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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index T > Theophrastus Quotes

Theophrastus
(c. 372 B.C. - c. 287 B.C.)

Greek botanist.

Science Quotes by Theophrastus (4 quotes)

Alcmaeon was the first to define the difference between man and animals, saying that man differs from the latter in the fact that he alone has the power of understanding.
— Theophrastus
On Sense Perceptions, section 25. In Edwin Clarke and C. D. O'Malley, The Human Brain and Spinal Cord (1968), 3.
Science quotes on:  |  Alone (312)  |  Animal (617)  |  Differ (85)  |  Difference (337)  |  Fact (1212)  |  First (1284)  |  Man (2249)  |  Man And Animals (5)  |  Power (747)  |  Understanding (514)

Anaximenes ... also says that the underlying nature is one and infinite ... but not undefined as Anaximander said but definite, for he identifies it as air; and it differs in its substantial nature by rarity and density. Being made finer it becomes fire; being made thicker it becomes wind, then cloud, then (when thickened still more) water, then earth, then stones; and the rest come into being from these.
— Theophrastus
Simplicius, Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics, 24, 26-31, quoting Theophrastus on Anaximenes. In G. S. Kirk, J. E. Raven and M.Schofield (eds), The Presocratic Philosophers: A Critical History with a Selection of Texts (1983), p. 145.
Science quotes on:  |  Air (349)  |  Anaximenes (5)  |  Become (815)  |  Being (1278)  |  Cloud (104)  |  Definite (110)  |  Density (25)  |  Differ (85)  |  Earth (998)  |  Fire (189)  |  Infinite (233)  |  Matter (801)  |  More (2559)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Rarity (11)  |  Rest (281)  |  Say (984)  |  Still (613)  |  Stone (162)  |  Substantial (24)  |  Underlying (30)  |  Water (482)  |  Wind (128)

Spontaneous generation, to put the matter simply, takes place in smaller plants, especially in those that are annuals and herbaceous. But still it occasionally occurs too in larger plants whenever there is rainy weather or some peculiar condition of air or soil; for thus it is said that the silphium sprang up in Libya when a murky and heavy sort of wet weather condition occurred, and that the timber growth which is now there has come from some similar reason or other; for it was not there in former times.
— Theophrastus
De Causis Plantarum 1.5.1, in Robert Ewing Dengler (trans.) Theophrastus: De Causis Plantarum Book One: Text, Critical Apparatus, Translation, and Commentary, (1927), 31.
Science quotes on:  |  Air (349)  |  Annual (5)  |  Condition (357)  |  Former (137)  |  Generation (242)  |  Growth (188)  |  Heavy (24)  |  Herbaceous (2)  |  Large (394)  |  Matter (801)  |  Occasional (22)  |  Occur (150)  |  Occurence (2)  |  Other (2236)  |  Peculiar (113)  |  Plant (295)  |  Rain (63)  |  Reason (744)  |  Small (479)  |  Soil (86)  |  Spontaneous (27)  |  Spontaneous Generation (9)  |  Still (613)  |  Timber (7)  |  Time (1877)  |  Weather (46)  |  Whenever (81)

The natural attitude of inspection is prone; we do not often observe accurately any object that rises much above the level of the eye.
— Theophrastus
Concerning observing human nature. In The Characters of Theophrastus: Illustrated With Physionomical Sketches (1881), 7.
Science quotes on:  |  Accurately (7)  |  Attitude (82)  |  Do (1908)  |  Eye (423)  |  Inspection (7)  |  Level (67)  |  Natural (796)  |  Object (422)  |  Observe (168)  |  Prone (7)  |  Rise (166)


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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