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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > Xavier Bichat Quotes

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Xavier Bichat
(14 Nov 1771 - 22 Jul 1802)

French physician.


Science Quotes by Xavier Bichat (4 quotes)

Life consists in the sum of the functions, by which death is resisted.
[Also translated as: Life is the ensemble of functions that resist death.]
— Xavier Bichat
Recherches physiologiques sur la vie et la mort (1800), trans. P. Gold, Physiological Researches on Life and Death (1815), 21.
Science quotes on:  |  Death (270)  |  Life (917)

Medicine is an incoherent assemblage of incoherent ideas, and is, perhaps, of all the physiological Sciences, that which best shows the caprice of the human mind. What did I say! It is not a Science for a methodical mind. It is a shapeless assemblage of inaccurate ideas, of observations often puerile, of deceptive remedies, and of formulae as fantastically conceived as they are tediously arranged.
— Xavier Bichat
Bichat's General Anatomy, vol. 1, 17. Quoted in Alva Curtis, A Fair Examination and Criticism of All the Medical Systems in Vogue (1855), 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Idea (440)  |  Medicine (322)  |  Observation (418)

Open up a few corpses: you will dissipate at once the darkness that observation alone could not dissipate.
— Xavier Bichat
Anatomie gιnιrale appliquιe ΰ la physiologie ΰ la mιdecine (1801), avant-propos, xic.
Science quotes on:  |  Anatomy (59)  |  Dissection (26)  |  Observation (418)

Thus it might be said, that the vegetable is only the sketch, nor rather the ground-work of the animal; that for the formation of the latter, it has only been requisite to clothe the former with an apparatus of external organs, by which it might be connected with external objects.
From hence it follows, that the functions of the animal are of two very different classes. By the one (which is composed of an habitual succession of assimilation and excretion) it lives within itself, transforms into its proper substance the particles of other bodies, and afterwards rejects them when they are become heterogeneous to its nature. By the other, it lives externally, is the inhabitant of the world, and not as the vegetable of a spot only; it feels, it perceives, it reflects on its sensations, it moves according to their influence, and frequently is enabled to communicate by its voice its desires, and its fears, its pleasures, and its pains.
The aggregate of the functions of the first order, I shall name the organic life, because all organized beings, whether animal or vegetable, enjoy it more or less, because organic texture is the sole condition necessary to its existence. The sum of the functions of the second class, because it is exclusively the property of the animal, I shall denominate the animal life.
— Xavier Bichat
Physiological Researches on Life and Death (1815), trans. P. Gold, 22-3.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (309)  |  Life (917)  |  Organ (60)  |  Pain (82)  |  Plant (173)  |  Sense (240)


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
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- 40 -
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- 10 -
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