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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > Walter Bagehot Quotes

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Walter Bagehot
(3 Feb 1826 - 24 Mar 1877)

English economist and journalist who died in middle age, having been editor of The Economist for 16 years. As a journalist, he was highly regarded as a political thinker, commentator, critic and man of letters. His best-known book is The English Constitution (1867).

Science Quotes by Walter Bagehot (6 quotes)

Walter Bagehot, upper body, facing left
Walter Bagehot (1891) mezzotint by Norman Hirst after unknown artist (source)
Life is a school of probability.
— Walter Bagehot
In R.H. Hutton (ed.), 'Thomas Babington Macaulay', Literary Studies: By the Late Walter Bagehot (1879), Vol. 2, 257.
Science quotes on:  |  Life (1799)  |  Probability (132)  |  School (220)

One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea.
— Walter Bagehot
In Physics and Politics (1869, 1916), 163.
Science quotes on:  |  Greatest (329)  |  Human (1470)  |  Human Nature (65)  |  Idea (845)  |  Nature (1928)  |  New (1217)  |  Pain (136)

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.
— Walter Bagehot
Attributed. The wording as above may be a popularized derivative from this quote: “The greatest enjoyment possible to man was that which this philosophy promises its votaries—the pleasure of being always right, and always reasoning—without ever being bound to look at anything.” In The English Constitution (1867), 296.
Science quotes on:  |  Cannot (8)  |  Do (1908)  |  Doing (280)  |  Greatest (329)  |  Life (1799)  |  People (1005)  |  Person (363)  |  Pleasure (179)  |  Say (984)

The maxim of science is simply that of common sense—simple cases first; begin with seeing how the main force acts when there is as little as possible to impede it, and when you thoroughly comprehend that, add to it in succession the separate effects of each of the incumbering and interfering agencies.
— Walter Bagehot
Collected in The Works of Walter Bagehot (1889), Vol. 5, 319-320.
Science quotes on:  |  Act (272)  |  Add (40)  |  Agency (14)  |  Begin (260)  |  Case (99)  |  Common (436)  |  Common Sense (130)  |  Comprehend (40)  |  Effect (394)  |  First (1284)  |  Force (488)  |  Impede (4)  |  Little (708)  |  Main (28)  |  Maxim (17)  |  Possible (554)  |  Science (3880)  |  Seeing (142)  |  Sense (770)  |  Separate (143)  |  Simple (406)  |  Succession (77)  |  Thoroughly (67)

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.
— Walter Bagehot
In Estimates of Some Englishmen and Scotchmen (1856), 411-412
Science quotes on:  |  Abstract (126)  |  Admiration (59)  |  Carry (127)  |  Cast (67)  |  Chill (9)  |  Difference (337)  |  Different (577)  |  Euclid (54)  |  Fine (33)  |  Glory (58)  |  Human (1470)  |  Ice (54)  |  Intellect (233)  |  Intensity (34)  |  Labor (107)  |  Most (1729)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (335)  |  Peak (20)  |  Pure (292)  |  Reasoning (207)  |  Region (36)  |  Remote (83)  |  Think (1086)  |  Triumph (73)

Writers, like teeth, are divided into, incisors and grinders.
— Walter Bagehot
'The First Edinburgh Reviewers', National Review (1855). Describing writer Sydney Smith: Sydney Smith was a molar. Republished in Littell’s Living Age (24 Nov 1855), 47, No. 600, 461. Bagehot continues about Sydney Smith: “He did not run a long sharp argument into the interior of a question; he did not, in the common phrase, go deeply into it; but he kept it steadily under the contact of a strong, capable, heavy, jaw-like understanding,— pressing its surface, effacing its intricacies, grinding it down.”
Science quotes on:  |  Divided (50)  |  Teeth (43)  |  Writer (86)


See also:

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 Einstein • Isaac Newton • Lord Kelvin • Charles Darwin • Srinivasa Ramanujan • Carl Sagan • Florence Nightingale • Thomas Edison • Aristotle • Marie Curie • Benjamin Franklin • Winston Churchill • Galileo Galilei • Sigmund Freud • Robert Bunsen • Louis Pasteur • Theodore Roosevelt • Abraham Lincoln • Ronald Reagan • Leonardo DaVinci • Michio Kaku • Karl Popper • Johann Goethe • Robert Oppenheimer • Charles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about: • Atomic  Bomb • Biology • Chemistry • Deforestation • Engineering • Anatomy • Astronomy • Bacteria • Biochemistry • Botany • Conservation • Dinosaur • Environment • Fractal • Genetics • Geology • History of Science • Invention • Jupiter • Knowledge • Love • Mathematics • Measurement • Medicine • Natural Resource • Organic Chemistry • Physics • Physician • Quantum Theory • Research • Science and Art • Teacher • Technology • Universe • Volcano • Virus • Wind Power • Women Scientists • X-Rays • Youth • Zoology  ... (more topics)
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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



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