Celebrating 20 Years on the Web
TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY ®
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “I believe that this Nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > George Boole Quotes

Thumbnail of George Boole (source)
George Boole
(2 Nov 1815 - 8 Dec 1864)

English mathematician and logician.


Science Quotes by George Boole (8 quotes)

A distinguished writer [Simιon Denis Poisson] has thus stated the fundamental definitions of the science:
“The probability of an event is the reason we have to believe that it has taken place, or that it will take place.”
“The measure of the probability of an event is the ratio of the number of cases favourable to that event, to the total number of cases favourable or contrary, and all equally possible” (equally like to happen).
From these definitions it follows that the word probability, in its mathematical acceptation, has reference to the state of our knowledge of the circumstances under which an event may happen or fail. With the degree of information which we possess concerning the circumstances of an event, the reason we have to think that it will occur, or, to use a single term, our expectation of it, will vary. Probability is expectation founded upon partial knowledge. A perfect acquaintance with all the circumstances affecting the occurrence of an event would change expectation into certainty, and leave neither room nor demand for a theory of probabilities.
— George Boole
An Investigation of the Laws of Thought (1854), 243-244. The Poisson quote is footnoted as from Recherches sur la Probabilitι des Jugemens.
Science quotes on:  |  Acquaintance (37)  |  All (4107)  |  Certainty (174)  |  Change (595)  |  Circumstance (136)  |  Circumstances (108)  |  Contrary (142)  |  Definition (224)  |  Degree (275)  |  Demand (123)  |  Distinguish (160)  |  Distinguished (83)  |  Equally (130)  |  Event (216)  |  Expectation (65)  |  Fail (185)  |  Follow (379)  |  Fundamental (251)  |  Happen (275)  |  Information (166)  |  Knowledge (1536)  |  Measure (233)  |  Number (701)  |  Occur (150)  |  Occurrence (53)  |  Perfect (216)  |  Simιon-Denis Poisson (7)  |  Possess (156)  |  Possible (554)  |  Probability (132)  |  Ratio (39)  |  Reason (744)  |  Science (3880)  |  Single (354)  |  State (491)  |  Term (349)  |  Theory (972)  |  Think (1086)  |  Total (94)  |  Use (766)  |  Will (2354)  |  Word (622)  |  Writer (86)

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.
— George Boole
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 (234)  |  Application (242)  |  Attention (191)  |  Being (1278)  |  Belong (162)  |  Cause (542)  |  Certain (550)  |  Conception (154)  |  Deduction (82)  |  Develop (268)  |  Development (424)  |  Doubt (305)  |  Earlier (9)  |  Evolution (593)  |  Extent (139)  |  Great (1575)  |  Harmony (102)  |  History (675)  |  Idea (845)  |  Introduction (35)  |  Logic (287)  |  Mathematical Analysis (20)  |  Mathematics (1333)  |  Method (506)  |  Methods (204)  |  Necessary (363)  |  Necessity (191)  |  New (1217)  |  Occasion (85)  |  Order (632)  |  Perfect (216)  |  Possible (554)  |  Process (423)  |  Reasoning (207)  |  Scientific (940)  |  Stage (143)  |  Step (231)  |  Successive (73)  |  Through (849)  |  Time (1877)  |  Will (2354)

It is not of the essence of mathematics to be conversant with the ideas of number and quantity. Whether as a general habit of mind it would be desirable to apply symbolic processes to moral argument, is another question.
— George Boole
An Investigation of the Laws of Thought (1854), 12.
Science quotes on:  |  Application (242)  |  Apply (160)  |  Argument (138)  |  Conversant (6)  |  Desirability (2)  |  Desirable (33)  |  Essence (82)  |  General (511)  |  Habit (168)  |  Idea (845)  |  Mathematics (1333)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Moral (195)  |  Number (701)  |  Process (423)  |  Quantity (132)  |  Question (622)  |  Symbolic (15)

No matter how correct a mathematical theorem may appear to be, one ought never to be satisfied that there was not something imperfect about it until it also gives the impression of being beautiful.
— George Boole
As quoted in Desmond MacHale. Comic Sections (1993), 107, without citation. Please contact the Webmaster if you know the primary source.
Science quotes on:  |  Appear (118)  |  Beautiful (259)  |  Being (1278)  |  Correct (87)  |  Imperfect (45)  |  Impression (114)  |  Mathematics (1333)  |  Matter (801)  |  Never (1087)  |  Satisfaction (74)  |  Something (719)  |  Theorem (112)

Of the many forms of false culture, a premature converse with abstractions is perhaps the most likely to prove fatal to the growth of a masculine vigour of intellect.
— George Boole
In A Treatise on Differential Equations (1859), Preface, vi.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstraction (47)  |  Culture (143)  |  False (100)  |  Fatal (12)  |  Form (960)  |  Growth (188)  |  Intellect (233)  |  Masculine (4)  |  Most (1729)  |  Premature (20)  |  Prove (252)  |  Vigour (18)

