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Aristotle
(384 B.C. - c. 322 B.C.)

Greek philosopher who presented his thoughts on weather in a book, Meteorologica, which while often wrong, did establish meteorolgy as a distinct discipline for study.

Science Quotes by Aristotle (58 quotes)

Photo of bust of Aristotle
Bust of Aristotle at the Palazzo Altemps, Rome. It is a copy made from the sculpture by Lysippus. Roman copy in marble after a Greek bronze original (330 BC). Alabaster mantle is a modern addition.
ή γὰρ νοῡ ἐνέρεια ζωή
The energy or active exercise of the mind constitutes life.
— Aristotle
From The Metaphysic, book Λ, 1072b, [25], as literally translated from the Greek by Rev. John H. M'Mahon in The Metaphysics of Aristotle (1857), 332. Also widely seen quoted as “The energy of the mind is the essence of life,” without citation, for example in Eve Herold, George Daley, Stem Cell Wars (2007), 119. Note that in the initial meaning, energeia (energy) for Aristotle is the act or the realization of something.
Science quotes on:  |  Energy (103)  |  Essence (19)  |  Life (460)  |  Mind (272)

Medicus curat, Natura sanat morbus.
The physician heals, Nature makes well.
— Aristotle
In Jehiel Keeler Hoyt and Kate Louise Roberts Hoyt's New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (1922), 502:1. (It is attributed therein to Aristotle as 'Idea in Nicomachean Ethics, Bk. VII. 15. 7. Oxford text.' However, a search by this webmaster found the specified reference did not match the quote.)
Science quotes on:  |  Nature (534)  |  Physician (172)

A likely impossibility is always preferable to an unconvincing possibility.
— Aristotle
Poetics, 1460a, 26-7. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. 2, 2337.
Science quotes on:  |  Impossibility (32)

A line is not made up of points. … In the same way, time is not made up parts considered as indivisible 'nows.'
Part of Aristotle's reply to Zeno's paradox concerning continuity.
— Aristotle
A succinct summary, not a direct quotation of Aristotle's words. From Aristotle's Physics, Book VI. Sections 1 and 9 as given by Florian Cajori in part 2 of an article 'The History of Zeno's Arguments on Motion', in The American Mathematical Monthly (Feb 1915), 22:2, 41.
Science quotes on:  |  Indivisible (5)  |  Line (18)  |  Now (4)  |  Paradox (22)  |  Part (55)  |  Point (29)  |  Time (170)  |  Zeno (5)

All men by nature desire to know.
— Aristotle
Metaphysics, 980a, 21. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. 2, 1552.
Science quotes on:  |  Knowledge (679)

Among natural bodies some have, and some have not, life; and by life we mean the faculties of self-nourishment, self-growth and self-decay. Thus every natural body partaking of life may be regarded as an essential existence; ... but then it is an existence only in combination. ... And since the organism is such a combination, being possessed of life, it cannot be the Vital Principle. Therefore it follows that the Vital Principle most be an essence, as being the form of a natural body, holding life in potentiality; but essence is a reality (entetechie). The Vital Principle is the original reality of a natural body endowed with potential life ; this, however, is to be understood only of a body which may be organized. Thus the parts even of plants are organs, but they are organs that are altogether simple; as the leaf which is the covering of the pericarp, the pericarp of the fruit. If, then, there be any general formula for every kind of Vital Principle, it is—tthe primary reality of an organism.
— Aristotle
In George Henry Lewes, Aristotle (1864), 231.
Science quotes on:  |  Body (88)  |  Life (460)  |  Organ (40)  |  Organism (70)  |  Plant (96)

Anaximenes and Anaxagoras and Democritus say that its [the earth’s] flatness is responsible for it staying still: for it does not cut the air beneath but covers it like a lid, which flat bodies evidently do: for they are hard to move even for the winds, on account of their resistance.
— Aristotle
Aristotle, On the Heavens, 294b, 13. In G. S. Kirk, J. E. Raven and M.Schofield (eds), The Presocratic Philosophers: A Critical History with a Selection of Texts (1983), p. 153.
Science quotes on:  |  Anaxagoras (10)  |  Anaximenes (5)  |  Democritus of Abdera (12)  |  Earth (250)

As to the position of the earth, then, this is the view which some advance, and the views advanced concerning its rest or motion are similar. For here too there is no general agreement. All who deny that the earth lies at the centre think that it revolves about the centre, and not the earth only but, as we said before, the counter-earth as well. Some of them even consider it possible that there are several bodies so moving, which are invisible to us owing to the interposition of the earth. This, they say, accounts for the fact that eclipses of the moon are more frequent than eclipses of the sun; for in addition to the earth each of these moving bodies can obstruct it.
— Aristotle
On the Heavens, 293b, 15-25. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. 1, 483.
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At first he who invented any art that went beyond the common perceptions of man was naturally admired by men, not only because there was something useful in the inventions, but because he was thought wise and superior to the rest. But as more arts were invented, and some were directed to the necessities of life, others to its recreation, the inventors of the latter were always regarded as wiser than the inventors of the former, because their branches of knowledge did not aim at utility.
— Aristotle
Metaphysics, 981b, 13-20. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. 2, 1553.
Science quotes on:  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Recreation (6)

At present we must confine ourselves to saying that soul is the source of these phenomena and is characterized by them, viz. by the powers of self-nutrition, sensation, thinking, and movement.
— Aristotle
On the Soul, 413b, II-3. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. 1, 658.
Science quotes on:  |  Human Body (15)

