Celebrating 20 Years on the Web
TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY ®
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Politics is more difficult than physics.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index W > William Whewell Quotes > Phenomenon

Thumbnail of William Whewell (source)
William Whewell
(24 May 1794 - 6 Mar 1866)

English scholar and philosopher known for his survey of the scientific method and for creating scientific words, including the word “scientist.”


William Whewell Quotes on Phenomenon (8 quotes)

>> Click for 64 Science Quotes by William Whewell

>> Click for William Whewell Quotes on | Discovery | Fact | Geology | Hypothesis | Knowledge | Law | Nature | Observation | Science | Truth |

By science, then, I understand the consideration of all subjects, whether of a pure or mixed nature, capable of being reduced to measurement and calculation. All things comprehended under the categories of space, time and number properly belong to our investigations; and all phenomena capable of being brought under the semblance of a law are legitimate objects of our inquiries.
— William Whewell
In Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (1833), xxviii.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Being (1278)  |  Belong (162)  |  Calculation (128)  |  Capability (41)  |  Capable (168)  |  Comprehension (66)  |  Consideration (139)  |  Investigation (231)  |  Law (895)  |  Legitimate (25)  |  Measurement (174)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Number (701)  |  Object (422)  |  Phenomenon (319)  |  Pure (292)  |  Reduction (51)  |  Science (3880)  |  Semblance (5)  |  Space (501)  |  Subject (522)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Time (1877)  |  Time And Space (39)  |  Understand (607)  |  Understanding (514)

It is a test of true theories not only to account for but to predict phenomena.
— William Whewell
Aphorism 12, 'Aphorisms Concerning Science', The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences (1840), Vol. 1, xxxvi.
Science quotes on:  |  Account (192)  |  Phenomenon (319)  |  Predict (80)  |  Test (212)  |  Theory (972)  |  True (214)

The Greeks in the first vigour of their pursuit of mathematical truth, at the time of Plato and soon after, had by no means confined themselves to those propositions which had a visible bearing on the phenomena of nature; but had followed out many beautiful trains of research concerning various kinds of figures, for the sake of their beauty alone; as for instance in their doctrine of Conic Sections, of which curves they had discovered all the principal properties. But it is curious to remark, that these investigations, thus pursued at first as mere matters of curiosity and intellectual gratification, were destined, two thousand years later, to play a very important part in establishing that system of celestial motions which succeeded the Platonic scheme of cycles and epicycles. If the properties of conic sections had not been demonstrated by the Greeks and thus rendered familiar to the mathematicians of succeeding ages, Kepler would probably not have been able to discover those laws respecting the orbits and motions of planets which were the occasion of the greatest revolution that ever happened in the history of science.
— William Whewell
In History of Scientific Ideas, Bk. 9, chap. 14, sect. 3.
Science quotes on:  |  Age (499)  |  All (4107)  |  Alone (312)  |  Bear (159)  |  Beautiful (259)  |  Beauty (300)  |  Celestial (53)  |  Concern (228)  |  Confine (26)  |  Conic Section (8)  |  Curiosity (128)  |  Curious (91)  |  Curve (49)  |  Cycle (41)  |  Demonstrate (77)  |  Destined (42)  |  Discover (553)  |  Doctrine (75)  |  Epicycle (4)  |  Establish (57)  |  Familiar (43)  |  Figure (160)  |  First (1284)  |  Follow (379)  |  Gratification (20)  |  Great (1575)  |  Greatest (329)  |  Greek (107)  |  Happen (275)  |  Happened (88)  |  History (675)  |  History Of Science (64)  |  Important (210)  |  Instance (33)  |  Intellectual (255)  |  Investigation (231)  |  Kepler (4)  |  Kind (557)  |  Late (118)  |  Law (895)  |  Mathematician (389)  |  Mathematics (1333)  |  Matter (801)  |  Mean (809)  |  Means (580)  |  Mere (84)  |  Motion (312)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Occasion (85)  |  Orbit (82)  |  Part (222)  |  Phenomenon (319)  |  Planet (357)  |  Plato (76)  |  Platonic (3)  |  Play (111)  |  Principal (63)  |  Probably (49)  |  Property (169)  |  Proposition (123)  |  Pursue (58)  |  Pursuit (121)  |  Remark (28)  |  Render (93)  |  Research (677)  |  Respect (207)  |  Revolution (129)  |  Sake (58)  |  Scheme (57)  |  Science (3880)  |  Soon (186)  |  Study And Research In Mathematics (61)  |  Succeed (109)  |  Succeeding (14)  |  System (537)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Thousand (331)  |  Time (1877)  |  Train (114)  |  Truth (1062)  |  Two (937)  |  Various (200)  |  Vigour (18)  |  Visible (84)  |  Year (932)

