labour Party without slaughtering a sheep...
    -- Ernest Gellner

    #Strong #Party #Sheep

  • Nowledge which... transcends the bounds, the prejudices and prejudgements of any one society and culture is not an illusion but, on the contrary, a glorious and luminous reality. Just how it was achieved remains subject to debate.
    -- Ernest Gellner

    #Reality #Prejudice #Culture

  • Just as every girl should have a husband, preferably her own, so every culture must have its state, preferably its own.
    -- Ernest Gellner

    #Girl #Husband #Culture

  • People are even more reluctant to admit that man explains nothing, than they were to admit that God explains nothing.
    -- Ernest Gellner

    #Men #People

  • The production of obscurity in Paris compares to the production of motor cars in Detroit in the great period of American industry.
    -- Ernest Gellner

    #Paris #Car #Obscurity

  • Ideas, and even the detection of errors, require more than care and caution.
    -- Ernest Gellner

    #Errors #Ideas #Care

  • A cleric who loses his faith abandons his calling; a philosopher who loses his redefines his subject.
    -- Ernest Gellner

    #Calling #Philosopher #Abandon

  • I am deeply sensitive to the spell of nationalism. I can play about thirty Bohemian folk songs ... on my mouth-organ. My oldest friend, who is Czech and a patriot, cannot bear to hear me play them because he says I do it in such a schmalzy way, 'crying into the mouth organ'. I do not think I could have written the book on nationalism which I did write, were I not capable of crying, with the help of a little alcohol, over folk songs, which happen to be my favourite form of music.
    -- Ernest Gellner

    #Song #Book #Writing

  • Obstruction of mobility, where it occurs, is one of the most serious and intractable problems of industrial society.
    -- Ernest Gellner

    #Mobility #Serious #Problem