But nature flies from the infinite; for the infinite is imperfect, and nature always seeks an end.
— Aristotle
Generation of Animals, 715b, 114-6. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. I, 1112.
Science quotes on:  |  Nature (534)

But the whole vital process of the earth takes place so gradually and in periods of time which are so immense compared with the length of our life, that these changes are not observed, and before their course can be recorded from beginning to end whole nations perish and are destroyed.
— Aristotle
Meteorology, 351b, 8-13. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. I, 573.
Science quotes on:  |  Earth (250)

Conscientious and careful physicians allocate causes of disease to natural laws, while the ablest scientists go back to medicine for their first principles.
— Aristotle
Attributed.
Science quotes on:  |  Disease (170)  |  Law (273)  |  Medicine (185)  |  Physician (172)  |  Scientist (237)

Everything that depends on the action of nature is by nature as good as it can be.
— Aristotle
Nicomachean Ethics, 1099b, 21-22. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. 2, 1738.
Science quotes on:  |  Nature (534)

For any two portions of fire, small or great, will exhibit the same ratio of solid to void; but the upward movement of the greater is quicker than that of the less, just as the downward movement of a mass of gold or lead, or of any other body endowed with weight, is quicker in proportion to its size.
— Aristotle
On the Heavens, 309b, 11-5. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. I, 505.
Science quotes on:  |  Matter (135)  |  Weight (41)

For even they who compose treatises of medicine or natural philosophy in verse are denominated Poets: yet Homer and Empedocles have nothing in common except their metre; the former, therefore, justly merits the name of the Poet; while the other should rather be called a Physiologist than a Poet.
— Aristotle
Aristotle's Treatise on Poetry, I:2, trans. Thomas Twining (1957), 103
Science quotes on:  |  Empedocles (6)  |  Medicine (185)

For it is owing to their wonder that men now both begin and at first began to philosophize; they wondered originally at the obvious difficulties, then advanced little by little and stated difficulties about the greater matters, e.g. about the phenomena of the moon and those of the sun and the stars, and about the genesis of the universe. And a man who is puzzled and wonders thinks himself ignorant (whence even the lover of myth is in a sense a lover of wisdom, for myth is composed of wonders); therefore since they philosophized in order to escape from ignorance, evidently they were pursuing science in order to know, and not for any utilitarian end. And this is confirmed by the facts; for it was when almost all the necessities of life and the things that make for comfort and recreation were present, that such knowledge began to be sought. Evidently then we do not seek it for the sake of any advantage; but as the man is free, we say, who exists for himself and not for another, so we pursue this as the only free science, for it alone exists for itself.
— Aristotle
Metaphysics, 982b, 12-27. In Jonathan Baines (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. 2, 1554.
Science quotes on:  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Universe (291)

For nature by the same cause, provided it remain in the same condition, always produces the same effect, so that either coming-to-be or passing-away will always result.
— Aristotle
On Generation and Corruption, 336a, 27-9. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. I, 551.
Science quotes on:  |  Nature (534)

For the things we have to learn before we can do, we learn by doing.
— Aristotle
Nicomachean Ethics, II03a, 32-3. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. 2, 1743.
Science quotes on:  |  Education (177)

He who sees things grow from the beginning will have the best view of them.
— Aristotle
Quoted in J. Lima-de-Faria (ed.), Historical Atlas of Crystallography (1990), vi.
Science quotes on:  |  Growth (70)  |  Research (360)

He who thus considers things in their first growth and origin ... will obtain the clearest view of them.
— Aristotle
Politics, Benjamin Jowett trans., Franklin Center, PA, Franklin Library (1977), 4. In Leonard C. Bruno and Donna Olendorf, Science & Technology Firsts (1977), xi.
Science quotes on:  |  Clear (9)  |  Consider (12)  |  First (42)  |  Growth (70)  |  Obtain (14)  |  Origin (36)  |  View (48)

Here and elsewhere we shall not obtain the best insight into things until we actually see them growing from the beginning.
— Aristotle
In Politics as quoted in James R. Newman, The World of Mathematics (1957). Vol. 1, 170.
Science quotes on:  |  Beginning (71)  |  Growth (70)  |  Insight (28)

If any person thinks the examination of the rest of the animal kingdom an unworthy task, he must hold in like disesteem the study of man. For no one can look at the primordia of the human frame—blood, flesh, bones, vessels, and the like—without much repugnance. Moreover, in every inquiry, the examination of material elements and instruments is not to be regarded as final, but as ancillary to the conception of the total form. Thus, the true object of architecture is not bricks, mortar or timber, but the house; and so the principal object of natural philosophy is not the material elements, but their composition, and the totality of the form to which they are subservient, and independently of which they have no existence.
— Aristotle
On Parts of Animals, Book 1, Chap 5, 645a, 26-36. In W. Ogle (trans.), Aristotle on the Parts of Animals (1882), 17. Alternate translations: “primodia” = “elements”; “Moreover ... Thus” = “Moreover, when anyone of the parts or structures, be it which it may, is under discussion, it must not be supposed that it is its material composition to which attention is being directed or which is the object of the discussion, but rather the total form. Similarly”; “form ... subservient, and” = “totality of the substance.” See alternate translation in Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. 1, 1004.
Science quotes on:  |  Human Body (15)

If there is any kind of animal which is female and has no male separate from it, it is possible that this may generate a young one from itself. No instance of this worthy of any credit has been observed up to the present at any rate, but one case in the class of fishes makes us hesitate. No male of the so-called erythrinus has ever yet been seen, but females, and specimens full of roe, have been seen. Of this, however, we have as yet no proof worthy of credit.
— Aristotle
Generation of Animals, 741a, 32-8. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. I, 1150.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (143)  |  Reproduction (34)

