Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it... That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index R > Category: Reasoning

Reasoning Quotes (56 quotes)

Longtemps les objets dont s'occupent les mathématiciens étaient our la pluspart mal définis; on croyait les connaître, parce qu'on se les représentatit avec le sens ou l'imagination; mais on n'en avait qu'une image grossière et non une idée précise sure laquelle le raisonment pût avoir prise.
For a long time the objects that mathematicians dealt with were mostly ill-defined; one believed one knew them, but one represented them with the senses and imagination; but one had but a rough picture and not a precise idea on which reasoning could take hold.
La valeur de la science. In Anton Bovier, Statistical Mechanics of Disordered Systems (2006), 97.
Science quotes on:  |  Mathematics (367)

Biot, who assisted Laplace in revising it [The Mécanique Céleste] for the press, says that Laplace himself was frequently unable to recover the details in the chain of reasoning, and if satisfied that the conclusions were correct, he was content to insert the constantly recurring formula, 'Il est àisé a voir' [it is easy to see].
History of Mathematics (3rd Ed., 1901), 427.
Science quotes on:  |  Anecdote (15)  |  Assist (3)  |  Biot_Jean (2)  |  Conclusion (74)  |  Content (17)  |  Correct (14)  |  Detail (33)  |  Easy (14)  |  Pierre-Simon Laplace (45)  |  Proof (136)  |  Revise (3)  |  Satisfy (5)

By no amount of reasoning can we altogether eliminate all contingency from our world. Moreover, pure speculation alone will not enable us to get a determinate picture of the existing world. We must eliminate some of the conflicting possibilities, and this can be brought about only by experiment and observation.
Reason and Nature: an Essay on the Meaning of Scientific Method? (2nd Ed., 1964), 82.
Science quotes on:  |  Conflict (27)  |  Contingency (2)  |  Eliminate (4)  |  Existence (150)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Observation (264)  |  Possibility (70)  |  Speculation (44)

By what process of reasoning should the State of Texas be more concerned in the conviction of the guilty than in the acquittal of the innocent? [Urging the use of scopolamine “truth serum” to determine innocence.]
From paper read at the Section on State Medicine and Public Hygiene of the State Medical Association of Texas at El Paso (11 May 1922), 'The Use Of Scopolamine In Criminology', published in Texas State Journal of Medicine (Sep 1922). Reprinted in The American Journal of Police Science (Jul-Aug 1931), 2, No. 4, 328.
Science quotes on:  |  Concern (30)  |  Conviction (26)  |  Innocence (5)  |  Innocent (2)  |  Scopolamine (3)  |  Texas (3)  |  Truth Serum (2)

Chemists have made of phlogiston a vague principle which is not at all rigorously defined, and which, in consequence, adapts itself to all explanations in which it is wished it shall enter; sometimes it is free fire, sometimes it is fire combined with the earthy element; sometimes it passes through the pores of vessels, sometimes they are impenetrable to it; it explains both the causticity and non-causticity, transparency and opacity, colours and absence of colours. It is a veritable Proteus which changes its form every instant. It is time to conduct chemistry to a more rigorous mode of reasoning ... to distinguish fact and observation from what is systematic and hypothetical.
'Réflexions sur le phlogistique', Mémoires de l'Académie des Sciences, 1783, 505-38. Reprinted in Oeuvres de Lavoisier (1864), Vol. 2, 640, trans. M. P. Crosland.
Science quotes on:  |  Chemistry (143)  |  Definition (86)  |  Element (68)  |  Explanation (88)  |  Fact (325)  |  Fire (59)  |  Hypothesis (150)  |  Observation (264)  |  Phlogiston (9)  |  Principle (97)  |  Systematic (7)

Copernicus, the most learned man whom we are able to name other than Atlas and Ptolemy, even though he taught in a most learned manner the demonstrations and causes of motion based on observation, nevertheless fled from the job of constructing tables, so that if anyone computes from his tables, the computation is not even in agreement with his observations on which the foundation of the work rests. Therefore first I have compared the observations of Copernicus with those of Ptolemy and others as to which are the most accurate, but besides the bare observations, I have taken from Copernicus nothing other than traces of demonstrations. As for the tables of mean motion, and of prosthaphaereses and all the rest, I have constructed these anew, following absolutely no other reasoning than that which I have judged to be of maximum harmony.
Dedication to the Duke of Prussia, Prutenicae Tabulae (1551), 1585 edition, as quoted in Owen Gingerich, The Eye of Heaven: Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler (1993), 227.
Science quotes on:  |  Agreement (18)  |  Atlas (2)  |  Cause (122)  |  Comparison (33)  |  Computation (7)  |  Construction (36)  |  Nicolaus Copernicus (30)  |  Demonstration (29)  |  Foundation (31)  |  Harmony (27)  |  Judgment (39)  |  Learning (130)  |  Maximum (5)  |  Motion (64)  |  Observation (264)  |  Ptolemy (10)  |  Table (8)  |  Trace (10)

