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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index M > Marin Mersenne Quotes

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Marin Mersenne
(8 Sep 1588 - 1 Sep 1648)

French mathematician, natural philosopher and theologian.


Science Quotes by Marin Mersenne (4 quotes)

...for the animals, which we resemble and which would be our equals if we did not have reason, do not reflect upon the actions or the passions of their external or internal senses, and do not know what is color, odor or sound, or if there is any differences between these objects, to which they are moved rather than moving themselves there. This comes about by the force of the impression that the different objects make on their organs and on their senses, for they cannot discern if it is more appropriate to go and drink or eat or do something else, and they do not eat or drink or do anything else except when the presence of objects or the animal imagination [l'imagination brutalle], necessitates them and transports them to their objects, without their knowing what they do, whether good or bad; which would happen to us just as to them if we were destitute of reason, for they have no enlightenment except what they must have to take their nourishment and to serve us for the uses to which God has destined them.
[Arguing the uniqueness of man by regarding animals to be merely automatons.].
— Marin Mersenne
Les Prιludes de l'Harmonie Universelle (1634), 135-139. In Charles Coulston Gillespie (ed.), Dictionary of Scientific Biography (1974), Vol. 9, 318.
Science quotes on:  |  Action (327)  |  Animal (617)  |  Appropriate (61)  |  Automaton (12)  |  Bad (180)  |  Color (137)  |  Destined (42)  |  Destiny (50)  |  Destitution (2)  |  Difference (337)  |  Different (577)  |  Discern (33)  |  Discerning (16)  |  Do (1908)  |  Drink (53)  |  Eat (104)  |  Enlightenment (20)  |  Equal (83)  |  Force (487)  |  God (757)  |  Good (889)  |  Happen (274)  |  Imagination (328)  |  Impression (114)  |  Internal (66)  |  Know (1518)  |  Knowing (137)  |  Man (2251)  |  Mankind (339)  |  Merely (316)  |  More (2559)  |  Must (1526)  |  Necessity (191)  |  Nourishment (26)  |  Object (422)  |  Odor (10)  |  Organ (115)  |  Passion (114)  |  Presence (63)  |  Reason (744)  |  Resemblance (38)  |  Resemble (63)  |  Sense (770)  |  Serve (59)  |  Something (719)  |  Sound (183)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Transport (30)  |  Uniqueness (11)  |  Use (766)

Philosophy would long ago have reached a high level if our predecessors and fathers had put this into practice; and we would not waste time on the primary difficulties, which appear now as severe as in the first centuries which noticed them. We would have the experience of assured phenomena, which would serve as principles for a solid reasoning; truth would not be so deeply sunken; nature would have taken off most of her envelopes; one would see the marvels she contains in all her individuals. ...
— Marin Mersenne
Les Prιludes de l'Harmonie Universelle (1634), 135-139. In Charles Coulston Gillispie (ed.), Dictionary of Scientific Biography (1974), Vol. 9, 316.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Appearance (140)  |  Century (310)  |  Contain (68)  |  Difficulty (196)  |  Envelope (6)  |  Experience (467)  |  Father (110)  |  First (1283)  |  High (362)  |  Individual (404)  |  Long (790)  |  Marvel (35)  |  Most (1731)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Notice (77)  |  Phenomenon (318)  |  Philosophy (380)  |  Practice (204)  |  Predecessor (29)  |  Primary (80)  |  Principle (507)  |  Reach (281)  |  Reasoning (207)  |  See (1081)  |  Severity (6)  |  Sinking (6)  |  Solid (116)  |  Time (1877)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Waste (101)

The sciences have sworn among themselves an inviolable partnership; it is almost impossible to separate them, for they would rather suffer than be torn apart; and if anyone persists in doing so, he gets for his trouble only imperfect and confused fragments. Yet they do not arrive all together, but they hold each other by the hand so that they follow one another in a natural order which it is dangerous to change, because they refuse to enter in any other way where they are called. ...
— Marin Mersenne
Les Prιludes de l'Harmonie Universelle (1634), 135-139. In Charles Coulston Gillespie (ed.), Dictionary of Scientific Biography (1974), Vol. 9, 316.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Apart (7)  |  Call (769)  |  Change (593)  |  Confusion (57)  |  Danger (115)  |  Dangerous (105)  |  Do (1908)  |  Doing (280)  |  Enter (141)  |  Follow (378)  |  Following (16)  |  Fragment (54)  |  Hold (95)  |  Imperfect (45)  |  Imperfection (31)  |  Impossibility (61)  |  Impossible (251)  |  Inviolable (2)  |  Natural (796)  |  Order (632)  |  Other (2236)  |  Partnership (4)  |  Persistence (24)  |  Refusal (22)  |  Refuse (42)  |  Science (3879)  |  Separate (143)  |  Separation (57)  |  Suffering (67)  |  Tear (42)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Together (387)  |  Torn (17)  |  Trouble (107)  |  Way (1217)

[Animals] do not so much act as be put into action, and that objects make an impression on their senses such that it is necessary for them to follow it just as it is necessary for the wheels of a clock to follow the weights and the spring that pulls them.
[In his philosophy, he regarded animals to be merely automatons.].
— Marin Mersenne
'Traitez de la voix', Harmonie Universelle (1637), Vol. 1, prop. lii, 79. In Charles Coulston Gillespie (ed.), Dictionary of Scientific Biography (1974), Vol. 9, 318.
Science quotes on:  |  Act (272)  |  Action (327)  |  Animal (617)  |  Automaton (12)  |  Clock (47)  |  Do (1908)  |  Follow (378)  |  Following (16)  |  Impression (114)  |  Merely (316)  |  Necessary (363)  |  Necessity (191)  |  Object (422)  |  Philosophy (380)  |  Pull (43)  |  Regard (305)  |  Sense (770)  |  Spring (133)  |  Weight (134)  |  Wheel (50)


See also:
  • 8 Sep - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Mersenne'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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