In all things which have a plurality of parts, and which are not a total aggregate but a whole of some sort distinct from the parts, there is some cause.
[This is often seen misinterpreted as: "The whole is more than the sum of its parts," but this is not a verbal quote by Aristotle; it is not found as a sentence like that in any of Aristotle's writings.]
— Aristotle
Metaphysics, Book 8, 1045a, as translated by Hugh Tredennick. From a discussion refuting that "The whole is more than the sum of the parts" was written by Aristotle, in Shelia Guberman and Gianfranco Minati, Dialogue about Systems (2007), section C.4, 181. A alternate translation, by W.D. Ross, is on p.182.
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It is clear that the earth does not move, and that it does not lie elsewhere than at the center.
— Aristotle
On the Heavens (2004), 54.
Science quotes on:  |  Earth (250)  |  Orbit (36)

It is clear that there is some difference between ends: some ends are energeia [energy], while others are products which are additional to the energeia.
[The first description of the concept of energy.]
— Aristotle
In Cutler J. Cleveland and Christopher G. Morris, Dictionary of Energy (2009), 572, with this added: Energeia has traditionally been translated as “activity” or “actuality” some modern texts render it more literally as “in work&rqduo; or “being at work”.
Science quotes on:  |  Activity (48)  |  Additional (2)  |  Difference (135)  |  End (51)  |  Energy (103)  |  Nomenclature (102)  |  Product (33)  |  Work (198)

It is clear, then, that though there may be countless instances of the perishing of unmoved movers, and though many things that move themselves perish and are succeeded by others that come into being, and though one thing that is unmoved moves one thing while another moves another, nevertheless there is something that comprehends them all, and that as something apart from each one of them, and this it is that is the cause of the fact that some things are and others are not and of the continuous process of change; and this causes the motion of the other movers, while they are the causes of the motion of other things. Motion, then, being eternal, the first mover, if there is but one, will be eternal also; if there are more than one, there will be a plurality of such eternal movers.
— Aristotle
Physics, 258b, 32-259a, 8. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. 1, 432.
Science quotes on:  |  Motion (64)  |  Physics (156)

It is evidently equally foolish to accept probable reasoning from a mathematician and to demand from a rhetorician demonstrative proofs.
— Aristotle
Nicomachean Ethics, 1094b, 25-7. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. 2, 1730.
Science quotes on:  |  Logic (132)  |  Mathematician (110)

It is no part of a physician's business to use either persuasion or compulsion upon the patients.
— Aristotle
Politics, VII, ii.
Science quotes on:  |  Patient (54)  |  Physician (172)

It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth and wisdom.
— Aristotle
Attributed.
Science quotes on:  |  Health (93)  |  Wealth (29)  |  Wisdom (91)

Nature does nothing without a purpose. In children may be observed the traces and seeds of what will one day be settled psychological habits, though psychologically a child hardly differs for the time being from an animal.
— Aristotle
In D. W. Thompson (trans.), Historia Animalium, VIII, 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Child (90)  |  Nature (534)  |  Psychology (69)

Nature proceeds little by little from things lifeless to animal life in such a way that it is impossible to determine the exact line of demarcation, nor on which side thereof an intermediate form should lie. Thus, next after lifeless things comes the plant, and of plants one will differ from another as to its amount of apparent vitality; and, in a word, the whole genus of plants, whilst it is devoid of life as compared with an animal, is endowed with life as compared with other corporeal entities. Indeed, as we just remarked, there is observed in plants a continuous scale of ascent towards the animal. So, in the sea, there are certain objects concerning which one would be at a loss to determine whether they be animal or vegetable. For instance, certain of these objects are fairly rooted, and in several cases perish if detached.
— Aristotle
History of Animals, 588b, 4-14. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.) The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. 1, 922.
Science quotes on:  |  Evolution (342)  |  Life (460)

Now, the causes being four, it is the business of the student of nature to know about them all, and if he refers his problems back to all of them, he will assign the “why” in the way proper to his science—the matter, the form, the mover, that for the sake of which.
— Aristotle
Physics, 198a, 22-4. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. I, 338.
Science quotes on:  |  Physics (156)  |  Research (360)

Philosophy is the science which considers truth.
— Aristotle
In Tryon Edwards, A Dictionary of Thoughts (1908), 410.
Science quotes on:  |  Consider (12)  |  Philosophy (132)  |  Science (875)  |  Truth (450)

Plants, again, inasmuch as they are without locomotion, present no great variety in their heterogeneous pacts. For, when the functions are but few, few also are the organs required to effect them. ... Animals, however, that not only live but perceive, present a great multiformity of pacts, and this diversity is greater in some animals than in others, being most varied in those to whose share has fallen not mere life but life of high degree. Now such an animal is man.
— Aristotle
Parts of Animals, 655b, 37-656a, 7. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. I, 1021-2.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (143)

Rising before daylight is also to be commended; it is a healthy habit, and gives more time for the management of the household as well as for liberal studies.
— Aristotle
Economics, I.
Science quotes on:  |  Health (93)

Salt water when it turns into vapour becomes sweet, and the vapour does not form salt water when it condenses again. This I know by experiment. The same thing is true in every case of the kind: wine and all fluids that evaporate and condense back into a liquid state become water. They all are water modified by a certain admixture, the nature of which determines their flavour.
[Aristotle describing his distillation experiment.]
— Aristotle
Meteorology (350 B.C.), Book II, translated by E. W. Webster. Internet Classics Archive, (classics.mit.edu).
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Since we think we understand when we know the explanation, and there are four types of explanation (one, what it is to be a thing; one, that if certain things hold it is necessary that this does; another, what initiated the change; and fourth, the aim), all these are proved through the middle term.
— Aristotle
Posterior Analytics, 94a, 20-4. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. I, 155.
Science quotes on:  |  Explanation (88)

