Doubt is the feeling of uncertainty about something, calling into question whether something is true or possible. Uncertainty is a feeling or status where something is not known, and can also signal a lack of conviction. Doubt and uncertainty usually carry a connotation of less intensity than skepticism.

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Only do what your heart tells you.

— Princess Diana

Skepticism is unbelief in cause and effect.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our distrust is very expensive.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don’t waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

To be hopeful means to be uncertain about the future, to be tender toward possibilities, to be dedicated to change all the way down to the bottom of your heart.

— Rebecca Solnit

Extreme orthodoxy betrays by its very frenzy that the poison of skepticism has entered the soul of the church; for men insist most vehemently upon their certainties when their hold upon them has been shaken. Frantic orthodoxy is a method for obscuring doubt.

— Reinhold Niebuhr

In order to seek truth, it is necessary once in the course of our life to doubt, as far as possible, of all things.

— René Descartes

If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.

— Rene Descartes

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.

— Richard Bach

I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong.

— Richard Feynman

If we will only allow that, as we progress, we remain unsure, we will leave opportunities for alternatives. We will not become enthusiastic for the fact, the knowledge, the absolute truth of the day, but remain always uncertain…. In order to make progress, one must leave the door to the unknown ajar.

— Richard Feynman

I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics. . . . Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possibly avoid it, “But how can it be like that?” Nobody knows how it can be like that.

— Richard Feynman

I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there.

— Richard Feynman

Fanaticism is overcompensation for doubt.

— Roberston Davies

Progress is born of doubt and inquiry. The Church never doubts, never inquires. To doubt is heresy, to inquire is to admit that you do not know — the Church does neither.

— Robert G. Ingersoll

I will not attack your doctrines nor your creeds if they accord liberty to me. If they hold thought to be dangerous — if they aver that doubt is a crime, then I attack them one and all, because they enslave the minds of men. I attack the monsters, the phantoms of imagination that have ruled the world. I attack slavery. I ask for room — room for the human mind.

— Robert G. Ingersoll

The relationship between commitment and doubt is by no means an antagonistic one. Commitment is healthiest when it is not without doubt but in spite of doubt.

— Rollo May

What I’m asking you to entertain is that there is nothing we need to believe on insufficient evidence in order to have deeply ethical and spiritual lives.

— Sam Harris

We are in a race between cooperation and catastrophe, and the threat is outrunning our response.

— Sam Nunn

Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.

— Samuel Butler

The opposite of faith is not doubt. It’s despair.

— Sharon Salzberg

So Einstein was wrong when he said, “God does not play dice.” Consideration of black holes suggests, not only that God does play dice, but that he sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can’t be seen.

— Stephen Hawking

The uncertainty principle signaled an end to Laplace’s dream of a theory of science, a model of the universe that would be completely deterministic: one certainly cannot predict future events exactly if one cannot even measure the present state of the universe precisely! We could still imagine that there is a set of laws that determine events completely for some supernatural being, who could observe the present state of the universe without disturbing it.

— Stephen Hawking

Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is a fundamental, inescapable property of the world.

— Stephen Hawking

If what we regard as real depends on our theory, how can we make reality the basis of our philosophy? … But we cannot distinguish what is real about the universe without a theory…it makes no sense to ask if it corresponds to reality, because we do not know what reality is independent of a theory.

— Stephen Hawking

Liminality refers to a quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs during transition. It is described as a time when a person or group of people is in between something that has ended and something else that is not yet ready to begin. Transition experiences follow a predictable pattern that involves separation, liminality, and reorientation.

— Susan Beaumont

The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.

— Theodore Rubin

Skepticism means, not intellectual doubt alone, but moral doubt.

— Thomas Carlyle

Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever or whatever abysses nature leads, or you will learn nothing.

— Thomas H. Huxley

The people cannot be all, and always well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive.

— Thomas Jefferson
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