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Who said: “Nature does nothing in vain when less will serve; for Nature is pleased with simplicity and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes.”
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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index H > Albrecht von Haller Quotes

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Albrecht von Haller
(16 Oct 1708 - 12 Dec 1777)

Swiss physiologist and biologist who has been called the father of neurology (the study of the nervous system).

Science Quotes by Albrecht von Haller (4 quotes)

I call that part of the human body irritable, which becomes shorter upon being touched; very irritable if it contracts upon a slight touch, and the contrary if by a violent touch it contracts but little. I call that a sensible part of the human body, which upon being touched transmits the impression of it to the soul; and in brutes, in whom the existence of a soul is not so clear, I call those parts sensible, the Irritation of which occasions evident signs of pain and disquiet in the animal. On the contrary, I call that insensible, which being burnt, tore, pricked, or cut till it is quite destroyed, occasions no sign of pain nor convulsion, nor any sort of change in the situation of the body.
— Albrecht von Haller
'A Treatise on the Sensible and Irritable Parts of Animals' (Read 1752). Trans. 1755 and reprinted in Bulletin of the Institute of the History of Medicine, 1936, 4(2), 658-9.
Science quotes on:  |  Nerve (70)

Nature never jests.
— Albrecht von Haller
Reflexions sur le systθme de la Generation de M. de Buffon (1751), 50. Quoted in Jacques Roger, The Life Sciences in Eighteenth-Century French Thought, edited by Keith R. Benson, trans. Robert Ellrich (1997), 494.
Science quotes on:  |  Nature (1223)

The ovary of an ancestress will contain not only her daughter, but also her granddaughter, her great-grand-daughter, and her great-great-granddaughter, and if it is once proved that an ovary can contain many generations, there is no absurdity in saying that it contains them all.
— Albrecht von Haller
Science quotes on:  |  Heredity (53)

The result of all these experiments has given place to a new division of the parts of the human body, which I shall follow in this short essay, by distinguishing those which are susceptible of Irritability and Sensibility, from those which are not. But the theory, why some parts of the human body are endowed with these properties, while others are not, I shall not at all meddle with. For I am persuaded that the source of both lies concealed beyond the reach of the knife and microscope, beyond which I do not chuse to hazard many conjectures, as I have no desire of teaching what I am ignorant of myself. For the vanity of attempting to guide others in paths where we find ourselves in the dark, shews, in my humble opinion, the last degree of arrogance and ignorance.
— Albrecht von Haller
'A Treatise on the Sensible and Irritable Parts of Animals' (Read 1752). Trans. 1755 and reprinted in Bulletin of the Institute of the History of Medicine, 1936, 4(2), 657-8.
Science quotes on:  |  Anatomy (63)  |  Nerve (70)

See also:
  • 16 Oct - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Haller'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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