Celebrating 19 Years on the Web
TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY ®
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “A change in motion is proportional to the motive force impressed and takes place along the straight line in which that force is impressed.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index P > Category: Potentiality

Potentiality Quotes (9 quotes)

All revolutionary advances in science may consist less of sudden and dramatic revelations than a series of transformations, of which the revolutionary significance may not be seen (except afterwards, by historians) until the last great step. In many cases the full potentiality and force of a most radical step in such a sequence of transformations may not even be manifest to its author.
The Newtonian Revolution (1980), 162.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (280)  |  All (4108)  |  Author (167)  |  Consist (223)  |  Consisting (5)  |  Dramatic (17)  |  Force (487)  |  Great (1574)  |  Historian (54)  |  History Of Science (63)  |  Last (426)  |  Manifest (21)  |  Most (1731)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Radical (25)  |  Revelation (48)  |  Revolutionary (31)  |  Science (3879)  |  Sequence (68)  |  Series (149)  |  Significance (113)  |  Step (231)  |  Sudden (67)  |  Transformation (69)

Among natural bodies some have, and some have not, life; and by life we mean the faculties of self-nourishment, self-growth and self-decay. Thus every natural body partaking of life may be regarded as an essential existence; … but then it is an existence only in combination. … And since the organism is such a combination, being possessed of life, it cannot be the Vital Principle. Therefore it follows that the Vital Principle most be an essence, as being the form of a natural body, holding life in potentiality; but essence is a reality (entetechie). The Vital Principle is the original reality of a natural body endowed with potential life; this, however, is to be understood only of a body which may be organized. Thus the parts even of plants are organs, but they are organs that are altogether simple; as the leaf which is the covering of the pericarp, the pericarp of the fruit. If, then, there be any general formula for every kind of Vital Principle, it is—tthe primary reality of an organism.
Aristotle
In George Henry Lewes, Aristotle (1864), 231.
Science quotes on:  |  Being (1278)  |  Body (537)  |  Combination (144)  |  Covering (14)  |  Decay (53)  |  Endowed (52)  |  Essence (82)  |  Essential (199)  |  Existence (456)  |  Follow (378)  |  Form (959)  |  Formula (98)  |  Fruit (102)  |  General (511)  |  Growth (187)  |  Kind (557)  |  Leaf (66)  |  Life (1795)  |  Mean (809)  |  Most (1731)  |  Natural (796)  |  Nourishment (26)  |  Organ (115)  |  Organism (220)  |  Plant (294)  |  Possess (156)  |  Potential (69)  |  Primary (80)  |  Principle (507)  |  Reality (261)  |  Regard (305)  |  Self (267)  |  Simple (406)  |  Understood (156)  |  Vital (85)

For Linnaeus, Homo sapiens was both special and not special ... Special and not special have come to mean nonbiological and biological, or nurture and nature. These later polarizations are nonsensical. Humans are animals and everything we do lies within our biological potential ... the statement that humans are animals does not imply that our specific patterns of behavior and social arrangements are in any way directly determined by our genes. Potentiality and determination are different concepts.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (617)  |  Arrangement (91)  |  Behavior (84)  |  Biological (137)  |  Both (493)  |  Concept (221)  |  Determination (78)  |  Determine (144)  |  Different (577)  |  Directly (22)  |  Do (1908)  |  Everything (476)  |  Gene (98)  |  Homo Sapiens (23)  |  Human (1468)  |  Imply (17)  |  Late (118)  |  Lie (364)  |  Carolus Linnaeus (31)  |  Mean (809)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Nurture (16)  |  Pattern (110)  |  Polarization (4)  |  Potential (69)  |  Social (252)  |  Special (184)  |  Specific (95)  |  Statement (142)  |  Way (1217)

It appears unlikely that the role of the genes in development is to be understood so long as the genes are considered as dictatorial elements in the cellular economy. It is not enough to know what a gene does when it manifests itself. One must also know the mechanisms determining which of the many gene-controlled potentialities will be realized.
'The Role of the Cytoplasm in Heredity', in William D. McElroy and Bentley Glass (eds.), A Symposium on the Chemical Basis of Heredity (1957), 162.
Science quotes on:  |  Cell (138)  |  Consider (416)  |  Determination (78)  |  Development (422)  |  Economy (55)  |  Element (310)  |  Enough (340)  |  Gene (98)  |  Know (1518)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Long (790)  |  Manifestation (58)  |  Mechanism (96)  |  Must (1526)  |  Realization (43)  |  Role (86)  |  Understanding (513)  |  Understood (156)  |  Will (2355)

Pride is a sense of worth derived from something that is not organically part of us, while self-esteem derives from the potentialities and achievements of the self. We are proud when we identify ourselves with an imaginary self, a leader, a holy cause, a collective body or possessions. There is fear and intolerance in pride; it is sensitive and uncompromising. The less promise and potency in the self, the more imperative is the need for pride. The core of pride is self-rejection.
In The Passionate State of Mind (1955), 23.
Science quotes on:  |  Achievement (179)  |  Body (537)  |  Cause (541)  |  Collective (24)  |  Core (18)  |  Derive (65)  |  Fear (197)  |  Holy (34)  |  Identify (13)  |  Imaginary (16)  |  Imperative (15)  |  Intolerance (8)  |  Leader (43)  |  Less (103)  |  More (2559)  |  Need (290)  |  Ourselves (245)  |  Part (222)  |  Possession (65)  |  Potency (10)  |  Pride (78)  |  Promise (67)  |  Rejection (34)  |  Self (267)  |  Self-Esteem (6)  |  Sense (770)  |  Sensitive (14)  |  Something (719)  |  Worth (169)