So it is clear, since there will be no end to time and the world is eternal, that neither the Tanais nor the Nile has always been flowing, but that the region whence they flow was once dry; for their action has an end, but time does not. And this will be equally true of all other rivers. But if rivers come into existence and perish and the same parts of the earth were not always moist, the sea must needs change correspondingly. And if the sea is always advancing in one place and receding in another it is clear that the same parts of the whole earth are not always either sea or land, but that all this changes in the course of time.
— Aristotle
Meteorology, 353a, 14-24. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. I, 575.
Science quotes on:  |  Earth (250)

Speeches are like babies-easy to conceive but hard to deliver.
— Aristotle
Attributed.
Science quotes on:  |  Speech (19)

The body is most fully developed from thirty to thirty-five years of age, the mind at about forty-nine.
— Aristotle
Rhetoric, II, xiv.
Science quotes on:  |  Body (88)  |  Mind (272)

The dolphin ... [in air] ... has a voice (and can therefore utter vocal or vowel sounds), for it is furnished with a lung and a windpipe; but its tongue is not loose, nor has it lips, so as to give utterance to an articulate sound (or a sound of vowel and consonant in combination.)
Other translations vary. Sometimes seen quoted more briefly as: The voice of the dolphin in air is like that of the human in that they can pronounce vowels and combinations of vowels, but have difficulties with the consonants.
— Aristotle
Historia Animalium (c.350 BC) as translated by D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson, The History of Animals (1910, reprint, 2004), Book IV, 110; also online etext. Brief form as quoted in Communication Between Man and Dolphin (1987), 11. By John Cunningham Lilly
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The fire at Lipara, Xenophanes says, ceased once for sixteen years, and came back in the seventeenth. And he says that the lavastream from Aetna is neither of the nature of fire, nor is it continuous, but it appears at intervals of many years.
— Aristotle
De mirac. oscult. 38; 833 a 16. Quoted in Arthur Fairbanks (ed. And trans.), The First Philosophers of Greece (1898), 79.
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The investigation of the truth is in one way hard, in another easy. An indication of this is found in the fact that no one is able to attain the truth adequately, while, on the other hand, no one fails entirely, but every one says something true about the nature of things, and while individually they contribute little or nothing to the truth, by the union of all a considerable amount is amassed. Therefore, since the truth seems to be like the proverbial door, which no one can fail to hit, in this way it is easy, but the fact that we can have a whole truth and not the particular part we aim at shows the difficulty of it. Perhaps, as difficulties are of two kinds, the cause of the present difficulty is not in the facts but in us.
— Aristotle
Metaphysics, 993a, 30-993b, 9. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. 2, 1569-70.
Science quotes on:  |  Truth (450)

The physician himself, if sick, actually calls in another physician, knowing that he cannot reason correctly if required to judge his own condition while suffering.
— Aristotle
De Republica, iii.16.
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The same ideas, one must believe, recur in men’s minds not once or twice but again and again.
— Aristotle
On the Heavens, 270b, 19-20. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. I, 451.
Science quotes on:  |  Idea (226)

The same thing may have all the kinds of causes, e.g. the moving cause of a house is the art or the builder, the final cause is the function it fulfils, the matter is earth and stones, and the form is the definitory formula.
— Aristotle
Metaphysics, 996b, 5-8. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. 2, 1574.
Science quotes on:  |  Cause (122)

The saying of Protagoras is like the views we have mentioned; he said that man is the measure of all things, meaning simply that that which seems to each man assuredly is. If this is so, it follows that the same thing both is and is not, and is bad and good, and that the contents of all other opposite statements are true, because often a particular thing appears beautiful to some and ugly to others, and that which appears to each man is the measure
— Aristotle
Metaphysics, 1062b, 12- I 9. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. 2, 1678.
Science quotes on:  |  Man (258)

