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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index A > Joseph Addison Quotes

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Joseph Addison
(1 May 1672 - 17 Jun 1719)

English essayist and poet whose writings were published in the Tatler, a magazine edited by his friend Sir Richard Steele (1709-11) and then the daily Spectator (1711-12) which he co-founded with Steele. They wrote most of the content of its 555 issues, intent upon bringing 'Philosophy out of Closets and Libraries, Schools and Colleges, to dwell in Clubs and Assemblies, at Tea-Tables, and in Coffee-Houses.'

Science Quotes by Joseph Addison (21 quotes)

A Man may Smoak, or Drink, or take Snuff, ’till he is unable to pass away his Time without it.
— Joseph Addison
In The Spectator (2 Aug 1712), No. 447, collected in The Spectator (9th ed., 1728), Vol. 6, 225.
Science quotes on:  |  Addiction (3)  |  Alcoholism (6)  |  Drink (27)  |  Smoking (22)  |  Snuff (2)  |  Tobacco (16)

A wealthy doctor who can help a poor man, and will not without a fee, has less sense of humanity than a poor ruffian who kills a rich man to supply his necessities. It is something monstrous to consider a man of a liberal education tearing out the bowels of a poor family by taking for a visit what would keep them a week.
— Joseph Addison
In The Tatler: Or, Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq (8 Oct 1709), collected in Harrison’s British Classicks (1785), Vol. 3, No. 78, 220. Isaac Bickerstaff was the nom de plume used by Richard Steele, who published it—with uncredited contributions from Joseph Addison under the same invented name. The original has no authorship indicated for the item, but (somehow?) later publications attribute it to Addison. For example, in Samuel Austin Allibone (ed.), Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay (1876), 535.
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All our knowledge derived from observation … is knowledge gotten at first hand. Hereby we see and know things as they are, or as they appear to us; we take the impressions of them on our minds from the original objects themselves which give a clearer and stronger conception of things.
— Joseph Addison
In Interesting Anecdotes, Memoirs, Allegories, Essays, and Poetical Fragments (1793), Vols 3-4, Vol 4, 72.
Science quotes on:  |  Clear (52)  |  Conception (63)  |  First Hand (2)  |  Impression (51)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Mind (544)  |  Object (110)  |  Observation (418)  |  Original (36)  |  Strong (47)

Another advantage of observation is, that we may gain knowledge all the day long, and every moment of our lives, and every moment of our existence, we may be adding to our intellectual treasures thereby.
— Joseph Addison
In Interesting Anecdotes, Memoirs, Allegories, Essays, and Poetical Fragments (1793), Vols 3-4, Vol 4, 73.
Science quotes on:  |  Advantage (42)  |  Existence (254)  |  Intellectual (79)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Observation (418)  |  Treasure (35)

Health and cheerfulness naturally beget each other.
— Joseph Addison
The Spectator (24 May 1712), 5, No. 387. In The Works of Joseph Addison editted by George Washington Greene (1883), Vol. 6, 285.
Science quotes on:  |  Health (136)

If we may believe our logicians, man is distinguished from all other creatures by the faculty of laughter.
— Joseph Addison
In The Spectator (26 Sep 1712), No. 494, as collected in Vol. 7 (1729, 10th ed.), 84.
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (400)  |  Creature (127)  |  Distinguishing (14)  |  Faculty (36)  |  Laughter (22)  |  Logician (3)  |  Man (345)

It is impossible for us, who live in the latter ages of the world, to make observations in criticism, morality, or in any art or science, which have not been touched upon by others. We have little else left us but to represent the common sense of mankind in more strong, more beautiful, or more uncommon lights.
— Joseph Addison
Spectator, No. 253. In Samuel Austin Allibone, Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay (1880), 60.
Science quotes on:  |  Author (39)  |  Common Sense (69)  |  Criticism (52)  |  Mankind (196)  |  Other (25)  |  Science And Art (157)  |  Uncommon (7)

Not only such Actions as were at first Indifferent to us, but even such as were Painful, will by Custom and Practice become Pleasant. Sir Francis Bacon observes in his Natural Philosophy, that our Taste is never pleased better, than with those things which at first created a Disgust in it. He gives particular Instances of Claret, Coffee, and other Liquors, which the Palate seldom approves upon the first Taste; but when it has once got a Relish of them, generally retains it for Life.
— Joseph Addison
In The Spectator (2 Aug 1712), No. 447, collected in The Spectator (9th ed., 1728), Vol. 6, 225-226.
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Our delight in any particular study, art, or science rises and improves in proportion to the application which we bestow upon it. Thus, what was at first an exercise becomes at length an entertainment.
— Joseph Addison
In The Spectator (2 Aug 1712), No. 447, collected in The Spectator (9th ed., 1728), Vol. 6, 225.
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Our sight is the most perfect and most delightful of all our senses.
— Joseph Addison
The Spectator (21 Jun 1712), 4, No. 411. In The Works of Joseph Addison editted by George Washington Greene (1883), Vol. 6, 322.
Science quotes on:  |  Sense (240)  |  Sight (25)

