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How Do We Tell Truths that Might Hurt?

  • Edsger W. Dijkstra
Part of the Texts and Monographs in Computer Science book series (MCS)

Abstract

Sometimes we discover unpleasant truths. Whenever we do so, we are in difficulties: suppressing them is scientifically dishonest, so we must tell them, but telling them, however, will fire back on us. If the truths are sufficiently unpalatable, our audience is psychically incapable of accepting them and we will be written off as totally unrealistic, hopelessly idealistic, dangerously revolutionary, foolishly gullible or what have you. (Besides that, telling such truths is a sure way of making oneself unpopular in many circles, and, as such, it is an act that, in general, is not without personal risks. Vide Galileo Galilei….)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edsger W. Dijkstra

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