The other line of argument, which leads to the opposite conclusion, arises from looking at artificial automata. Everyone knows that a machine tool is more complicated than the elements which can be made with it, and that, generally speaking, an automaton A, which can make an automaton B, must contain a complete description of B, and also rules on how to behave while effecting the synthesis. So, one gets a very strong impression that complication, or productive potentiality in an organization, is degenerative, that an organization which synthesizes something is necessarily more complicated, of a higher order, than the organization it synthesizes. This conclusion, arrived at by considering artificial automaton, is clearly opposite to our early conclusion, arrived at by considering living organisms.
From lecture series on self-replicating machines at the University of Illinois, Lecture 5 (Dec 1949), 'Re-evaluation of the Problems of Complicated Automata—Problems of Hierarchy and Evolution', Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata (1966).
Science quotes on:  |  Argument (138)  |  Arise (158)  |  Artificial (33)  |  Automaton (12)  |  Complete (204)  |  Complicated (115)  |  Complication (29)  |  Conclusion (254)  |  Contain (68)  |  Degenerative (2)  |  Description (84)  |  Early (185)  |  Element (310)  |  Impression (114)  |  Know (1518)  |  Lead (384)  |  Living (491)  |  Looking (189)  |  Machine (257)  |  More (2559)  |  Must (1526)  |  Necessarily (135)  |  Opposite (104)  |  Order (632)  |  Organism (220)  |  Organization (114)  |  Other (2236)  |  Productive (32)  |  Rule (294)  |  Something (719)  |  Speaking (119)  |  Strong (174)  |  Synthesis (57)  |  Tool (117)

There are some men who are counted great because they represent the actuality of their own age, and mirror it as it is. Such an one was Voltaire, of whom it was epigrammatically said: “he expressed everybody's thoughts better than anyone.” But there are other men who attain greatness because they embody the potentiality of their own day and magically reflect the future. They express the thoughts which will be everybody's two or three centuries after them. Such as one was Descartes.
Quoted in James Roy Newman, The World of Mathematics (2000), Vol. 1, 239.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Actuality (6)  |  Age (499)  |  Attain (125)  |  Better (486)  |  Count (105)  |  Renι Descartes (81)  |  Everybody (70)  |  Express (186)  |  Future (429)  |  Great (1574)  |  Greatness (54)  |  Mirror (41)  |  Other (2236)  |  Represent (155)  |  Thought (953)  |  Two (937)  |  Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire (38)  |  Will (2355)

There will one day spring from the brain of science a machine or force so fearful in its potentialities, so absolutely terrifying, that even man, the fighter, who will dare torture and death in order to inflict torture and death, will be appalled, and so abandon war forever.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Abandon (68)  |  Absolutely (39)  |  Appalled (2)  |  Brain (270)  |  Dare (50)  |  Death (388)  |  Fearful (7)  |  Fighter (4)  |  Force (487)  |  Forever (103)  |  Inflict (4)  |  Machine (257)  |  Man (2251)  |  Order (632)  |  Science (3879)  |  Spring (133)  |  Terrify (11)  |  Torture (29)  |  War (225)  |  Will (2355)

When people talk of atoms obeying fixed laws, they are either ascribing some kind of intelligence and free will to atoms or they are talking nonsense. There is no obedience unless there is at any rate a potentiality of disobeying.
Samuel Butler, Henry Festing Jones (ed.), The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1917), 72.
Science quotes on:  |  Ascribing (2)  |  Atom (355)  |  Disobedience (4)  |  Free (232)  |  Free Will (15)  |  Intelligence (211)  |  Kind (557)  |  Law (894)  |  Nonsense (48)  |  Obedience (19)  |  Obey (40)  |  People (1005)  |  Talk (100)  |  Talking (76)  |  Will (2355)


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 Einstein • Isaac Newton • Lord Kelvin • Charles Darwin • Srinivasa Ramanujan • Carl Sagan • Florence Nightingale • Thomas Edison • Aristotle • Marie Curie • Benjamin Franklin • Winston Churchill • Galileo Galilei • Sigmund Freud • Robert Bunsen • Louis Pasteur • Theodore Roosevelt • Abraham Lincoln • Ronald Reagan • Leonardo DaVinci • Michio Kaku • Karl Popper • Johann Goethe • Robert Oppenheimer • Charles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about: • Atomic  Bomb • Biology • Chemistry • Deforestation • Engineering • Anatomy • Astronomy • Bacteria • Biochemistry • Botany • Conservation • Dinosaur • Environment • Fractal • Genetics • Geology • History of Science • Invention • Jupiter • Knowledge • Love • Mathematics • Measurement • Medicine • Natural Resource • Organic Chemistry • Physics • Physician • Quantum Theory • Research • Science and Art • Teacher • Technology • Universe • Volcano • Virus • Wind Power • Women Scientists • X-Rays • Youth • Zoology  ... (more topics)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History pages:
Visit our Science and Scientist Quotations index for more Science Quotes from archaeologists, biologists, chemists, geologists, inventors and inventions, mathematicians, physicists, pioneers in medicine, science events and technology.

Names index: | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

Categories index: | 1 | 2 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton



who invites your feedback
Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.