"two reasons for doing anything"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Feb 11 01:27:27 UTC 2014

On Feb 10, 2014, at 8:23 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:

> I don't see this in the archives, though I've been thinking about it for a
> long time.
> Many years ago I was told that Sigmund Freud had once said, "There are
> always two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason."
> Sounds like Freud in principle, but not in style.
> Google Books wants to attribute it to J. P. Morgan, but Morgan died in 1913
> and the "reported" quote doesn't show up till 1940.
> A few minutes ago I was watching a short film on TCM called "Teddy the
> Rough Rider" (1947). It shows Theodore Roosevelt insisting, "A man always
> has two reasons for whatever he does: a good one and the real one."
> This attribution is presumably bogus as well, but evidently the quote
> gained traction in the 1940s.
Or three reasons for doing anything--the right reason, the wrong reason, and the Army reason?


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