The sun, moving as it does, sets up processes of change and becoming and decay, and by its agency the finest and sweetest water is every day carried up and is dissolved into vapour and rises to the upper region, where it is condensed again by the cold and so returns to the earth. This, as we have said before, is the regular course of nature.
— Aristotle
Meteorology (350 B.C.), Book II, translated by E. W. Webster. Internet Classics Archive, (classics.mit.edu).
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There is a science which investigates being as being and the attributes which belong to this in virtue of its own nature. Now this is not the same as any of the so-called special sciences; for none of these treats universally of being as being. They cut off a part of being and investigate the attribute of this part; this is what the mathematical sciences for instance do. Now since we are seeking the first principles and the highest causes, clearly there must be some thing to which these belong in virtue of its own nature. If then those who sought the elements of existing things were seeking these same principles, it is necessary that the elements must be elements of being not by accident but just because it is being. Therefore it is of being as being that we also must grasp the first causes.
— Aristotle
'Book Gamma (1003a17-1011b23' in Metaphysics, trans. W.D. Ross (1924). Excerpt 'Being Qua Being', in Joseph Margolis and Jacques Catudal, The Quarrel between Invariance and Flux (2001), 18-19.
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There is more evidence to prove that saltiness [of the sea] is due to the admixture of some substance ... It is this stuff which makes salt water heavy (it weighs more than fresh water) and thick. The difference in consistency is such that ships with the same cargo very nearly sink in a river when they are quite fit to navigate in the sea. This circumstance has before now caused loss to shippers freighting their ships in a river. That the thicker consistency is due to an admixture of something is proved by the fact that if you make strong brine by the admixture of salt, eggs, even when they are full, float in it. It almost becomes like mud; such a quantity of earthy matter is there in the sea.
[Aristotle recognised the different density of fresh (river) or salty (sea) water. He describes an experiment using an egg (which sinks in fresh water) that floats in a strong brine solution.]
— Aristotle
Meteorology (350 B.C.), Book II, translated by E. W. Webster. Internet Classics Archive, (classics.mit.edu).
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There is more evidence to prove that saltness [of the sea] is due to the admixture of some substance, besides that which we have adduced. Make a vessel of wax and put it in the sea, fastening its mouth in such a way as to prevent any water getting in. Then the water that percolates through the wax sides of the vessel is sweet, the earthy stuff, the admixture of which makes the water salt, being separated off as it were by a filter.
[This is an example of Aristotle giving proof by experiment, in this case, of desalination by osmosis.]
— Aristotle
Meteorology (350 B.C.), Book II, translated by E. W. Webster. Internet Classics Archive, (classics.mit.edu).
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We do not know a truth without knowing its cause.
— Aristotle
Nicomachean Ethics, bk. 1, ch. 1.
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We maintain that there are two exhalations, one vaporous the other smoky, and these correspond to two kinds of bodies that originate in the earth, things quarried and things mined. The heat of the dry exhalation is the cause of all things quarried. Such are the kinds of stones that cannot be melted, and realgar, and ochre, and ruddle, and sulphur, and the other things of that kind, most things quarried being either coloured lye or, like cinnabar, a stone compounded of it. The vaporous exhalation is the cause of all things mined—things which are either fusible or malleable such as iron, copper, gold.
— Aristotle
Meteorology, 378a, 19-28. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. I, 607.
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We, on the other hand, must take for granted that the things that exist by nature are, either all or some of them, in motion.
— Aristotle
Physics, 185a, 12-3. In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle (1984), Vol. I, 316.
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While it is true that the suicide braves death, he does it not for some noble object but to escape some ill.
— Aristotle
Nicomachean Ethics, 3.
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…we are all inclined to ... direct our inquiry not by the matter itself, but by the views of our opponents; and, even when interrogating oneself, one pushes the inquiry only to the point at which one can no longer offer any opposition. Hence a good inquirer will be one who is ready in bringing forward the objections proper to the genus, and that he will be when he has gained an understanding of the differences.
— Aristotle
'On the Heavens', The Works of Aristotle editted by William David Ross and John Alexander Smith (1930), Vol. 2, 15.
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Quotes by others about Aristotle (43)

Neither is there a smallest part of what is small, but there is always a smaller (for it is impossible that what is should cease to be). Likewise there is always something larger than what is large.
Simplicius, Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics, 164, 17-9. In G. S. Kirk, J. E. Raven and M. Schofield (eds.), The Presocratic Philosophers: A Critical History with a Selection of Texts (1983), p. 360.
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All other things have a portion of everything, but Mind is infinite and self-ruled, and is mixed with nothing but is all alone by itself.
Simplicius, Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics, 164, 24 - 5. In G. S. Kirk, J. E. Raven and M. Schofield (eds.), The Presocratic Philosophers: A Critical History with a Selection of Texts (1983), p. 363.
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And since the portions of the great and the small are equal in number, so too all things would be in everything. Nor is it possible that they should exist apart, but all things have a portion of everything.
Simplicius, Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics, 164, 26-8. In G. S. Kirk, J. E. Raven and M. Schofield (eds.), The Presocratic Philosophers: A Critical History with a Selection of Texts (1983) , p. 365-6.
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Albertus [Magnus] ... debased the doctrine of Aristotle with the itch of the chemists flowing with the bloody flux of quicksilver and the stench of sulphur.
De Orta et Causis Subterraneorum Lib. V (1546), 46, trans. John Howes.
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And when with excellent Microscopes I discern in otherwise invisible Objects the Inimitable Subtlety of Nature's Curious Workmanship; And when, in a word, by the help of Anatomicall Knives, and the light of Chymicall Furnaces, I study the Book of Nature, and consult the Glosses of Aristotle, Epicurus, Paracelsus, Harvey, Helmont, and other learn'd Expositors of that instructive Volumne; I find my self oftentimes reduc'd to exclaim with the Psalmist, How manifold are thy works, O Lord? In wisdom hast thou made them all.
Some Motives and Incentives to the Love of God (1659), 56-7.
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The so-called 'scientific revolution', popularly associated with the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but reaching back in an unmistakably continuous line to a period much earlier still. Since that revolution overturned the authority in science not only of the middle ages but of the ancient world—since it ended not only in the eclipse of scholastic philosophy but in the destruction of Aristotelian physics—it outshines everything since the rise of Christianity and reduces the Renaissance and Reformation to the rank of mere episodes, mere internal displacements, within the system of medieval Christendom ... It looms so large as the real origin of the modern world and of the modern mentality that our customary periodisation of European history has become an anachronism and an encumbrance.
The Origins of Modem Science (1949), viii.
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Aristotle... a mere bond-servant to his logic, thereby rendering it contentious and well nigh useless.
Rerum Novarum (1605)
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Il maestro di color che sanno.
The master of those who know.
Of Aristotle.
Divina Commedia 'Inferno' canto 4, l.80.