Probability is expectation founded upon partial knowledge.
— George Boole
An Investigation of the Laws of Thought (1854), 244. This is part of a longer quote, which begins, “A distinguished writer…”, on the George Boole Quotes page of this website.
Science quotes on:  |  Definition (224)  |  Expectation (65)  |  Founded (20)  |  Knowledge (1536)  |  Partial (10)  |  Probability (132)

There was yet another disadvantage attaching to the whole of Newton’s physical inquiries, ... the want of an appropriate notation for expressing the conditions of a dynamical problem, and the general principles by which its solution must be obtained. By the labours of LaGrange, the motions of a disturbed planet are reduced with all their complication and variety to a purely mathematical question. It then ceases to be a physical problem; the disturbed and disturbing planet are alike vanished: the ideas of time and force are at an end; the very elements of the orbit have disappeared, or only exist as arbitrary characters in a mathematical formula
— George Boole
Address to the Mechanics Institute, 'An Address on the Genius and Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton' (1835), excerpted in paper by Luis M. Laita, Luis de Ledesma, Eugenio Roanes-Lozano and Alberto Brunori, 'George Boole, a Forerunner of Symbolic Computation', collected in John A. Campbell and Eugenio Roanes-Lozano (eds.), Artificial Intelligence and Symbolic Computation: International Conference AISC 2000 (2001), 3.
Science quotes on:  |  Alike (60)  |  All (4107)  |  Appropriate (61)  |  Arbitrary (26)  |  Cease (79)  |  Character (243)  |  Complication (29)  |  Condition (357)  |  Disadvantage (10)  |  Disappear (82)  |  Disappearance (28)  |  Disturb (28)  |  Disturbance (31)  |  Disturbed (15)  |  Dynamical (15)  |  Dynamics (9)  |  Element (310)  |  End (590)  |  Exist (444)  |  Expression (176)  |  Force (488)  |  Formula (98)  |  General (511)  |  Idea (845)  |  Inquiry (79)  |  Labour (98)  |  Count Joseph-Louis de Lagrange (26)  |  Motion (312)  |  Must (1526)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (335)  |  Notation (27)  |  Obtain (163)  |  Orbit (82)  |  Physical (508)  |  Planet (357)  |  Principle (510)  |  Problem (679)  |  Pure Mathematics (67)  |  Purely (110)  |  Question (622)  |  Solution (269)  |  Time (1877)  |  Vanishing (11)  |  Variety (133)  |  Want (497)  |  Whole (738)

To unfold the secret laws and relations of those high faculties of thought by which all beyond the merely perceptive knowledge of the world and of ourselves is attained or matured, is a object which does not stand in need of commendation to a rational mind.
— George Boole
An Investigation of the Laws of Thought (1854), 3.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Attain (125)  |  Beyond (308)  |  Commendation (3)  |  Faculty (72)  |  High (363)  |  Knowledge (1536)  |  Law (895)  |  Matured (2)  |  Merely (316)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Need (290)  |  Object (422)  |  Ourself (13)  |  Ourselves (245)  |  Perception (97)  |  Perceptive (3)  |  Rational (91)  |  Relation (157)  |  Secret (195)  |  Stand (274)  |  Thought (954)  |  Unfold (12)  |  World (1778)



Quotes by others about George Boole (2)

Like Moliθre’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 Gφdel's Proof (1986, 2005), 30.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Analysis (234)  |  Aware (32)  |  Become (815)  |  Begin (260)  |  Being (1278)  |  Craft (10)  |  Doing (280)  |  Evident (91)  |  Knowing (137)  |  Life (1799)  |  Logic (287)  |  Mathematical Analysis (20)  |  Mathematician (389)  |  Mathematics (1333)  |  Millennia (4)  |  Modern (385)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Principle (510)  |  Prose (11)  |  Publication (102)  |  Real (149)  |  Reasoning (207)  |  Recent (77)  |  Renaissance (14)  |  Study (656)  |  Time (1877)  |  Tool (117)  |  Two (937)  |  Underlying (30)

Mathematics had never had more than a secondary interest for him [her husband, George Boole]; and even logic he cared for chiefly as a means of clearing the ground of doctrines imagined to be proved, by showing that the evidence on which they were supposed to give rest had no tendency to prove them. But he had been endeavoring to give a more active and positive help than this to the cause of what he deemed pure religion.
In Eleanor Meredith Cobham, Mary Everest Boole: Collected Works (1931), 40.
Science quotes on:  |  Active (76)  |  Car (71)  |  Cause (542)  |  Chiefly (47)  |  Doctrine (75)  |  Evidence (248)  |  Ground (218)  |  Interest (386)  |  Logic (287)  |  Mathematics (1333)  |  Mean (809)  |  Means (580)  |  More (2559)  |  Never (1087)  |  Positive (94)  |  Proof (289)  |  Prove (252)  |  Pure (292)  |  Religion (363)  |  Rest (281)  |  Secondary (14)  |  Tendency (99)


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)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History 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 |
- 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


by Ian Ellis
who invites your feedback
Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.