Einstein, twenty-six years old, only three years away from crude privation, still a patent examiner, published in the Annalen der Physik in 1905 five papers on entirely different subjects. Three of them were among the greatest in the history of physics. One, very simple, gave the quantum explanation of the photoelectric effect—it was this work for which, sixteen years later, he was awarded the Nobel prize. Another dealt with the phenomenon of Brownian motion, the apparently erratic movement of tiny particles suspended in a liquid: Einstein showed that these movements satisfied a clear statistical law. This was like a conjuring trick, easy when explained: before it, decent scientists could still doubt the concrete existence of atoms and molecules: this paper was as near to a direct proof of their concreteness as a theoretician could give. The third paper was the special eory of relativity, which quietly amalgamated space, time, and matter into one fundamental unity. This last paper contains no references and quotes no authority. All of them are written in a style unlike any other theoretical physicist's. They contain very little mathematics. There is a good deal of verbal commentary. The conclusions, the bizarre conclusions, emerge as though with the greatest of ease: the reasoning is unbreakable. It looks as though he had reached the conclusions by pure thought, unaided, without listening to the opinions of others. To a surprisingly large extent, that is precisely what he had done.
Variety of Men (1966), 100-1.
Science quotes on:  |  Atom (164)  |  Authority (24)  |  Bizarre (2)  |  Brownian Motion (2)  |  Commentary (2)  |  Conclusion (74)  |  Difference (135)  |  Doubt (67)  |  Ease (20)  |  Albert Einstein (174)  |  Emergence (17)  |  Existence (150)  |  Explanation (88)  |  Fundamental (59)  |  Law (273)  |  Liquid (12)  |  Listening (5)  |  Mathematics (367)  |  Matter (135)  |  Molecule (82)  |  Motion (64)  |  Movement (31)  |  Nobel Prize (17)  |  Paper (25)  |  Particle (45)  |  Patent (19)  |  Phenomenon (114)  |  Privation (2)  |  Proof (136)  |  Publication (75)  |  Quantum (8)  |  Reference (6)  |  Space (68)  |  Statistics (82)  |  Subject (51)  |  Suspension (4)  |  Theoretician (5)  |  Thought (170)  |  Time (170)  |  Trick (11)  |  Unity (16)

Every philosophy is tinged with the colouring of some secret imaginative background, which never emerges explicitly into its train of reasoning.
In Science and the Modern World (1925), 7.
Science quotes on:  |  Background (13)  |  Colour (32)  |  Emerge (4)  |  Imaginative (2)  |  Never (19)  |  Philosophy (132)  |  Tinge (2)  |  Train (8)

Every work of science great enough to be well remembered for a few generations affords some exemplification of the defective state of the art of reasoning of the time when it was written; and each chief step in science has been a lesson in logic.
'The Fixation of Belief (1877). In Justus Buchler, The Philosophy of Pierce (1940), 6.
Science quotes on:  |  Affording (2)  |  Art (80)  |  Chief (9)  |  Defect (8)  |  Few (7)  |  Generation (56)  |  Greatness (24)  |  Lesson (14)  |  Logic (132)  |  Science (875)  |  State (43)  |  Step (26)  |  Time (170)  |  Work (198)  |  Writing (50)

Facts are certainly the solid and true foundation of all sectors of nature study ... Reasoning must never find itself contradicting definite facts; but reasoning must allow us to distinguish, among facts that have been reported, those that we can fully believe, those that are questionable, and those that are false. It will not allow us to lend faith to those that are directly contrary to others whose certainty is known to us; it will not allow us to accept as true those that fly in the face of unquestionable principles.
Memoires pour Servir a l'Histoire des Insectes (1736), Vol. 2, xxxiv. Quoted in Jacques Roger, The Life Sciences in Eighteenth-Century French Thought, ed. Keith R. Benson and trans. Robert Ellrich (1997), 165.
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (139)  |  Certainty (59)  |  Contradiction (22)  |  Distinguishing (8)  |  Face (23)  |  Fact (325)  |  Faith (73)  |  Falsity (9)  |  Fly (28)  |  Foundation (31)  |  Nature (534)  |  Principle (97)  |  Report (15)  |  Study (157)  |  Truth (450)  |  Unquestionable (4)

For these two years I have been gravitating towards your doctrines, and since the publication of your primula paper with accelerated velocity. By about this time next year I expect to have shot past you, and to find you pitching into me for being more Darwinian than yourself. However, you have set me going, and must just take the consequences, for I warn you I will stop at no point so long as clear reasoning will take me further.
Thomas Henry Huxley, Leonard Huxley, Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley (1901), 211.
Science quotes on:  |  Consequence (44)  |  Charles Darwin (216)  |  Doctrine (33)  |  Publication (75)  |  Stop (25)

I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I'll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.
In David S. Bradford, In the Beginning: Building the Temple of Zion? (2008).
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (139)  |  Confirmation (8)  |  Evidence (83)  |  Independent (16)  |  Measurement (112)  |  Observation (264)  |  Ridiculous (6)  |  Wild (12)

I have hardly known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning.
Plato
The Republic. In Anton Bovier, Statistical Mechanics of Disordered Systems (2006), 159.
Science quotes on:  |  Mathematician (110)

