Jacob Bronowski Quotes

Jacob Bronowski Quote, All those formal systems, in mathematics and physics and the philosophy of
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Truth Quotes

All those formal systems, in mathematics and physics and the philosophy of science, which claim to give foundations for certain truth are surely mistaken. I am tempted to say that we do not look for truth, but for knowledge. But I dislike this form of words, for two reasons. First of all, we do look for truth, however we define it, it is what we find that is knowledge. And second, what we fail to find is not truth, but certainty; the nature of truth is exactly the knowledge that we do find.

Jacob Bronowski

Jacob Bronowski Quote, Progress is the exploration of our own error. Evolution is a consolidation
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Picture Quotes

Progress is the exploration of our own error. Evolution is a consolidation of what have always begun as errors. And errors are of two kinds: errors that turn out to be true and errors that turn out to be false (which are most of them). But they both have the same character of being an imaginative speculation. I say all this because I want very much to talk about the human side of discovery and progress, and it seems to me terribly important to say this in an age in which most non-scientists are feeling a kind of loss of... Read more »

Jacob Bronowski

Jacob Bronowski Quote, [John] Dalton was a man of regular habits. For fifty-seven years he
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Picture Quotes

[John] Dalton was a man of regular habits. For fifty-seven years he walked out of Manchester every day; he measured the rainfall, the temperature-a singularly monotonous enterprise in this climate. Of all that mass of data, nothing whatever came. But of the one searching, almost childlike question about the weights that enter the construction of these simple molecules-out of that came modern atomic theory. That is the essence of science: ask an impertinent question, and you are on the way to the pertinent answer.

Jacob Bronowski

Jacob Bronowski Quote, It is often said that the progression from simple to complex runs
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Picture Quotes

It is often said that the progression from simple to complex runs counter to the normal statistics of chance that are formalized in the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Strictly speaking, we could avoid this criticism simply by insisting that the Second Law does not apply to living systems in the environment in which we find them. For the Second Law applies only when there is no overall flow of energy into or out of a system, whereas all living systems are sustained by a net inflow of energy.

Jacob Bronowski

Jacob Bronowski Quote, The Principle of Uncertainty fixed once for all the realisation that all
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Knowledge Quotes

The Principle of Uncertainty fixed once for all the realisation that all knowledge is limited. It is an irony of history that at the very time when this was being worked out there should rise, under Hitler in Germany and other tyrants elsewhere, a counter-conception: a principle of monstrous certainty. When the future looks back on the 1930s it will think of them as a crucial confrontation of culture as I have been expounding it, the ascent of man, against the throwback to the despots' belief that they have absolute certainty.

Jacob Bronowski

Jacob Bronowski Quote, The most remarkable discovery made by scientists is science itself. The discovery
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Understanding Quotes

The most remarkable discovery made by scientists is science itself. The discovery must be compared in importance with the invention of cave-painting and of writing. Like these earlier human creations, science is an attempt to control our surroundings by entering into them and understanding them from inside. And like them, science has surely made a critical step in human development which cannot be reversed. We cannot conceive a future society without science.

Jacob Bronowski

Jacob Bronowski Quote, But nature – that is, biological evolution – has not fitted man
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Picture Quotes

But nature - that is, biological evolution - has not fitted man to any specific environment. On the contrary, ... he has a rather crude survival kit; and yet -this is the paradox of the human condition - one that fits him to all environments. Among the multitude of animals which scamper, fly, burrow and swim around us, man is the only one who is not locked into his environment. His imagination, his reason, his emotional subtlety and toughness, make it possible for him not to accept the environment but to change it.

Jacob Bronowski