Immanuel Kant developed the philosophical doctrine of transcendental idealism and Gary Gygax invented “Dungeons and Dragons,” a game where you pretend to be an elven wizard.

But while these two writers seem to come from disparate worlds, they have a lot in common. Everyone talks about Kant and Gygax without bothering to read them and their writing styles are very similar.

Can you guess which nerd wrote which quote?

  1. “Wisdom is a composite term for the character’s enlightenment, judgement, wile, willpower, and (to a certain extent) intuitiveness.”
  2. “The sum of human knowledge will be so great and so diverse as to make it totally impossible for any one sage to know more than a smattering about many things, a fair understanding of their overall field, and a thorough knowledge of their particular specialty or specialties.”
  3. “This view of the cosmos holds that absolute freedom is necessary. Whether the individual exercising such freedom chooses to do good or evil is of no concern. After all, life itself is law and order, so death is a desirable end. Therefore, life can only be justified as a tool by which order is combatted, and in the end it too will pass into entropy.”
  4. “When I finish reading a book with metaphysical content—one that has entertained and enriched me by its precision of thought, variety, orderliness, and easy style—I can’t help asking: Has this author really advanced metaphysics a single step?”
  5. “Of course as children, we all, in all cultures and societies, learn behavior from observation, imitation, and encouragement of various kinds. So by the suggestion made, we all ‘pretend' most of the time.”
  6. “Genius is the ability to independently arrive at and understand concepts that would normally have to be taught by another person.”
  7. “[Standing armies] constantly threaten other nations with war by giving the appearance that they are prepared for it, which goads nations into competing with one another in the number of men under arms, and this practice knows no bounds.”
  8. “It is the Land of Truth (enchanted name!), surrounded by a wide and stormy ocean, the true home of illusion, where many a fog bank and ice, that soon melts away, tempt us to believe in new lands, while constantly deceiving the adventurous mariner with vain hopes, and involving him in adventures which he can never leave, yet never bring to an end.”
  9. “I must have experience if I am to have the concepts of gold, of yellow, and of metal; but to know that gold is a yellow metal I need no further experience; all I need is to analyze my concept of gold, which contains the concept of being a yellow metal.”
  10. “There's a call to adventure. It's something in the inner psyche of humanity, particularly males.”
  11. “The difference between illusion and truth turns on how sensory representations are handled in the understanding, not on where they come from.”
  12. “I prefer to give the ship a pilot who can safely sail it anywhere he likes, by means of secure principles of navigation drawn from a knowledge of the globe, and equipped with a complete chart and compass.”
  13. “War seems to be ingrained in human nature, and even to be regarded as something noble to which man is inspired by his love of honor, without selfish motives.”
  14. “Each creature is entitled to life, relative freedom, and the prospect of happiness. Cruelty and suffering are undesirable. Evil, on the other hand, does not concern itself with rights or happiness; purpose is the determinant.”
  15. “Without man and his potential for moral progress, the whole of reality would be a mere wilderness, a thing in vain, and have no final purpose.”
  16. “Whenever anything important or meaningful is discussed or in question, the afflicted cannot tell the truth, and not only will he or she lie, but do so with the utmost conviction, absolutely convinced that the prevarication is truth.”
  17. “The knowledge we need is important, and that’s a challenge to us; but we have had centuries of bad experience with things we thought we knew through ‘pure reason’ that turned out not to be knowledge at all, and that fact makes us suspicious.”
  18. “Always be wary and use your wits, look at all facets of the situation, and then use your best judgment accordingly.”
  19. “Certain freedoms must, of course, be sacrificed in order to bring order; but truth is of highest value, and life and beauty of great importance. The benefits of this society are to be brought to all.”
  20. “Delay in deciding what is to be done should be noted, as such hesitation will basically mean that the individual is not doing anything whatsoever during the period, but he or she is simply standing by and dithering, trying to arrive at a decision as to what should be done.”

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