I presume that few who have paid any attention to the history of the Mathematical Analysis, will doubt that it has been developed in a certain order, or that that order has been, to a great extent, necessary—being determined, either by steps of logical deduction, or by the successive introduction of new ideas and conceptions, when the time for their evolution had arrived. And these are the causes that operate in perfect harmony. Each new scientific conception gives occasion to new applications of deductive reasoning; but those applications may be only possible through the methods and the processes which belong to an earlier stage.
Explaining his choice for the exposition in historical order of the topics in A Treatise on Differential Equations (1859), Preface, v-vi.
Science quotes on:  |  Analysis (82)  |  Application (72)  |  Cause (122)  |  Conception (29)  |  Deduction (39)  |  Development (122)  |  Earlier (8)  |  Evolution (342)  |  Harmony (27)  |  History (156)  |  Idea (226)  |  Introduction (15)  |  Logic (132)  |  Mathematics (367)  |  Necessity (78)  |  New (107)  |  Occasion (7)  |  Order (60)  |  Process (97)  |  Scientific (55)  |  Successive (5)

I was pretty good in science. But again, because of the small budget, in science class we couldn't do experiments in order to prove theories. We just believed everything. Actually I think that class was call Religion. Religion was always an easy class. All you had to do was suspend the logic and reasoning you were taught in all the other classes.
In autobiography, Brain Droppings (1998), 227.
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (139)  |  Biography (199)  |  Class (27)  |  Easiness (2)  |  Everything (38)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Good (81)  |  Logic (132)  |  Proof (136)  |  School (36)  |  Science (875)  |  Science And Religion (159)  |  Suspension (4)  |  Teaching (64)  |  Theory (353)

If scientific reasoning were limited to the logical processes of arithmetic, we should not get very far in our understanding of the physical world. One might as well attempt to grasp the game of poker entirely by the use of the mathematics of probability.
Endless Horizons (1946), 27.
Science quotes on:  |  Arithmetic (38)  |  Logic (132)  |  Mathematics (367)  |  Physical World (3)  |  Probability (56)  |  Understanding (231)

If this “critical openminded attitude” … is wanted, the question at once arises, Is it science that should be studied in order to achieve it? Why not study law? A judge has to do everything that a scientist is exhorted to do in the way of withholding judgment until all the facts are in, and then judging impartially on the merits of the case as well as he can. … Why not a course in Sherlock Holmes? The detectives, or at least the detective-story writers, join with the scientists in excoriating “dogmatic prejudice, lying, falsification of facts, and data, and willful fallacious reasoning.”
In Science is a Sacred Cow (1950), 191.
Science quotes on:  |  Case (16)  |  Course (25)  |  Criticism (34)  |  Data (59)  |  Dogmatism (5)  |  Fact (325)  |  Falsification (7)  |  Impartiality (2)  |  Judge (14)  |  Judgment (39)  |  Law (273)  |  Lie (23)  |  Merit (14)  |  Prejudice (31)  |  Study (157)  |  Writer (14)

In every enterprise ... the mind is always reasoning, and, even when we seem to act without a motive, an instinctive logic still directs the mind. Only we are not aware of it, because we begin by reasoning before we know or say that we are reasoning, just as we begin by speaking before we observe that we are speaking, and just as we begin by seeing and hearing before we know what we see or what we hear.
An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine (1865), trans. Henry Copley Green (1957), 158-9.
Science quotes on:  |  Logic (132)

In questions of science the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.
Attributed by F. Arago.
Science quotes on:  |  Question (159)

It has hitherto been a serious impediment to the progress of knowledge, that is in investigating the origin or causes of natural productions, recourse has generally been had to the examination, both by experiment and reasoning, of what might be rather than what is. The laws or processes of nature we have every reason to believe invariable. Their results from time to time vary, according to the combinations of influential circumstances; but the process remains the same. Like the poet or the painter, the chemist may, and no doubt often' does, create combinations which nature never produced; and the possibility of such and such processes giving rise to such and such results, is no proof whatever that they were ever in natural operation.
Considerations on Volcanoes (1825), 243.
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (139)  |  Cause (122)  |  Chemist (49)  |  Circumstance (25)  |  Combination (37)  |  Examination (47)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Impediment (3)  |  Influence (47)  |  Invariability (3)  |  Investigation (83)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Law (273)  |  Natural (48)  |  Nature (534)  |  Operation (53)  |  Origin (36)  |  Painter (3)  |  Poet (26)  |  Process (97)  |  Production (72)  |  Progress (200)  |  Proof (136)  |  Reason (173)  |  Recourse (3)  |  Result (129)  |  Variation (34)

It hath been an old remark, that Geometry is an excellent Logic. And it must be owned that when the definitions are clear; when the postulata cannot be refused, nor the axioms denied; when from the distinct contemplation and comparison of figures, their properties are derived, by a perpetual well-connected chain of consequences, the objects being still kept in view, and the attention ever fixed upon them; there is acquired a habit of reasoning, close and exact and methodical; which habit strengthens and sharpens the mind, and being transferred to other subjects is of general use in the inquiry after truth.
'The Analyst', in The Works of George Berkeley (1898), Vol. 3, 10.
Science quotes on:  |  Axiom (11)  |  Consequence (44)  |  Definition (86)  |  Deny (7)  |  Exact (16)  |  Excellent (5)  |  Geometry (68)  |  Habit (42)  |  Logic (132)  |  Mind (272)  |  Postulate (19)  |  Refuse (4)  |  Sharpen (5)  |  Strengthen (2)  |  Truth (450)  |  Value Of Mathematics (2)