The hypotheses which we accept ought to explain phenomena which we have observed. But they ought to do more than this; our hypotheses ought to foretell phenomena which have not yet been observed; ... because if the rule prevails, it includes all cases; and will determine them all, if we can only calculate its real consequences. Hence it will predict the results of new combinations, as well as explain the appearances which have occurred in old ones. And that it does this with certainty and correctness, is one mode in which the hypothesis is to be verified as right and useful.
— William Whewell
Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences (1847), Vol. 2, 62-63.
Science quotes on:  |  Accept (192)  |  Acceptance (53)  |  All (4107)  |  Appearance (140)  |  Calculate (54)  |  Certainty (174)  |  Combination (144)  |  Consequence (207)  |  Correctness (12)  |  Determine (144)  |  Do (1908)  |  Explain (322)  |  Explanation (234)  |  Foretell (12)  |  Hypothesis (296)  |  Include (90)  |  More (2559)  |  New (1217)  |  Observation (560)  |  Observed (149)  |  Occurrence (53)  |  Old (480)  |  Phenomenon (319)  |  Predict (80)  |  Prediction (82)  |  Prevail (46)  |  Result (678)  |  Right (452)  |  Rule (295)  |  Useful (250)  |  Will (2354)

The ideas which these sciences, Geometry, Theoretical Arithmetic and Algebra involve extend to all objects and changes which we observe in the external world; and hence the consideration of mathematical relations forms a large portion of many of the sciences which treat of the phenomena and laws of external nature, as Astronomy, Optics, and Mechanics. Such sciences are hence often termed Mixed Mathematics, the relations of space and number being, in these branches of knowledge, combined with principles collected from special observation; while Geometry, Algebra, and the like subjects, which involve no result of experience, are called Pure Mathematics.
— William Whewell
In The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences (1868), Part 1, Bk. 2, chap. 1, sect. 4.
Science quotes on:  |  Algebra (114)  |  All (4107)  |  Arithmetic (139)  |  Astronomy (231)  |  Being (1278)  |  Branch (150)  |  Call (769)  |  Change (595)  |  Collect (16)  |  Combine (57)  |  Consideration (139)  |  Definitions and Objects of Mathematics (33)  |  Experience (470)  |  Extend (128)  |  External (57)  |  Form (960)  |  Geometry (259)  |  Idea (845)  |  Involve (90)  |  Knowledge (1536)  |  Large (394)  |  Law (895)  |  Mathematics (1333)  |  Mechanic (119)  |  Mechanics (132)  |  Mix (19)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Number (701)  |  Object (422)  |  Observation (560)  |  Observe (168)  |  Often (106)  |  Optics (23)  |  Phenomenon (319)  |  Portion (84)  |  Principle (510)  |  Pure (292)  |  Pure Mathematics (67)  |  Relation (157)  |  Result (678)  |  Science (3880)  |  Space (501)  |  Special (184)  |  Subject (522)  |  Term (349)  |  Theoretical (22)  |  Treat (35)  |  World (1778)