Physic, for the most part, is nothing else but the substitute of exercise and temperance.
— Joseph Addison
The Spectator (13 Oct 1711), 3, No. 195. In James Wood, Dictionary of Quotations from Ancient and Modern, English and Foreign Sources (1893), 348:16.
Science quotes on:  |  Exercise (35)  |  Health (136)

That there should be more Species of intelligent Creatures above us, than there are of sensible and material below us, is probable to me from hence; That in all the visible corporeal World, we see no Chasms, or no Gaps.
— Joseph Addison
In An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding (1689, 1706, 5th ed.), 381. This was later quoted verbatim in Joseph Addison The Spectator (25 Oct 1712), No. 519, as collected in Vol. 7 (1729, 10th ed.), 176. Quote collections attributing to Addison are in error.
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The material world is only the shell of the universe: the world of life are its inhabitants.
— Joseph Addison
From The Spectator (25 Oct 1712), No. 519, collected in The Works of the Right Honorable Joseph Addison (1721), Vol. 4, 18.
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The Spacious Firmament on high,
With all the blue Etherial Sky,
And spangled Heav'ns, a Shining Frame, Their great Original proclaim:
Th'unwearied Sun, from day to day
Does his Creator's Pow'r display,
And publishes to every Land
The Work of an Almighty Hand.
Soon as the Evening Shades prevail,
The Moon takes up the wondrous Tale,
And nightly to the listning Earth Repeats the Story of her Birth:
Whilst all the Stars that round her burn,
And all the Planets, in their turn,
Confirm the Tidings as they rowl,
And spread the Truth from Pole to Pole.
What though, in solemn Silence, all
Move round the dark terrestrial Ball?
What tho' nor real Voice nor Sound
Amid their radiant Orbs be found?
In Reason's Ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious Voice,
For ever singing, as they shine,
'The Hand that made us is Divine'.
— Joseph Addison
The Spectator, no. 465, Saturday 23 August 1712. In D. F. Bond (ed.) The Spectator (1965), Vol. 4, 144-5.
Science quotes on:  |  Solar System (48)

The surface of Animals is also covered with other Animals, which are in the same manner the Basis of other Animals that live upon it.
— Joseph Addison
In The Spectator (25 Oct 1712), No. 519, as collected in Vol. 7 (1729, 10th ed.), 174.
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The utmost extent of man’s knowledge, is to know that he knows nothing.
— Joseph Addison
In Interesting Anecdotes, Memoirs, Allegories, Essays, and Poetical Fragments (1793), Vols 3-4, Vol. 3, 226.
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There is scarce a single Humour in the Body of a Man, or of any other Animal, in which our Glasses do not discover Myriads of living Creatures.
— Joseph Addison
In The Spectator (25 Oct 1712), No. 519, as collected in Vol. 7 (1729, 10th ed.), 84.
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These duplicates in those parts of the body, without which a man might have very well subsisted, though not so well as with them, are a plain demonstration of an all-wise Contriver, as those more numerous copyings which are found among the vessels of the same body are evident demonstrations that they could not be the work of chance. This argument receives additional strength if we apply it to every animal and insect within our knowledge, as well as to those numberless living creatures that are objects too minute for a human eye: and if we consider how the several species in this whole world of life resemble one another in very many particulars, so far as is convenient for their respective states of existence, it is much more probable that a hundred millions of dice should be casually thrown a hundred millions of times in the same number than that the body of any single animal should be produced by the fortuitous concourse of matter.
— Joseph Addison
In The Spectator (22 Nov 1712), No. 543, as collected in Vol. 4 (1721, 10th ed.), 48.
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When a man spends his life among the stars and planets, or lays out a twelvemonth on the spots of the sun, however noble his speculations may be, they are very apt to fall into burlesque.
— Joseph Addison
In The Works of Joseph Addison: Including the Whole Contents of Bp. Hurd’s Edition, with Letters and Other Pieces Not Found in Any Previous Collection; and Macaulay’s Essay on His Life and Works (1854), Vol. 2, 9.
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When I behold a fashionable table set out in all its magnificence, I fancy that I see gouts and dropsies, fevers and lethargies, with other innumerable distempers lying in ambuscade among the dishes. Nature delights in the most plain and simple diet. Every animal but man keeps to one dish. Herbs are the food of this species, fish of that, and flesh of a third. Man falls upon everything that comes in his way; not the smallest fruit or excrescence of the earth, scarce a berry or a mushroom can escape him.
— Joseph Addison
Spectator, No. 195. In Samuel Austin Allibone, Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay (1880), 363.
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Whereas what knowledge we derive from lectures, reading and conversation, is but the copy of other men’s men's ideas; that is, the picture of a picture; and ’tis one remove farther from the original.
— Joseph Addison
In Interesting Anecdotes, Memoirs, Allegories, Essays, and Poetical Fragments (1793), Vols 3-4, Vol 4, 72-73.
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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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