From the time of Aristotle it had been said that man is a social animal: that human beings naturally form communities. I couldn't accept it. The whole of history and pre-history is against it. The two dreadful world wars we have recently been through, and the gearing of our entire economy today for defensive war belie it. Man's loathsome cruelty to man is his most outstanding characteristic; it is explicable only in terms of his carnivorous and cannibalistic origin. Robert Hartmann pointed out that both rude and civilised peoples show unspeakable cruelty to one another. We call it inhuman cruelty; but these dreadful things are unhappily truly human, because there is nothing like them in the animal world. A lion or tiger kills to eat, but the indiscriminate slaughter and calculated cruelty of human beings is quite unexampled in nature, especially among the apes. They display no hostility to man or other animals unless attacked. Even then their first reaction is to run away.
Africa's Place In the Emergence of Civilisation (1959), 41.
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The longest tyranny that ever sway'd
Was that wherein our ancestors betray'd
Their free-born reason to the Stagirite [Aristotle],
And made his torch their universal light.
So truth, while only one suppli'd the state,
Grew scarce, and dear, and yet sophisticate.
'To my Honour'd Friend, Dr Charleton' (1663), lines 1-6, in James Kinsley (ed.), The Poems and Fables of John Dryden (1962), 32.
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Is it not evident, in these last hundred years (when the Study of Philosophy has been the business of all the Virtuosi in Christendome) that almost a new Nature has been revealed to us? that more errours of the School have been detected, more useful Experiments in Philosophy have been made, more Noble Secrets in Opticks, Medicine, Anatomy, Astronomy, discover'd, than in all those credulous and doting Ages from Aristotle to us? So true it is that nothing spreads more fast than Science, when rightly and generally cultivated.
Of Dramatic Poesie (1684 edition), lines 258-67, in James T. Boulton (ed.) (1964), 44
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But notwithstanding these Arguments are so convictive and demonstrative, its marvellous to see how some Popish Authors (Jesuites especially) strain their wits to defend their Pagan Master Aristotle his Principles. Bullialdus speaks of a Florentine Physitian, that all the Friends he had could ever perswade him once to view the Heavens through a Telescope, and he gave that reason for his refusal, because he was afraid that then his Eyes would make him stagger concerning the truth of Aristotle's Principles, which he was resolved he would not call into question. It were well, if these Men had as great veneration for the Scripture as they have, for Aristotles (if indeed they be his) absurd Books de cælo Sed de his satis.
(Indicating a belief that the Roman Catholic church impeded the development of modern science.)
Kometographia, Or a Discourse Concerning Comets (Boston 1684). Quoted in Michael Garibaldi Hall, The Last American Puritan: The Life of Increase Mather, 1639-1723 (1988), 167.
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Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives' mouths.
In The Impact of Science on Society (1951), 7.
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In Aristotle the mind, regarded as the principle of life, divides into nutrition, sensation, and faculty of thought, corresponding to the inner most important stages in the succession of vital phenomena.
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As to what Simplicius said last, that to contend whether the parts of the Sun, Moon, or other celestial body, separated from their whole, should naturally return to it, is a vanity, for that the case is impossible, it being clear by the demonstrations of Aristotle that the celestial bodies are impassible, impenetrable, unpartable, etc., I answer that none of the conditions whereby Aristotle distinguishes the celestial bodies from the elementary has any foundation other than what he deduces from the diversity of their natural motions; so that, if it is denied that the circular motion is peculiar to celestial bodies, and affirmed instead that it is agreeable to all naturally moveable bodies, one is led by necessary confidence to say either that the attributes of generated or ungenerated, alterable or unalterable, partable or unpartable, etc., equally and commonly apply to all bodies, as well to the celestial as to the elementary, or that Aristotle has badly and erroneously deduced those from the circular motion which he has assigned to celestial bodies.
Dialogue on the Great World Systems (1632). Revised and Annotated by Giorgio De Santillana (1953), 45.
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Nor need you doubt that Pythagoras, a long time before he found the demonstration for the Hecatomb, had been certain that the square of the side subtending the right angle in a rectangular triangle was equal to the square of the other two sides; the certainty of the conclusion helped not a little in the search for a demonstration. But whatever was the method of Aristotle, and whether his arguing a priori preceded sense a posteriori, or the contrary, it is sufficient that the same Aristotle (as has often been said) put sensible experiences before all discourses. As to the arguments a priori, their force has already been examined.
Dialogue on the Great World Systems (1632). Revised and Annotated by Giorgio De Santillana (1953), 60.
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[Simplicio] is much puzzled and perplexed. I think I hear him say, 'To whom then should we repair for the decision of our controversies if Aristotle were removed from the choir? What other author should we follow in the schools, academies, and studies? What philosopher has written all the divisions of Natural Philosophy, and so methodically, without omitting as much as a single conclusion? Shall we then overthrow the building under which so many voyagers find shelter? Shall we destroy that sanctuary, that Prytaneum, where so many students find commodious harbour; where without exposing himself to the injuries of the air, with only the turning over of a few leaves, one may learn all the secrets of Nature.'
Dialogue on the Great World Systems (1632). Revised and Annotated by Giorgio De Santillana (1953), 66.

