William Whewell - The philosophy of the inductive sciences (1840)
33 Sourced Quotes
To predict what has not been observed, is to attempt ourselves to use the legislative phrases of nature; and when she responds plainly and precisely to that which we thus utter, we cannot but suppose that we have in a great measure made ourselves masters of the meaning and structure of her language.
No scientific discovery can, with anyjustice, be considered due to accident. In whatever manner facts may be presented to the notice of a discoverer, they can never become the materials of exact knowledge, except they find his mind already provided with precise and suitable conceptions by which they may be analyzed and connected.
The character of the true philosopher is, not that he never conjectures hazardously, but that his conjectures are clearly conceived, and brought into rigid contact with facts. He sees and compares distinctly the Ideas and the Things; - the relations of his notions to each other and to phenomena.
There is a mask of theory over the whole face of nature...
These sciences have no principles besides definitions and axioms, and no process of proof but deduction; this process, however, assuming a most remarkable character; and exhibiting a combination of simplicity and complexity, of rigor and generality, quite unparalleled in other subjects.