It is not therefore the business of philosophy, in our present situation in the universe, to attempt to take in at once, in one view, the whole scheme of nature; but to extend, with great care and circumspection, our knowledge, by just steps, from sensible things, as far as our observations or reasonings from them will carry us, in our enquiries concerning either the greater motions and operations of nature, or her more subtile and hidden works. In this way Sir Isaac Newton proceeded in his discoveries.
An Account of Sir Isaac Newton's Philosophical Discoveries, in Four Books (1748), 19.
Science quotes on:  |  Attempt (41)  |  Business (27)  |  Care (37)  |  Circumspection (2)  |  Concern (30)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Enquiry (72)  |  Extend (6)  |  Hidden (15)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Motion (64)  |  Nature (534)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (176)  |  Observation (264)  |  Operation (53)  |  Philosophy (132)  |  Scheme (8)  |  Sensible (11)  |  Situation (21)  |  Step (26)  |  Subtle (6)  |  Universe (291)  |  View (48)

It often happens that men, even of the best understandings and greatest circumspection, are guilty of that fault in reasoning which the writers on logick call the insufficient, or imperfect enumeration of parts, or cases: insomuch that I will venture to assert, that this is the chief, and almost the only, source of the vast number of erroneous opinions, and those too very often in matters of great importance, which we are apt to form on all the subjects we reflect upon, whether they relate to the knowledge of nature, or the merits and motives of human actions. It must therefore be acknowledged, that the art which affords a cure to this weakness, or defect, of our understandings, and teaches us to enumerate all the possible ways in which a given number of things may be mixed and combined together, that we may be certain that we have not omitted anyone arrangement of them that can lead to the object of our inquiry, deserves to be considered as most eminently useful and worthy of our highest esteem and attention. And this is the business of the art, or doctrine of combinations ... It proceeds indeed upon mathematical principles in calculating the number of the combinations of the things proposed: but by the conclusions that are obtained by it, the sagacity of the natural philosopher, the exactness of the historian, the skill and judgement of the physician, and the prudence and foresight of the politician, may be assisted; because the business of all these important professions is but to form reasonable conjectures concerning the several objects which engage their attention, and all wise conjectures are the results of a just and careful examination of the several different effects that may possibly arise from the causes that are capable of producing them.
Ars conjectandi (1713). In F. Maseres, The Doctrine of Permutations and Combinations (1795), 36.
Science quotes on:  |  Error (152)  |  Mathematics (367)

It [analysis] lacks at this point such plan and unity that it is really amazing that it can be studied by so many people. The worst is that it has not at all been treated with rigor. There are only a few propositions in higher analysis that have been demonstrated with complete rigor. Everywhere one finds the unfortunate manner of reasoning from the particular to the general, and it is very unusual that with such a method one finds, in spite of everything, only a few of what many be called paradoxes. It is really very interesting to seek the reason.
In my opinion that arises from the fact that the functions with which analysis has until now been occupied can, for the most part, be expressed by means of powers. As soon as others appear, something that, it is true, does not often happen, this no longer works and from false conclusions there flow a mass of incorrect propositions.
From a letter to his professor Hansteen in Christiania, Oslo in Correspondence (1902), 23 . In Umberto Bottazzini and Warren Van Egmond, The Higher Calculus (1986), 87-88.
Science quotes on:  |  Analysis (82)  |  Conclusion (74)  |  False (29)  |  Function (41)  |  Paradox (22)  |  Plan (40)  |  Proposition (28)  |  Reason (173)  |  Rigour (Rigor) (2)

Like Molière’s M. Jourdain, who spoke prose all his life without knowing it, mathematicians have been reasoning for at least two millennia without being aware of all the principles underlying what they were doing. The real nature of the tools of their craft has become evident only within recent times A renaissance of logical studies in modern times begins with the publication in 1847 of George Boole’s The Mathematical Analysis of Logic.
Co-authored with James R. Newman in Gödel's Proof (1986, 2005), 30.
Science quotes on:  |  Analysis (82)  |  Aware (4)  |  Begin (5)  |  George Boole (9)  |  Craft (3)  |  Evident (2)  |  Logic (132)  |  Mathematician (110)  |  Modern (44)  |  Nature (534)  |  Principle (97)  |  Prose (5)  |  Publication (75)  |  Real (28)  |  Recent (14)  |  Renaissance (5)  |  Study (157)  |  Time (170)  |  Tool (30)

Man does not limit himself to seeing; he thinks and insists on learning the meaning of phenomena whose existence has been revealed to him by observation. So he reasons, compares facts, puts questions to them, and by the answers which he extracts, tests one by another. This sort of control, by means of reasoning and facts, is what constitutes experiment, properly speaking; and it is the only process that we have for teaching ourselves about the nature of things outside us.
In Claude Bernard and Henry Copley Greene (trans.), An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine (1927, 1957), 5.
Science quotes on:  |  Another (5)  |  Answer (96)  |  Comparison (33)  |  Control (41)  |  Existence (150)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Extraction (5)  |  Fact (325)  |  Insistence (5)  |  Learning (130)  |  Limit (34)  |  Meaning (52)  |  Nature Of Things (4)  |  Observation (264)  |  Outside (10)  |  Phenomenon (114)  |  Process (97)  |  Question (159)  |  Revelation (24)  |  See (43)  |  Teaching (64)  |  Test (46)  |  Thinking (166)