Amicus Plato amicus Aristoteles magis amica verita.
Plato is my friend, Aristotle is my friend, but my greatest friend is truth.
Written in the margin of a notebook while a student at Cambridge. In Richard S. Westfall, Never at Rest (1980), 89.
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Aristotle discovered all the half-truths which were necessary to the creation of science.
From Dialogue XLII in Alfred North Whitehead and Lucien Price (ed.), Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead (1954, 1977), 344.
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Everyone admits that the male is the primary efficient cause in generation, as being that in whom the species or form resides, and they further assert that his genitures emitted in coitus causes the egg both to exist and to be fertile. But how the semen of the cock produces the chick from the egg, neither the philosophers nor the physicians of yesterday or today have satisfactorily explained, or solved the problem formulated by Aristotle.
Disputations Touching the Generation of Animals (1651), trans. Gweneth Whitteridge (1981), Chapter 47, 214.
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He [William Harvey] bid me to goe to the Fountain-head, and read Aristotle, Cicero, Avicenna, and did call the Neoteriques shitt-breeches.
Brief Lives (1680), edited by Oliver Lawson Dick (1949), 129.
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Slavery in America was perpetuated not merely by human badness but also by human blindness. ... Men convinced themselves that a system that was so economically profitable must be morally justifiable. ... Science was commandeered to prove the biological inferiority of the Negro. Even philosophical logic was manipulated [exemplified by] an Aristotlian syllogism:
All men are made in the image of God;
God, as everyone knows, is not a Negro;
Therefore, the Negro is not a man.
'Love in Action', Strength To Love (1963, 1981), 44.
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For between true Science, and erroneous Doctrines, Ignorance is in the middle. Naturall sense and imagination, are not subject to absurdity. Nature it selfe cannot erre: and as men abound in copiousnesses of language; so they become more wise, or more mad than ordinary. Nor is it possible without Letters for any man to become either excellently wise, or (unless his memory be hurt by disease, or ill constitution of organs) excellently foolish. For words are wise men's counters, they do but reckon by them; but they are the money of fools that value them by the authority of an Aristotle, a Cicero, or a Thomas, or any other Doctor whatsoever, if but a man.
Leviathan (1651), ed. C. B. Macpherson (1968), Part 1, Chapter 4, 106.
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The strangest thing of all is that our ulama these days have divided science into two parts. One they call Muslim science, and one European science. Because of this they forbid others to teach some of the useful sciences. They have not understood that science is that noble thing that has no connection with any nation, and is not distinguished by anything but itself. Rather, everything that is known is known by science, and every nation that becomes renowned becomes renowned through science. Men must be related to science, not science to men. How very strange it is that the Muslims study those sciences that are ascribed to Aristotle with the greatest delight, as if Aristotle were one of the pillars of the Muslims. However, if the discussion relates to Galileo, Newton, and Kepler, they consider them infidels. The father and mother of science is proof, and proof is neither Aristotle nor Galileo. The truth is where there is proof, and those who forbid science and knowledge in the belief that they are safeguarding the Islamic religion are really the enemies of that religion. Lecture on Teaching and Learning (1882).
In Nikki R. Keddie, An Islamic Response to Imperialism (1983), 107.
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It is possible that the deepest meaning and aim of Newtonianism, or rather, of the whole scientific revolution of the seventeenth century, of which Newton is the heir and the highest expression, is just to abolish the world of the 'more or less', the world of qualities and sense perception, the world of appreciation of our daily life, and to replace it by the (Archimedean) universe of precision, of exact measures, of strict determination ... This revolution [is] one of the deepest, if not the deepest, mutations and transformations accomplished—or suffered—by the human mind since the invention of the cosmos by the Greeks, two thousand years before.
'The Significance of the Newtonian Synthesis' (1950). In Newtonian Studies (1965), 4-5.
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But, indeed, the science of logic and the whole framework of philosophical thought men have kept since the days of Plato and Aristotle, has no more essential permanence as a final expression of the human mind, than the Scottish Longer Catechism.
A Modern Utopia (1904, 2006), 14.
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The Chameleon's face reminded Aristotle of a Baboon. Aristotle wasn't much of a looker himself.
How to Become Extinct‎ (1941), 120.

