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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index W > Thomas Willis Quotes

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Thomas Willis
(27 Jan 1621 - 11 Nov 1675)

English physician.


Science Quotes by Thomas Willis (3 quotes)

But the office of the Cerebral seems to be for the animal Spirits to supply some Nerves; by which involuntary actions (such as are the beating of the Heart, easie respiration, the Concoction of the Aliment, the protrusion of the Chyle, and many others) which are made after a constant manner unknown to us, or whether we will or no, are performed.
— Thomas Willis
In Anatomy of the Brain and Nerves (1664), trans. Samuel Pordage (1681), reprinted in William Peindel (ed.), Thomas Willis: Anatomy of the Brain and Nerves (1965), Vol. 2, 111.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (309)  |  Cerebrum (6)  |  Heart (110)  |  Nerve (66)  |  Respiration (12)  |  Spirit (113)

That the Anatomy of the Nerves yields more pleasant and profitable Speculations, than the Theory of any parts besides in the animated Body: for from hence the true and genuine Reasons are drawn of very many Actions and Passions that are wont to happen in our Body, which otherwise seem most difficult and unexplicable; and no less from this Fountain the hidden Causes of Diseases and their Symptoms, which commonly are ascribed to the Incantations of Witches, may be found out and clearly laid open. But as to our observations about the Nerves, from our following Discourse it will plainly appear, that I have not trod the paths or footsteps of others, nor repeated what hath been before told.
— Thomas Willis
In Anatomy of the Brain and Nerves (1664), trans. Samuel Pordage (1681), reprinted in William Peindel (ed.), Thomas Willis: Anatomy of the Brain and Nerves (1965), Vol. 2, 125.
Science quotes on:  |  Anatomy (59)  |  Discourse (13)  |  Disease (257)  |  Footstep (5)  |  Incantation (4)  |  Nerve (66)  |  Observation (418)  |  Path (59)  |  Speculation (77)  |  Symptom (16)  |  Theory (582)  |  Witch (4)

To describe all the several pairs of the spinal Nerves, and to rehearse all their branchings, and to unfold the uses and actions of them, would be a work of an immense labour and trouble: and as this Neurologie cannot be learned nor understood without an exact knowledge of the Muscles, we may justly here forbear entring upon its particular institution.
— Thomas Willis
In Anatomy of the Brain and Nerves (1664), trans. Samuel Pordage (1681), reprinted in William Peindel (ed.), Thomas Willis: Anatomy of the Brain and Nerves (1965), Vol. 2, 178.
Science quotes on:  |  Branch (61)  |  Muscle (32)  |  Nerve (66)  |  Pair (10)  |  Spine (5)


See also:
  • 27 Jan - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Willis'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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