The persons who have been employed on these problems of applying the properties of matter and the laws of motion to the explanation of the phenomena of the world, and who have brought to them the high and admirable qualities which such an office requires, have justly excited in a very eminent degree the admiration which mankind feels for great intellectual powers. Their names occupy a distinguished place in literary history; and probably there are no scientific reputations of the last century higher, and none more merited, than those earned by great mathematicians who have laboured with such wonderful success in unfolding the mechanism of the heavens; such for instance as D ’Alembert, Clairaut, Euler, Lagrange, Laplace.
— William Whewell
In Astronomy and General Physics (1833), Bk. 3, chap. 4, 327.
Science quotes on:  |  Admirable (19)  |  Admiration (59)  |  Apply (160)  |  Bring (90)  |  Century (310)  |  Alexis Claude Clairaut (2)  |  Jean le Rond D’Alembert (11)  |  Degree (275)  |  Distinguish (160)  |  Distinguished (83)  |  Earn (7)  |  Eminent (17)  |  Employ (113)  |  Leonhard Euler (35)  |  Excited (8)  |  Explanation (234)  |  Feel (366)  |  Great (1575)  |  Heaven (258)  |  Heavens (125)  |  High (363)  |  History (675)  |  Instance (33)  |  Intellectual (255)  |  Justly (6)  |  Labour (98)  |  Count Joseph-Louis de Lagrange (26)  |  Pierre-Simon Laplace (62)  |  Last (426)  |  Law (895)  |  Law Of Motion (14)  |  Laws Of Motion (10)  |  Literary (13)  |  Mankind (340)  |  Mathematician (389)  |  Matter (801)  |  Mechanism (96)  |  Merit (50)  |  More (2559)  |  Motion (312)  |  Name (333)  |  Occupy (26)  |  Office (71)  |  Person (363)  |  Phenomenon (319)  |  Place (177)  |  Power (747)  |  Probably (49)  |  Problem (679)  |  Properties Of Matter (7)  |  Quality (134)  |  Reputation (33)  |  Require (219)  |  Scientific (940)  |  Success (303)  |  Unfold (12)  |  Unfolding (16)  |  Wonderful (149)  |  World (1778)

Time, inexhaustible and ever accumulating his efficacy, can undoubtedly do much for the theorist in geology; but Force, whose limits we cannot measure, and whose nature we cannot fathom, is also a power never to be slighted: and to call in the one to protect us from the other, is equally presumptuous, to whichever of the two our superstition leans. To invoke Time, with ten thousand earthquakes, to overturn and set on edge a mountain-chain, should the phenomena indicate the change to have been sudden and not successive, would be ill excused by pleading the obligation of first appealing to known causes.
— William Whewell
In History of the Inductive Sciences (1857), Vol. 3, 513-514.
Science quotes on:  |  Call (769)  |  Cause (542)  |  Chain (50)  |  Change (595)  |  Do (1908)  |  Earthquake (34)  |  Edge (47)  |  Equally (130)  |  Fathom (15)  |  First (1284)  |  Force (488)  |  Geology (220)  |  Indicate (61)  |  Inexhaustible (24)  |  Known (454)  |  Limit (281)  |  Measure (233)  |  Measurement (174)  |  Mountain (187)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Never (1087)  |  Obligation (25)  |  Other (2236)  |  Phenomenon (319)  |  Power (747)  |  Protect (58)  |  Set (394)  |  Slighted (3)  |  Successive (73)  |  Sudden (66)  |  Superstition (66)  |  Theorist (44)  |  Thousand (331)  |  Time (1877)  |  Two (937)

We have here spoken of the prediction of facts of the same kind as those from which our rule was collected. But the evidence in favour of our induction is of a much higher and more forcible character when it enables us to explain and determine cases of a kind different from those which were contemplated in the formation of our hypothesis. The instances in which this has occurred, indeed, impress us with a conviction that the truth of our hypothesis is certain. No accident could give rise to such an extraordinary coincidence. No false supposition could, after being adjusted to one class of phenomena, so exactly represent a different class, when the agreement was unforeseen and contemplated. That rules springing from remote and unconnected quarters should thus leap to the same point, can only arise from that being where truth resides.
— William Whewell
In The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences (1840), Vol. 2, 230.
Science quotes on:  |  Accident (88)  |  Agreement (53)  |  Arise (158)  |  Being (1278)  |  Certain (550)  |  Character (243)  |  Class (164)  |  Coincidence (19)  |  Conviction (98)  |  Determine (144)  |  Different (577)  |  Enable (119)  |  Evidence (248)  |  Explain (322)  |  Extraordinary (79)  |  Fact (1212)  |  Facts (553)  |  Formation (96)  |  Hypothesis (296)  |  Impress (65)  |  Indeed (323)  |  Induction (77)  |  Kind (557)  |  Leap (53)  |  More (2559)  |  Phenomenon (319)  |  Point (580)  |  Prediction (82)  |  Remote (83)  |  Represent (154)  |  Reside (25)  |  Rise (166)  |  Rule (295)  |  Supposition (50)  |  Truth (1062)  |  Unconnected (10)  |  Unforeseen (10)


See also:
  • 24 May - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Whewell's birth.
  • William Whewell - context of quote “Gold and iron…are the rulers of the world” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • William Whewell - context of quote “Gold and iron…are the rulers of the world” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • William Whewell: Theory of Scientific Method, by William Whewell. - 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
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


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