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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index L > Georg Christoph Lichtenberg Quotes > Truth

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Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
(1 Jul 1742 - 24 Feb 1799)

German physicist and writer most widely known for his satire and aphorisms, but as a scientist, Lichtenberg did research in a wide variety of fields, including geophysics, volcanology, meteorology, chemistry, astronomy, mathematics, but especially physics. He discovered the basic physical process later used in xerographic copiers.


Georg Christoph Lichtenberg Quotes on Truth (5 quotes)

>> Click for 73 Science Quotes by Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

>> Click for Georg Christoph Lichtenberg Quotes on | Belief | Discovery | Genius | Man | Nature | Science | Theory | Thinking | World |

If it were true what in the end would be gained? Nothing but another truth. Is this such a mighty advantage? We have enough old truths still to digest, and even these we would be quite unable to endure if we did not sometimes flavor them with lies.
— Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Aphorism 10 in Notebook E (1775-1776), as translated by R.J. Hollingdale in Aphorisms (1990). Reprinted as The Waste Books (2000), 63.
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The great artifice of regarding small deviations from the truth as being the truth itself is at the same time the foundation of wit, where the whole thing would often collapse if we were to regard these deviations in a spirit of philosophical rigor.
— Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Aphorism from Georg Christoph Lichtenberg and R.J. Hollingdale (trans.) 'Notebook A: 1765-1770', The Waste Books (1990), 4. Also seen translated as, “The great trick of regarding small departures from the truth as the truth itself—on which is founded the entire integral calculus—is also the basis of our witty speculations, where the whole thing would often collapse if we considered the departures with philosophical rigour,” for example, as quoted in FractalVision: Put Fractals to Work For You (1992), 5, citing Aphorisms: 1764-1799.
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The most dangerous untruths are truths slightly distorted.
— Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Aphorism 7 in Notebook H, as translated by R.J. Hollingdale in Aphorisms (1990).
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To see every day how people get the name “genius” just as the wood-lice in the cellar the name “millipede”—not because they have that many feet, but because most people don't want to count to 14—this has had the result that I don't believe anyone any more without checking.
— Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Lichtenberg: Aphorisms & Letters (1969), 48, translated by Franz H. Mautner and Henry Hatfield.
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When they have discovered truth in nature they fling it into a book, where it is in even worse hands.
— Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Aphorism 62 in Notebook E (1775-1776), as translated by R.J. Hollingdale in Aphorisms (1990). Reprinted as The Waste Books (2000), 73.
Science quotes on:  |  Book (394)  |  Discover (553)  |  Discovery (785)  |  Fling (5)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Truth (1062)  |  Worse (24)


See also:
  • 1 Jul - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Lichtenberg'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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