It is rigid dogma that destroys truth; and, please notice, my emphasis is not on the dogma, but on the rigidity. When men say of any question, “This is all there is to be known or said of the subject; investigation ends here,” that is death. It may be that the mischief comes not from the thinker but for the use made of his thinking by late-comers. Aristotle, for example, gave us out scientific technique ... yet his logical propositions, his instruction in sound reasoning which was bequeathed to Europe, are valid only within the limited framework of formal logic, and, as used in Europe, they stultified the minds of whole generations of mediaeval Schoolmen. Aristotle invented science, but destroyed philosophy.
Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead, as recorded by Lucien Price (1954, 2001), 165.
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Aristotle ... imputed this symphony of the heavens ... this music of the spheres to Pythagorus. ... But Pythagoras alone of mortals is said to have heard this harmony ... If our hearts were as pure, as chaste, as snowy as Pythagoras' was, our ears would resound and be filled with that supremely lovely music of the wheeling stars.
'On the Music of the Spheres'. Second Prolusion. In John Milton and Merritt Yerkes Hughes (ed.), Complete Poems and Major Prose (1957, 2003), 603-604.
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ZOOLOGY, n. The science and history of the animal kingdom, including its king, the House Fly (Musca maledicta.) The father of Zoology was Aristotle, as is universally conceded, but the name of its mother has not come down to us.
The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce (1911), Vol. 7, The Devil's Dictionary,  376.
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A men whose every word is nothing but the truth is not a human being but a god! Gods do not die, whereas Aristotle is lying in a grave now.
From the play Galileo Galilei (2001) .
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[Thomas Henry] Huxley, I believe, was the greatest Englishman of the Nineteenth Century—perhaps the greatest Englishman of all time. When one thinks of him, one thinks inevitably of such men as Goethe and Aristotle. For in him there was that rich, incomparable blend of intelligence and character, of colossal knowledge and high adventurousness, of instinctive honesty and indomitable courage which appears in mankind only once in a blue moon. There have been far greater scientists, even in England, but there has never been a scientist who was a greater man.
'Thomas Henry Huxley.' In the Baltimore Evening Sun (4 May 1925). Reprinted in A Second Mencken Chrestomathy: A New Selection from the Writings of America's Legendary Editor, Critic, and Wit (2006), 157.
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If the matter is one that can be settled by observation, make the observation yourself. Aristotle could have avoided the mistake of thinking that women have fewer teeth than men, by the simple device of asking Mrs. Aristotle to keep her mouth open while he counted.
In An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish (1943), 22.
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Aristoteles quidem ait: 'Omnes ingeniosos melancholicos esse.'
Aristotle says that all men of genius are melancholy.
In Hannis Taylor and Mary Lillie Taylor Hunt, Cicero: a Sketch of His Life and Works (2nd Ed., 1918), 597.
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...they have never affirm'd any thing, concerning the Cause, till the Trial was past: whereas, to do it before, is a most venomous thing in the making of Sciences; for whoever has fix'd on his Cause, before he experimented; can hardly avoid fitting his Experiment to his Observations, to his own Cause, which he had before imagin'd; rather than the Cause to the Truth of the Experiment itself.
Referring to experiments of the Aristotelian mode, whereby a preconceived truth would be illustrated merely to convince people of the validity of the original thought.
Thomas Sprat, Abraham Cowley, History of the Royal Society (1667, 1734), 108.
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Linnaeus and Cuvier have been my two gods, though in very different ways, but they were mere schoolboys to old Aristotle.
Letter to W. Ogle (22 Feb 1882). In Charles Darwin and Francis Darwin (ed.), The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin (1896), 427.
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Bernard: Oh, you're going to zap me with penicillin and pesticides. Spare me that and I'll spare you the bomb and aerosols. But don't confuse progress with perfectibility. A great poet is always timely. A great philosopher is an urgent need. There's no rush for Isaac Newton. We were quite happy with Aristotle's cosmos. Personally, I preferred it. Fifty-five crystal spheres geared to God's crankshaft is my idea of a satisfying universe. I can't think of anything more trivial than the speed of light. Quarks, quasars—big bangs, black holes—who [cares]? How did you people con us out of all that status? All that money? And why are you so pleased with yourselves?
Chloe: Are you against penicillin, Bernard?
Bernard: Don't feed the animals.
In the play, Acadia (1993), Act 2, Scene 5, 61.
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Bacon first taught the world the true method of the study of nature, and rescued science from that barbarism in which the followers of Aristotle, by a too servile imitation of their master.
A Course of Lectures on Natural Philosophy and the Mechanical Arts (1845), 5.
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I finally saw that the blood, forced by the action of the left ventricle into the arteries, was distributed to the body at large, and its several parts, in the same manner as it is sent through the lungs, impelled by the right ventricle into the pulmonary artery, and that it then passed through the veins and along the vena cava, and so round to the left ventricle in the manner already indicated. Which motion we may be allowed to call circular, in the same way as Aristotle says that the air and the rain emulate the circular motion of the superior bodies; for the moist earth, warmed by the sun, evaporates; the vapours drawn upwards are condensed, and descending in the form of rain, moisten the earth again; and by this arrangement are generations of living things produced.
From William Harvey and Robert Willis (trans.), The Works of William Harvey, M.D. (1847), 46.
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[Aristotle formal logic thus far (1787)] has not been able to advance a single step, and hence is to all appearances closed and completed.
In Preface to second edition (1787) of Critique Of Pure Reason (1781) as translated by Werner Pluhar (1996), 15. An earlier translation by N. Kemp-Smith (1933) is similar, but ends with “appearance a closed and completed body of doctrine.”
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There is a reference in Aristotle to a gnat produced by larvae engendered in the slime of vinegar. This must have been Drosophila.
A History of Genetics (1965). Epigraph cited in M. M. Green, James F. Crow (ed.) and William F. Dove (ed.), 'It Really Is Not a Fruit Fly', Genetics (Sep 2002), 162, 1. The article points out that Drosophila melanogaster now called the “fruit fly,” was historically known in general genetics texts as the “pomace fly” (e.g. Castle, 1911) or the “vinegar fly” (e.g. Morgan, Bridges and Sturtevant, 1925). The article footnotes the origin as a sentence in Aristotle’s History of Animals, book 5, section 19: “The conops comes from a grub engendered in the slime of vinegar.” Whereas that insect would seen to be the “vinegar fly,” from descriptions elsewhere in Aristotle's writing, he also used the word “conops” for an insect like a mosquito.
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Man is a rational animal—so at least I have been told. … Aristotle, so far as I know, was the first man to proclaim explicitly that man is a rational animal. His reason for this view was … that some people can do sums. … It is in virtue of the intellect that man is a rational animal. The intellect is shown in various ways, but most emphatically by mastery of arithmetic. The Greek system of numerals was very bad, so that the multiplication table was quite difficult, and complicated calculations could only be made by very clever people.
From An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish (1937, 1943), 5. Collected in The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell (2009), 45.
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Aristotle, in spite of his reputation, is full of absurdities. He says that children should be conceived in the Winter, when the wind is in the North, and that if people marry too young the children will be female. He tells us that the blood of females is blacker then that of males; that the pig is the only animal liable to measles; that an elephant suffering from insomnia should have its shoulders rubbed with salt, olive-oil, and warm water; that women have fewer teeth than men, and so on. Nevertheless, he is considered by the great majority of philosophers a paragon of wisdom.
From An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish (1937, 1943), 19. Collected in The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell (2009), 63.
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Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton