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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index K > Wolfgang Köhler Quotes

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Wolfgang Köhler
(21 Jan 1887 - 11 Jun 1967)

Russo-German-American psychologist who significantly developed the Gestalt school of psychology. A century ago, Köhler began research on problem-solving in apes. His results provided insight into the psychology of thinking, which provided support for the tenets of the new Gestalt school.

Science Quotes by Wolfgang Köhler (4 quotes)

Wolfgang Köhler quote A chimpanzee kept in solitude…
Wolfgang Köhler

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At the present time it is of course quite customary for physicists to trespass on chemical ground, for mathematicians to do excellent work in physics, and for physicists to develop new mathematical procedures. … Trespassing is one of the most successful techniques in science.
— Wolfgang Köhler
In Dynamics in Psychology (1940, 1973), 116.
Science quotes on:  |  Chemistry (239)  |  Custom (24)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Physics (301)  |  Success (202)  |  Technique (41)  |  Trespassing (2)

If we wish to imitate the physical sciences, we must not imitate them in their contemporary, most developed form; we must imitate them in their historical youth, when their state of development was comparable to our own at the present time. Otherwise we should behave like boys who try to copy the imposing manners of full-grown men without understanding their raison d’être, also without seeing that in development one cannot jump over intermediate and preliminary phases.
— Wolfgang Köhler
Gestalt Psychology (1929), 32.
Science quotes on:  |  Psychology (125)

It is hardly an exaggeration to say that a chimpanzee kept in solitude is not a real chimpanzee at all.
— Wolfgang Köhler
The Mentality of Apes (1925), 293.
Science quotes on:  |  Ape (39)  |  Chimpanzee (12)

It would be interesting to inquire how many times essential advances in science have first been made possible by the fact that the boundaries of special disciplines were not respected… Trespassing is one of the most successful techniques in science.
— Wolfgang Köhler
Dynamics in Psychology (1940), 115-116
Science quotes on:  |  Progress (317)  |  Trespassing (2)

Quotes by others about Wolfgang Köhler (2)

I think that in order to achieve progress in the study of language and human cognitive faculties in general it is necessary first to establish 'psychic distance' from the 'mental facts' to which Köhler referred, and then to explore the possibilities for developing explanatory theories... We must recognize that even the most familiar phenomena require explanation and that we have no privileged access to the underlying mechanisms, no more so than in physiology or physics.
Language and Mind (1972, enlarged edition), 26.
Science quotes on:  |  Language (155)  |  Psychology (125)

Fortunately I experienced Max Wertheimer's teaching in Berlin and collaborated for over a decade with Wolfgang Köhler. I need not emphasize my debts to these outstanding personalities. The fundamental ideas of Gestalt theory are the foundation of all our investigations in the field of the will, of affection, and of the personality.
From A Dynamic Theory of Personality. Selected papers (1935), 240.
Science quotes on:  |  Affection (14)  |  Debt (7)  |  Field (119)  |  Foundation (75)  |  Fundamental (122)  |  Gestalt (3)  |  Idea (440)  |  Investigation (123)  |  Outstanding (3)  |  Personality (40)  |  Theory (582)  |  Max Wertheimer (9)

See also:
  • 21 Jan - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Köhler's birth.
  • Wolfgang Köhler - context of quote “A chimpanzee kept in solitude… ” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • Wolfgang Köhler - context of quote “A chimpanzee kept in solitude… ” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • Wolfgang Köhler - context of quote “Trespassing is one of the most successful techniques in science.” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • Wolfgang Köhler - context of quote “Trespassing is one of the most successful techniques in science.” - Large image (800 x 400 px)

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 EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

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