Hence no force, however great, can stretch a cord, however fine, into a horizontal line which is accurately straight: there will always be a bending downwards.— William Whewell
The most lust William Whewell quotes you will be delighted to read
Every failure is a step to success.
The hypotheses 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.
The catastrophist constructs theories, the uniformitarian demolishes them.
The main object of the work was to present such a survey of the advances already made in physical knowledge, and of the mode in which they have been made, as might serve as a real and firm basis for our speculations concerning the progress of human knowledge, and the processes by which sciences are formed.
The present generation finds itself the heir of a vast patrimony of science;
and it must needs concern us to know the steps by which these possessions were acquired, and the documents by which they are secured to us and our heirs for ever.
But with regard to the material world, we can at least go so far as this;
-we can perceive that events are brought about, not by insulated interpositions of Divine power, exerted in each particular ease, but by the establishment of general laws.
The object of science is knowledge; the objects of art are works. In art, truth is the means to an end; in science, it is the only end. Hence the practical arts are not to be classed among the sciences
In art, truth is a means to an end; in science, it is the only end.
Geometry in every proposition speaks a language which experience never dares to utter; and indeed of which she but halfway comprehends the meaning.
Gold and iron at the present day, as in ancient times, are the rulers of the world; and the great events in the world of mineral art are not the discovery of new substances, but of new and rich localities of old ones.
A man really and practically looking onwards to an immortal life, on whatever grounds, exhibits to us the human soul in an enobled attitude.
Prudence supposes the value of the end to be assumed, and refers only to the adaptation of the means. It is the relation of right means for given ends.
Every man has obligations which belong to his station.
Duties extend beyond obligations, and direct the affections, desires, and intentions, as well as the actions.
In order that the facts obtained by observation and experiment may be capable of being used in furtherance of our exact and solid knowledge, they must be apprehended and analysed according to some Conceptions which, applied for this purpose, give distinct and definite results, such as can be steadily taken hold of and reasoned from.
Conscience is the reason employed about questions of right and wrong.
The earlier truths are not expelled but absorbed, not contradicted but extended;
and the history of each science, which may thus appear like a succession of revolutions, is, in reality, a series of developements.
Fundamental ideas are not a consequence of experience, but a result of the particular constitution and activity of the mind, which is independent of all experience in its origin, though constantly combined with experience in its exercise.
Astronomy is ... the only progressive Science which the ancient world produced.
The system becomes more coherent as it is further extended.
The elements which we require for explaining a new class of facts are already contained in our system. In false theories, the contrary is the case.
It is a test of true theories not only to account for but to predict phenomena.
Our assent to the hypothesis implies that it is held to be true of all particular instances. That these cases belong to past or to future times, that they have or have not already occurred, makes no difference in the applicability of the rule to them. Because the rule prevails, it includes all cases.
Those who have obtained the farthest insight into Nature have been, in all ages, firm believers in God.
Every failure is a step to success. Every detection of what is false directs us towards what is true: every trial exhausts some tempting form of error.
Man is the interpreter of nature, science the right interpretation.
Nobody since Newton has been able to use geometrical methods to the same extent for the like purposes; and as we read the Principia we feel as when we are in an ancient armoury where the weapons are of gigantic size; and as we look at them we marvel what manner of man he was who could use as a weapon what we can scarcely lift as a burden.
The person who did most to give to analysis the generality and symmetry which are now its pride, was also the person who made mechanics analytical; I mean Euler.
To discover the laws of operative power in material productions, whether formed by man or brought into being by Nature herself, is the work of a science, and is indeed what we more especially term Science.
We cannot observe external things without some degree of Thought;
nor can we reflect upon our Thoughts, without being influenced in the course of our reflection by the Things which we have observed.
Every failure is a step to success. Every detection of what is false directs us towards what is true: every trial exhausts some tempting form of error. Not only so; but scarcely any attempt is entirely a failure; scarcely any theory, the result of steady thought, is altogether false; no tempting form of Error is without some latent charm derived from Truth.
There is a mask of theory over the whole face of nature.
...the question undoubtedly is, or soon will be, not whether or no we shall employ notation in chemistry, but whether we shall use a bad and incongruous, or a consistent and regular notation.
We need very much a name to describe a cultivator of science in general.
I should incline to call him a scientist. [The first use of the word.]