Whose Quote Is This? 'A Man Who Does Not Think For Himself Does Not Think At All'


3 Answers

Lucy Burroughs Profile
Lucy Burroughs answered
The quote "A man who does not think for himself does not think at all" is one of thousands of quotes attributed to Oscar Wilde.

It can be found in the 1891 essay The Soul of Man Under Socialism, in which Wilde presents an anarchist world-view and an argument against capitalism.

What Does The Quote Mean?

What Oscar Wilde is basically saying is that those who accept what they're told (by the government, or by their peers) without questioning it are not really thinking, and are instead just following blindly. He's encouraging people to think for themselves and form their own beliefs and individual thoughts.

About Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde was an Irish playwright, author and poet born in 1840. After his imprisonment for homosexual acts at a time when homosexuality was illegal, Wilde was exiled to France, where he died in poverty. His most notable works include:
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)
  • De Profundis (1897)
  • The Happy Prince and Other Stories (1888)
  • The Importance of Being Earnest (performed 1895, published 1898)
Mary Frederick Profile
Mary Frederick answered
"If a man does not think for himself, he does not think," is by Oscar Wilde. He was born in Dublin in 1820, and given the name Oscar Fingal O'Flarherie Wills Wilde.

Wilde was a poet, journalist and author of The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Happy Prince and Other Tales and other books. He wrote the play, The Importance of Being Earnest among others. De Profundis (a dramatic monologue) is his own autobiography.

Oscar Wilde was well known for such quotable quotes, as the one above. However, some say he was also the greatest plagiarist of all time. I do not know of anyone who has ever succeeded in proving that this particular quote is one he stole from another person, but I believe it to be his own, because it is so similar to some of his other quotes.

In my own search through hundreds of quotes, available online, I could not find this quote among all those attributed to him. There are a number of websites filled with his quotes, and stories of some of his strange behaviors. Some call him a genius and others call him by various other names. Yet, he became famous in his time and his quotes continue to be found, in the writings of many other people.
Will Martin Profile
Will Martin answered
This line is from Oscar Wilde from his late essay, "The Soul of Man Under Socialism." It goes on to add that it isn't fair to expect people to think the same way as we do. If you want the exact words, you can click on this link to oscar wilde where his topics are listed in alphabetical order. If you go down to "THOUGHT" you will find the full quotation there.

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