Mathematics is a form of poetry which transcends poetry in that it proclaims a truth; a form of reasoning which transcends reasoning in that it wants to bring about the truth it proclaims; a form of action, of ritual behavior, which does not find fulfilment in the act but must proclaim and elaborate a poetic form of truth.
'Why Mathematics Grows', Journal of the History of Ideas (Jan-Mar 1965), 26, No. 1, 3. In Salomon Bochner and Robert Clifford Gunning (ed.) Collected Papers of Salomon Bochner (1992), Vol. 4, 191. Footnoted as restating about Mathematics what was written about Myth by Henri Frankfort, et al., in The Intellectual Adventures of Ancient Man (1946), 8.
Science quotes on:  |  Act (22)  |  Action (57)  |  Behavior (13)  |  Elaborate (7)  |  Form (70)  |  Fulfilment (2)  |  Mathematics (367)  |  Poetry (63)  |  Proclaim (5)  |  Ritual (5)  |  Transcend (2)  |  Truth (450)

Mathematics is not arithmetic. Though mathematics may have arisen from the practices of counting and measuring it really deals with logical reasoning in which theorems—general and specific statements—can be deduced from the starting assumptions. It is, perhaps, the purest and most rigorous of intellectual activities, and is often thought of as queen of the sciences.
Essay,'Private Games', in Lewis Wolpert, Alison Richards (eds.), A Passion for Science (1988), 53.
Science quotes on:  |  Activity (48)  |  Arithmetic (38)  |  Assumption (27)  |  Counting (4)  |  Deduce (3)  |  General (26)  |  Intellectual (13)  |  Logical (3)  |  Mathematics (367)  |  Measuring (2)  |  Purest (2)  |  Queen (3)  |  Rigorous (4)  |  Science (875)  |  Specific (8)  |  Theorem (34)  |  Thought (170)

My original decision to devote myself to science was a direct result of the discovery which has never ceased to fill me with enthusiasm since my early youth—the comprehension of the far from obvious fact that the laws of human reasoning coincide with the laws governing the sequences of the impressions we receive from the world about us; that, therefore, pure reasoning can enable man to gain an insight into the mechanism of the latter. In this connection, it is of paramount importance that the outside world is something independent from man, something absolute, and the quest for the laws which apply to this absolute appeared to me as the most sublime scientific pursuit in life.
'A Scientific Autobiography' (1948), in Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers, trans. Frank Gaynor (1950), 13.
Science quotes on:  |  Absolute (32)  |  Appearance (47)  |  Application (72)  |  Comprehension (30)  |  Conincidence (4)  |  Decision (30)  |  Devotion (12)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Enthusiasm (20)  |  Fact (325)  |  Fill (13)  |  Human (168)  |  Importance (106)  |  Impression (32)  |  Independence (19)  |  Insight (28)  |  Law (273)  |  Life (460)  |  Mechanism (25)  |  Obvious (24)  |  Original (13)  |  Pursuit (34)  |  Quest (7)  |  Result (129)  |  Science (875)  |  Sequence (15)  |  Sublime (10)  |  World (231)  |  Youth (32)

Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else. And root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir! ... In this life, we want nothing but Facts, sir: nothing but Facts!
Spoken by fictional character Thomas Gringrind, first paragraph, chap. 1, Hard Times, published in Household Words (1 Apr 1854), Vol. 36, 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Children (14)  |  Education (177)  |  Fact (325)  |  Mind (272)  |  Plant (96)  |  Principle (97)  |  Root (19)  |  Service (27)  |  Teach (19)  |  Thomas Gradgrind (2)

Our reasonings are grounded upon two great principles, that of contradiction, in virtue of which we judge false that which involves a contradiction, and true that which is opposed or contradictory to the false.
The Monadology and Other Philosophical Writings (1714), trans. Robert Latta (1898) 235.
Science quotes on:  |  Contradiction (22)  |  False (29)  |  Principle (97)  |  True (29)

Philosophy would long ago have reached a high level if our predecessors and fathers had put this into practice; and we would not waste time on the primary difficulties, which appear now as severe as in the first centuries which noticed them. We would have the experience of assured phenomena, which would serve as principles for a solid reasoning; truth would not be so deeply sunken; nature would have taken off most of her envelopes; one would see the marvels she contains in all her individuals. ...
Les Préludes de l'Harmonie Universelle (1634), 135-139. In Charles Coulston Gillispie (ed.), Dictionary of Scientific Biography (1974), Vol. 9, 316.
Science quotes on:  |  Appearance (47)  |  Century (38)  |  Contain (5)  |  Difficulty (76)  |  Envelope (2)  |  Experience (132)  |  Father (17)  |  High (12)  |  Individual (59)  |  Marvel (16)  |  Nature (534)  |  Notice (11)  |  Phenomenon (114)  |  Philosophy (132)  |  Practice (26)  |  Predecessor (13)  |  Primary (9)  |  Principle (97)  |  Severity (2)  |  Sinking (4)  |  Solid (14)  |  Time (170)  |  Truth (450)  |  Waste (31)

