measure of random errors in a system: the variation among measurements of the same value
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Precision is exactness and specificity of expression.


  • It is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject admits.
    • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 1, Chapter 3
  • Without minute neatness of execution the sublime cannot exist. Grandeur of ideas is precision of ideas. Singular and particular detail is the foundation of the sublime.
  • The making of things to a high measure of accuracy is not just a test of workmanship. It is a fundamental to service production. In such production there can be no fitting of parts in assemblies or in repairs. Every crankshaft must be exactly like any other crankshaft. Of course no two parts are ever absolutely alike, except by accident, for it does not pay to try for accuracy beyond a certain point. But any kind of a machine which has moving parts must be accurately made or there will be an amount of vibration through play that will shorten the life of the machine and also decrease its running efficiency.
    • Henry Ford in Moving Forward, Chapter XIV: A Millionth of an Inch, p. 203, 1931
  • The cost of perfection is infinite in terms of time and in terms of resources. So you're always going to have to make some judgment call about how reliable is a source, or, um, how many experts do you want to contact before you're ok with this.
  • There is nothing more deplorable than those skeptics and reformers, liberal priests and humanistically-oriented scholars, who moan about “soullessness,” “barren materialism,” what is “unsatisfying in mere science,” and the “cold play of atoms,” and renounce intellectual precision, which is for them only a slight temptation. Then, with the help of some alleged “emotional knowledge” to satisfy the feelings, and with the “necessary” harmony and rounding-out of the world picture, all they invent is some universal spirit: a world-soul, or a God, who is nothing more than the world of the academic petite bourgeoisie which gives rise to him; at best, an oversoul who reads the newspaper and demonstrates a certain appreciation of social questions.
    • Robert Musil, “The Religious Spirit, Modernism, and Metaphysics” (1913), B. Pike and D. Luft, trans., Precision and Soul (1978), p. 23
  • You must either make a tool of the creature, or a man of him. You cannot make both. Men were not intended to work with the accuracy of tools, to be precise and perfect in all their actions. If you will have that precision out of them, and make their fingers measure degrees like cog-wheels, and their arms strike curves like compasses, you must unhumanize them.
    • John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice (1853), Volume II, chapter VI, section 12

See also