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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > Ludwig Büchner Quotes

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Ludwig Büchner
(29 Mar 1824 - 1 May 1899)

German physician and philosopher.

Science Quotes by Ludwig Büchner (8 quotes)

Ohne Phosphor, Kein Gedanke.
Without phosphorus there would be no thought.
[This is wrongly attributed to Büchner.]
— Ludwig Büchner
Bückner did not originate this quote, even though some sources state “Attributed.” It is included here to provide this correction. Büchner himself quotes it, but credits it as Jakob “Moleschott’s well-known phrase” in Kraft und Stoff (1856), lxxv; translated by the author from the 15th German edition in Force and Matter: Or, Principles of the Natural Order of the Universe (1891), 217. Büchner states that it is from Jakob Moleschott’s book, Lehre der Nahrungsmittel. (That title translates as Science of Food and in the 1850 edition, the maxim in on p.115.) Büchner and Moleschott were contemporaries, and they held the same philosophic view of scientific materialism.
Science quotes on:  |  Phosphorus (15)  |  Thinking (222)

A creative force that either creates itself or arises from nothing, and which is a causa sui (its own cause), exactly resembles Baron Munchhausen, who drew himself out of the bog by taking hold of his own hair.
— Ludwig Büchner
From Force and Matter: Or, Principles of the Natural Order of the Universe (15th ed. 1884), 10.
Science quotes on:  |  Arise (32)  |  Bog (5)  |  Cause (231)  |  Creative (41)  |  Force (194)  |  Hair (19)  |  Hold (56)  |  Nothing (267)

The universe, as we see it, is the result of regularly working forces, having a causal connection with each other and therefore capable of being understood by human reason.
— Ludwig Büchner
From Force and Matter: Or, Principles of the Natural Order of the Universe (1884), Preface to the 15th edition, x.
Science quotes on:  |  Capable (26)  |  Causal (6)  |  Connection (86)  |  Force (194)  |  Human (445)  |  Reason (330)  |  Regularly (3)  |  Result (250)  |  Understood (9)  |  Universe (563)  |  Working (20)

The useless search of philosophers for a cause of the universe is a regressus in infinitum (a stepping backwards into the infinite) and resembles climbing up an endless ladder, the recurring question as to the cause of the cause rendering the attainment of a final goal impossible.
— Ludwig Büchner
From Force and Matter: Or, Principles of the Natural Order of the Universe (15th ed. 1884), 10.
Science quotes on:  |  Attainment (35)  |  Backward (6)  |  Cause (231)  |  Climbing (4)  |  Endless (20)  |  Final (33)  |  Goal (81)  |  Impossible (68)  |  Infinite (88)  |  Ladder (7)  |  Philosopher (132)  |  Question (315)  |  Recurring (2)  |  Rendering (6)  |  Resemble (16)  |  Search (85)  |  Universe (563)  |  Useless (24)

We are sorry to confess that biological hypotheses have not yet completely got out of the second phase, and that ghost of ‘vital force’ still haunts many wise heads.
— Ludwig Büchner
From Force and Matter: Or, Principles of the Natural Order of the Universe (15th ed. 1884), 13.
Science quotes on:  |  Biological (21)  |  Completely (19)  |  Confess (9)  |  Ghost (20)  |  Haunt (3)  |  Head (52)  |  Hypothesis (227)  |  Phase (14)  |  Second (33)  |  Sorry (16)  |  Vital Force (2)  |  Wise (43)

What we still designate as chance, merely depends on a concatenation of circumstances, the internal connection and final causes of which we have as yet been unable to unravel.
— Ludwig Büchner
Force and Matter (1884), 226.
Science quotes on:  |  Cause (231)  |  Chance (122)

Where there are three students of nature, there are two atheists.
— Ludwig Büchner
Epigraph in Ludwig Büchner, Force and Matter: Or, Principles of the Natural Order of the Universe (1891), 1. It is given in parentheses, without attribution, but in the Preface Buchner states that if the name of a “poet” is not given, it is a contribution by the author.
Science quotes on:  |  Atheist (13)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Student (131)

Without matter no force, without force no matter.
— Ludwig Büchner
Büchner’s axiomatic summary, after giving quotations of several scientists expressing, in various ways, the same concept. He credited Moleschott’s statements as giving him the impulse to write his own book (1855) on force and matter. The subject quote is in Ludwig Bückner’s translation into English from the 15th German edition (1884), enlarged and revised, as Force and Matter: Or, Principles of the Natural Order of the Universe (4th ed. reprint, 1891), 2-3.
Science quotes on:  |  Force (194)  |  Matter (270)

See also:
  • 29 Mar - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Büchner's birth.

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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