Science is not a system of certain, or -established, statements; nor is it a system which steadily advances towards a state of finality... And our guesses are guided by the unscientific, the metaphysical (though biologically explicable) faith in laws, in regularities which we can uncover—discover. Like Bacon, we might describe our own contemporary science—'the method of reasoning which men now ordinarily apply to nature'—as consisting of 'anticipations, rash and premature' and as 'prejudices'.
The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1959), 278.
Science quotes on:  |  Advancement (26)  |  Anticipation (6)  |  Application (72)  |  Biology (83)  |  Certainty (59)  |  Contemporary (10)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Explanation (88)  |  Faith (73)  |  Guess (14)  |  Guidance (6)  |  Law (273)  |  Metaphysics (24)  |  Method (73)  |  Nature (534)  |  Prejudice (31)  |  Premature (11)  |  Rashness (2)  |  Regularity (11)  |  Science (875)  |  Statement (28)  |  System (66)  |  Unscientific (6)  |  Well-Established (2)

Scientific reasoning is a kind of dialogue between the possible and the actual, between what might be and what is in fact the case.
Induction and Intuition in Scientific Thought (1969), 48.
Science quotes on:  |  Dialogue (4)  |  Possibility (70)  |  Reality (67)

Scientists are convinced that they, as scientists, possess a number of very admirable human qualities, such as accuracy, observation, reasoning power, intellectual curiosity, tolerance, and even humility.
In Science is a Sacred Cow (1950), 15-16.
Science quotes on:  |  Accuracy (34)  |  Curiosity (52)  |  Human (168)  |  Humility (12)  |  Intellect (99)  |  Observation (264)  |  Quality (29)  |  Scientist (237)  |  Tolerance (3)

The basis of the discovery is imagination, careful reasoning and experimentation where the use of knowledge created by those who came before is an important component.
Nobel Banquet speech (10 Dec 1982). In Wilhelm Odelberg (ed.), Les Prix Nobel. The Nobel Prizes 1982 (1983)
Science quotes on:  |  Basis (25)  |  Care (37)  |  Component (6)  |  Create (15)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Imagination (130)  |  Importance (106)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Use (54)

The difference between science and the fuzzy subjects is that science requires reasoning while those other subjects merely require scholarship.
Time Enough For Love: the Lives of Lazarus Long (1973, 1974), 366.
Science quotes on:  |  Difference (135)  |  Scholarship (5)  |  Science (875)  |  Subject (51)

The great masters of modern analysis are Lagrange, Laplace, and Gauss, who were contemporaries. It is interesting to note the marked contrast in their styles. Lagrange is perfect both in form and matter, he is careful to explain his procedure, and though his arguments are general they are easy to follow. Laplace on the other hand explains nothing, is indifferent to style, and, if satisfied that his results are correct, is content to leave them either with no proof or with a faulty one. Gauss is as exact and elegant as Lagrange, but even more difficult to follow than Laplace, for he removes every trace of the analysis by which he reached his results, and studies to give a proof which while rigorous shall be as concise and synthetical as possible.
History of Mathematics (3rd Ed., 1901), 468.
Science quotes on:  |  Analysis (82)  |  Anecdote (15)  |  Contemporary (10)  |  Content (17)  |  Contrast (3)  |  Correct (14)  |  Difficult (9)  |  Easy (14)  |  Elegant (5)  |  Exact (16)  |  Explanation (88)  |  Carl Friedrich Gauss (53)  |  Count Joseph-Louis de Lagrange (9)  |  Pierre-Simon Laplace (45)  |  Leave (5)  |  Perfection (43)  |  Procedure (11)  |  Proof (136)  |  Remove (6)  |  Result (129)  |  Rigor (6)  |  Satisfy (5)  |  Style (5)  |  Synthetic (5)

The knowledge of Natural-History, being Observation of Matters of Fact, is more certain than most others, and in my slender Opinion, less subject to Mistakes than Reasonings, Hypotheses, and Deductions are; ... These are things we are sure of, so far as our Senses are not fallible; and which, in probability, have been ever since the Creation, and will remain to the End of the World, in the same Condition we now find them.
A Voyage to the Islands Madera, Barbados, Nieves, S. Christophers and Jamaica: With the Natural History of the Herbs and Trees, Four-footed Beasts, Fishes, Birds, Insects, Reptiles, &c. of the Last of those Islands (1707), Vol. 1, 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Certainty (59)  |  Condition (68)  |  Creation (129)  |  Deduction (39)  |  Fact (325)  |  Fallability (3)  |  Find (50)  |  Hypothesis (150)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Matter (135)  |  Mistake (40)  |  Natural History (23)  |  Observation (264)  |  Opinion (81)  |  Probability (56)  |  Same (15)  |  Sense (104)  |  Sure (12)

The language of experiment is more authoritative than any reasoning: facts can destroy our ratiocination—not vice versa.
In Marcello Pera, The Ambiguous Frog: The Galvani-Volta Controversy on Animal Electricity (1992). Cited in Patrick F. Dunn, Measurement and Data Analysis for Engineering and Science (2010), 15.
Science quotes on:  |  Authority (24)  |  Destroying (2)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Language (71)  |  Ratiocination (2)  |  Vice Versa (3)

The love of experiment was very strong in him [Charles Darwin], and I can remember the way he would say, “I shan't be easy till I have tried it,” as if an outside force were driving him. He enjoyed experimenting much more than work which only entailed reasoning, and when he was engaged on one of his books which required argument and the marshalling of facts, he felt experimental work to be a rest or holiday.
In Charles Darwin: His Life Told in an Autobiographical Chapter, and in a Selected Series of his Published Letters (1908), 95.
Science quotes on:  |  Biography (199)  |  Book (100)  |  Charles Darwin (216)  |  Enjoyment (14)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Fact (325)  |  Holiday (3)  |  Rest (28)

