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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index S > Erwin Schrödinger Quotes > World

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Erwin Schrödinger
(12 Aug 1887 - 4 Jan 1961)

Austrian theoretical physicist who made early major contributions in the development of quantum theory.


Erwin Schrödinger Quotes on World (15 quotes)

>> Click for 58 Science Quotes by Erwin Schrödinger

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Bohr’s standpoint, that a space-time description is impossible, I reject a limine. Physics does not consist only of atomic research, science does not consist only of physics, and life does not consist only of science. The aim of atomic research is to fit our empirical knowledge concerning it into our other thinking. All of this other thinking, so far as it concerns the outer world, is active in space and time. If it cannot be fitted into space and time, then it fails in its whole aim and one does not know what purpose it really serves.
— Erwin Schrödinger
Letter to Willy Wien (25 Aug 1926). Quoted in Walter Moore, Schrödinger: Life and Thought (1989), 226.
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Consciousness is never experienced in the plural, only in the singular. Not only has none of us ever experienced more than one consciousness, but there is also no trace of circumstantial evidence of this ever happening anywhere in the world. If I say that there cannot be more than one consciousness in the same mind, this seems a blunt tautology–we are quite unable to imagine the contrary.
— Erwin Schrödinger
…...
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I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.
— Erwin Schrödinger
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If we were bees, ants, or Lacedaemonian warriors, to whom personal fear does not exist and cowardice is the most shameful thing in the world, warring would go on forever. But luckily we are only men—and cowards.
— Erwin Schrödinger
In first Tarner Lecture, at Trinity College, Cambridge (Oct 1956), 'The Physical Basis of Consciousness', printed in Mind and Matter (1958), 14. Also collected in What is Life?: With Mind and Matter and Autobiographical Sketches (1992, 2012), 102.
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In particular, and most importantly, this is the reason why the scientific worldview contains of itself no ethical values, no esthetical values, not a word about our own ultimate scope or destination, and no God, if you please. Whence came I and whither go I?
— Erwin Schrödinger
…...
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Nature has no reverence towards life. Nature treats life as though it were the most valueless thing in the world. … Nature does not act by purposes.
— Erwin Schrödinger
In Tarner Lecture, at Trinity College, Cambridge (Oct 1956), 'The Arithmetical Paradox: The Oneness of Mind', printed in Mind and Matter (1958), 66. Also collected in What is Life?: With Mind and Matter and Autobiographical Sketches (1992, 2012), 138.
Science quotes on:  |  Act (272)  |  Life (1799)  |  Most (1729)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Purpose (317)  |  Reverence (28)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Treat (35)  |  Valueless (3)  |  World (1778)

On principle, there is nothing new in the postulate that in the end exact science should aim at nothing more than the description of what can really be observed. The question is only whether from now on we shall have to refrain from tying description to a clear hypothesis about the real nature of the world. There are many who wish to pronounce such abdication even today. But I believe that this means making things a little too easy for oneself.
— Erwin Schrödinger
…...
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The great thing [about Kant’s philosophy] was to form the idea that this one thing—mind or world—may well be capable of other forms of appearance that we cannot grasp and that do not imply the notions of space and time. This means an imposing liberation from our inveterate prejudice.
— Erwin Schrödinger
…...
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The material world has only been constructed at the price of taking the self, that is, mind, out of it, removing it; mind is not part of it.
— Erwin Schrödinger
In Tarner Lecture, at Trinity College, Cambridge (Oct 1956), 'The Principle of Objectivation', printed in Mind and Matter (1958), 39. Also collected in What is Life?: With Mind and Matter and Autobiographical Sketches (1992, 2012), 119.
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The observing mind is not a physical system, it cannot interact with any physical system. And it might be better to reserve the term ‘subject ‘ for the observing mind ... For the subject, if anything, is the thing that senses and thinks. Sensations and thoughts do not belong to the ‘world of energy.’
— Erwin Schrödinger
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The scientific world-picture vouchsafes a very complete understanding of all that happens–it makes it just a little too understandable. It allows you to imagine the total display as that of a mechanical clockwork which, for all that science knows, could go on just the same as it does, without there being consciousness, will, endeavor, pain and delight and responsibility connected with it–though they actually are. And the reason for this disconcerting situation is just this: that for the purpose of constructing the picture of the external world, we have used the greatly simplifying device of cutting our own personality out, removing it; hence it is gone, it has evaporated, it is ostensibly not needed.
— Erwin Schrödinger
…...
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The world is a construct of our sensations, perceptions, memories. It is convenient to regard it as existing objectively on its own. But it certainly does not become manifest by its mere existence.
— Erwin Schrödinger
Opening remark in first Tarner Lecture, at Trinity College, Cambridge (Oct 1956), 'The Physical Basis of Consciousness', printed in Mind and Matter (1958), 1. Also collected in What is Life?: With Mind and Matter and Autobiographical Sketches (1992, 2012).
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The world is given to me only once, not one existing and one perceived. Subject and object are only one. The barrier between them cannot be said to have broken down as a result of recent experience in the physical sciences, for this barrier does not exist.
— Erwin Schrödinger
Concluding remark in Lecture, 'The Principle of Objectivation', the Tarner Lectures Delivered at Trinity College, Cambridge (Oct 1956), published in Mind and Matter (1958). Reprinted in collection What is Life?: With Mind and Matter and Autobiographical Sketches (1992, 2006), 127
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We do not belong to this material world that science constructs for us. We are not in it; we are outside. We are only spectators. The reason why we believe that we are in it, that we belong to the picture, is that our bodies are in the picture. Our bodies belong to it. Not only my own body, but those of my friends, also of my dog and cat and horse, and of all the other people and animals. And this is my only means of communicating with them.
— Erwin Schrödinger
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Would it (the world) otherwise (without consciousness) have remained a play before empty benches, not existing for anybody, thus quite properly not existing?
— Erwin Schrödinger
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Science quotes on:  |  Anybody (42)  |  Bench (8)  |  Consciousness (123)  |  Empty (80)  |  Exist (444)  |  Otherwise (24)  |  Play (111)  |  Properly (20)  |  Remain (349)  |  World (1778)


See also:
  • 12 Aug - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Schrödinger's birth.
  • Schrödinger: Life and Thought, by Walter J. Moore. - book suggestion.

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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- 40 -
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