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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > Jorge Luis Borges Quotes

Jorge Luis Borges
(24 Aug 1899 - 14 Jun 1986)

Argentinian writer.

Science Quotes by Jorge Luis Borges (2 quotes)

Consider the eighth category, which deals with stones. Wilkins divides them into the following classifications: ordinary (flint, gravel, slate); intermediate (marble, amber, coral); precious (pearl, opal); transparent (amethyst, sapphire); and insoluble (coal, clay, and arsenic). The ninth category is almost as alarming as the eighth. It reveals that metals can be imperfect (vermilion, quicksilver); artificial (bronze, brass); recremental (filings, rust); and natural (gold, tin, copper). The whale appears in the sixteenth category: it is a viviparous, oblong fish. These ambiguities, redundances, and deficiencies recall those attributed by Dr. Franz Kuhn to a certain Chinese encyclopedia entitled Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge. On those remote pages it is written that animals are divided into (a) those that belong to the Emperor, (b) embalmed ones, (c) those that are trained, (d) suckling pigs, (e) mermaids, (f) fabulous ones, (g) stray dogs, (h) those that are included in this classification, (i) those that tremble as if they were mad, (j) innumerable ones, (k) those drawn with a very fine camel's hair brush, (l) others, (m) those that have just broken a flower vase, (n) those that resemble flies from a distance.
— Jorge Luis Borges
Other Inquisitions 1937-1952 (1964), trans. Ruth L. C. Simms, 103.
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Reality may avoid the obligation to be interesting, but ... hypotheses may not.
— Jorge Luis Borges
Lönnrot to Treviranus in 'Death and the Compass', trans. from the Spanish (1956) by Anthony Kerrigan, collected in Ficciones (1962), 130.
Science quotes on:  |  Avoid (116)  |  Hypothesis (296)  |  Interesting (153)  |  Obligation (25)  |  Reality (261)


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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