The mind God is looking for in man is a doubting, questioning mind, not a dogmatic mind; dogmatic reasoning is wrong reasoning. Dogmatic reason ties a huge rock to a man’s foot and stops him forever from advancing.
From the play Galileo Galilei (2001) .
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (52)  |  Dogma (13)  |  Doubt (67)  |  Foot (8)  |  God (234)  |  Progress (200)  |  Question (159)  |  Rock (54)

The reasoning of mathematics is a type of perfect reasoning.
Common Sense in Education and Teaching (1905), 222.
Science quotes on:  |  Mathematics (367)  |  Perfect (14)

The scientific spirit is of more value than its products, and irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors.
'The Coming of Age of the Origin of Species' (1880). In Collected Essays (1893), Vol. 2, 229.
Science quotes on:  |  Error (152)  |  Truth (450)

The theoretical side of physical chemistry is and will probably remain the dominant one; it is by this peculiarity that it has exerted such a great influence upon the neighboring sciences, pure and applied, and on this ground physical chemistry may be regarded as an excellent school of exact reasoning for all students of the natural sciences.
In Theories of Solutions (1912), xx.
Science quotes on:  |  Applied (3)  |  Dominant (6)  |  Excellence (18)  |  Exertion (6)  |  Influence (47)  |  Natural Science (29)  |  Neighbor (4)  |  Peculiarity (11)  |  Physical Chemistry (5)  |  Pure (14)  |  Regard (17)  |  Remain (18)  |  School (36)  |  Science (875)  |  Student (54)  |  Theory (353)

The traditional mathematics professor of the popular legend is absentminded. He usually appears in public with a lost umbrella in each hand. He prefers to face a blackboard and to turn his back on the class. He writes a, he says b, he means c, but it should be d. Some of his sayings are handed down from generation to generation:
“In order to solve this differential equation you look at it till a solution occurs to you.”
“This principle is so perfectly general that no particular application of it is possible.”
“Geometry is the science of correct reasoning on incorrect figures.”
“My method to overcome a difficulty is to go round it.”
“What is the difference between method and device? A method is a device which you used twice.”
In How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method (2004), 208.
Science quotes on:  |  Application (72)  |  Back (17)  |  Blackboard (5)  |  Class (27)  |  Correct (14)  |  Device (15)  |  Difference (135)  |  Differential Equation (4)  |  Difficulty (76)  |  Face (23)  |  Figure (13)  |  Generality (14)  |  Generation (56)  |  Geometry (68)  |  Incorrect (4)  |  Legend (2)  |  Mathematics (367)  |  Meaning (52)  |  Method (73)  |  Occurrence (21)  |  Overcoming (3)  |  Particular (24)  |  Popular (10)  |  Possibility (70)  |  Principle (97)  |  Professor (21)  |  French Saying (51)  |  Solution (109)  |  Tradition (17)  |  Twice (3)  |  Using (3)  |  Writing (50)

There are also two kinds of truths, those of reasoning and those of fact. Truths of reasoning are necessary and their opposite is impossible: truths of fact are contingent and their opposite is possible. When a truth is necessary, reason can be found by analysis, resolving it into more simple ideas and truths, until we come to those which are primary.
The Monadology and Other Philosophical Writings (1714), trans. Robert Latta (1898), 235-6.
Science quotes on:  |  Analysis (82)  |  Fact (325)  |  Idea (226)  |  Impossible (26)  |  Opposite (21)  |  Truth (450)

To be worthy of the name, an experimenter must be at once theorist and practitioner. While he must completely master the art of establishing experimental facts, which are the materials of science, he must also clearly understand the scientific principles which guide his reasoning through the varied experimental study of natural phenomena. We cannot separate these two things: head and hand. An able hand, without a head to direct it, is a blind tool; the head is powerless without its executive hand.
In Claude Bernard and Henry Copley Greene (trans.), An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine (1927, 1957), 3.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (80)  |  Blind (8)  |  Directing (3)  |  Establish (10)  |  Executive (2)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Experimenter (9)  |  Fact (325)  |  Guide (17)  |  Hand (34)  |  Head (20)  |  Mastery (10)  |  Material (60)  |  Name (58)  |  Natural (48)  |  Phenomenon (114)  |  Powerless (3)  |  Practitioner (3)  |  Principle (97)  |  Science (875)  |  Separation (23)  |  Study (157)  |  Theorist (7)  |  Tool (30)  |  Understanding (231)  |  Various (8)

Today, the theory of evolution is an accepted fact for everyone but a fundamentalist minority, whose objections are based not on reasoning but on doctrinaire adherence to religious principles.
Molecular Biology of the Gene (1970), 2
Science quotes on:  |  Doctrine (33)  |  Evolution (342)  |  Fact (325)  |  Objection (9)  |  Religion (120)  |  Theory (353)

We do not draw conclusions with our eyes, but with our reasoning powers, and if the whole of the rest of living nature proclaims with one accord from all sides the evolution of the world of organisms, we cannot assume that the process stopped short of Man. But it follows also that the factors which brought about the development of Man from his Simian ancestry must be the same as those which have brought about the whole of evolution.
Translation of Weismann's work in German, by John Arthur Thomson and Margaret R. Thomson, The Evolution Theory (1904), Vol. 2, 393.
Science quotes on:  |  Accord (7)  |  Ancestry (2)  |  Assume (6)  |  Conclusion (74)  |  Development (122)  |  Evolution (342)  |  Eye (67)  |  Factor (15)  |  Nature (534)  |  Organism (70)  |  Process (97)  |  Proclaim (5)  |  Short (3)  |  Stop (25)  |  Whole (46)

We must trust to nothing but facts: These are presented to us by Nature, and cannot deceive. We ought, in every instance, to submit our reasoning to the test of experiment, and never to search for truth but by the natural road of experiment and observation.
Elements of Chemistry (1790), trans. R. Kerr, Preface, xviii.
Science quotes on:  |  Deception (2)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Fact (325)  |  Nature (534)  |  Observation (264)  |  Test (46)  |  Trust (13)  |  Truth (450)

We see, then, that the elements of the scientific method are interrelated. Facts are necessary materials; but their working up by experimental reasoning, i.e., by theory, is what establishes and really builds up science. Ideas, given form by facts, embody science. A scientific hypothesis is merely a scientific idea, preconceived or previsioned. A theory is merely a scientific idea controlled by experiment. Reasoning merely gives a form to our ideas, so that everything, first and last, leads back to an idea. The idea is what establishes, as we shall see, the starting point or the primum movens of all scientific reasoning, and it is also the goal in the mind's aspiration toward the unknown.
An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine (1865), trans. Henry Copley Green (1957), 26.
Science quotes on:  |  Fact (325)  |  Hypothesis (150)  |  Idea (226)  |  Scientific Method (101)  |  Theory (353)

We think of Euclid as of fine ice; we admire Newton as we admire the peak of Teneriffe. Even the intensest labors, the most remote triumphs of the abstract intellect, seem to carry us into a region different from our own—to be in a terra incognita of pure reasoning, to cast a chill on human glory.
In Estimates of Some Englishmen and Scotchmen (1856), 411-412
Science quotes on:  |  Abstract (19)  |  Admiration (23)  |  Chill (4)  |  Difference (135)  |  Euclid (24)  |  Fine (10)  |  Glory (20)  |  Human (168)  |  Ice (17)  |  Intellect (99)  |  Intensity (15)  |  Labor (18)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (176)  |  Peak (7)  |  Pure (14)  |  Region (9)  |  Remote (11)  |  Triumph (21)

When experience has proved a physical fact, one must give up reasoning.
Geneanthropeiae siue de Hominis Generatione Decateuchon (1642), Column 604. Quoted in Jacques Roger, The Life Sciences in Eighteenth-Century French Thought, ed. Keith R. Benson and trans. Robert Ellrich (1997), 22.
Science quotes on:  |  Experience (132)  |  Fact (325)  |  Physical (28)

[My Book] will endeavour to establish the principle[s] of reasoning in ... [geology]; and all my geology will come in as illustration of my views of those principles, and as evidence strengthening the system necessarily arising out of the admission of such principles, which... are neither more nor less than that no causes whatever have from the earliest time to which we can look back, to the present, ever acted, but those now acting; and that they never acted with different degrees of energy from that which they now exert.
Letter to Roderick Murchison Esq. (15 Jan 1829). In Mrs Lyell (ed.), The Life, Letters and Journals of Sir Charles Lyell, Bart (1881), Vol. 1, 234.
Science quotes on:  |  Cause (122)  |  Evidence (83)  |  Geology (145)  |  Principle (97)  |  Uniformitarianism (7)

[The] weakness of biological balance studies has aptly been illustrated by comparison with the working of a slot machine. A penny brings forth one package of chewing gum; two pennies bring forth two. Interpreted according to the reasoning of balance physiology, the first observation is an indication of the conversion of copper into gum; the second constitutes proof.
[Co-author with David Rittenberg (1906-70).]
'The Application of Isotopes to the Study of Intermediary Metabolism', Science (1938), 87, 222.
Science quotes on:  |  Balance (24)  |  Biology (83)  |  Comparison (33)  |  Constitute (5)  |  Conversion (11)  |  Copper (8)  |  Illustration (17)  |  Indication (15)  |  Interpretation (38)  |  Observation (264)  |  Penny (2)  |  Physiology (41)  |  Proof (136)  |  Study (157)  |  Weakness (14)  |  Work (198)


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
Quotations by:Albert EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about:Atomic  BombBiologyChemistryDeforestationEngineeringAnatomyAstronomyBacteriaBiochemistryBotanyConservationDinosaurEnvironmentFractalGeneticsGeologyHistory of ScienceInventionJupiterKnowledgeLoveMathematicsMeasurementMedicineNatural ResourceOrganic ChemistryPhysicsPhysicianQuantum TheoryResearchScience and ArtTeacherTechnologyUniverseVolcanoVirusWind PowerWomen ScientistsX-RaysYouthZoology  ... (more topics)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History pages:
Custom Quotations Search - custom search within only our quotations pages:
Visit our Science and Scientist Quotations index for more Science Quotes from archaeologists, biologists, chemists, geologists, inventors and inventions, mathematicians, physicists, pioneers in medicine, science events and technology.

Names index: | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

Categories index: | 1 | 2 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |
Author Icon
who invites your feedback

Today in Science History

Most Popular

Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.
- 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