„What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.“

Werner Heisenberg photo
Werner Heisenberg2
1901 - 1976
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Werner Heisenberg photo

„We have to remember that what we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.“

— Werner Heisenberg German theoretical physicist 1901 - 1976
Context: We have to remember that what we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning. <!-- p. 58 This has also appeared in the alternate form: "What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning."

Werner Heisenberg photo

„Natural science does not simply describe and explain nature; it is part of the interplay between nature and ourselves; it describes nature as exposed to our nature of questioning.“

— Werner Heisenberg German theoretical physicist 1901 - 1976
Context: [I]n the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory we can indeed proceed without mentioning ourselves as individuals, but we cannot disregard the fact that natural science is formed by men. Natural science does not simply describe and explain nature; it is part of the interplay between nature and ourselves; it describes nature as exposed to our nature of questioning. This was a possibility of which Descartes could not have thought, but it makes a sharp separation between the world and the I impossible. If one follows the great difficulty which even eminent scientists like Einstein had in understanding and accepting the Copenhagen interpretation... one can trace the roots... to the Cartesian partition.... it will take a long time for it [this partition] to be replaced by a really different attitude toward the problem of reality. <!--p. 81

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Erwin Schrödinger photo
Ralph Waldo Emerson photo
John Theophilus Desaguliers photo

„All the knowledge we have of nature depends upon facts; for without observations and experiments our natural philosophy would only be a science of terms and an unintelligible jargon.“

— John Theophilus Desaguliers French-born British natural philosopher and clergyman 1683 - 1744
Context: All the knowledge we have of nature depends upon facts; for without observations and experiments our natural philosophy would only be a science of terms and an unintelligible jargon. But then we must call in Geometry and Arithmetics, to our Assistance, unless we are willing to content ourselves with natural History and conjectural Philosophy. For, as many causes concur in the production of compound effects, we are liable to mistake the predominant cause, unless we can measure the quantity and the effect produced, compare them with, and distinguish them from, each other, to find out the adequate cause of each single effect, and what must be the result of their joint action. p. v: Preface

Michel Foucault photo

„What desire can be contrary to nature since it was given to man by nature itself?“

— Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason

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William Herschel photo

„It will be necessary to explain the spirit of the method of arranging the observed astronomical objects under consideration in such a manner, that one shall assist us to understand the nature and construction of the other.“

— William Herschel German-born British astronomer, technical expert, and composer 1738 - 1822
Context: It will be necessary to explain the spirit of the method of arranging the observed astronomical objects under consideration in such a manner, that one shall assist us to understand the nature and construction of the other. This end I propose to obtain by assorting them into as many classes as will be required to produce the most gradual affinity... and it will be found that those contained in one article, are so closely allied to those in the next, that there is perhaps not so much difference between them... as there would be in an annual description of the human figure were it given from the birth of a child till he comes to be a man in his prime.<!-- p. 270-271

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 Zisi photo

„What is God-given is what we call human nature. To fulfil the law of our human nature is what we call the moral law. The cultivation of the moral law is what we call culture.“

—  Zisi Chinese philosopher -481 - -402 a.C.
Opening lines, p. 104 Variant translations: What is God-given is called nature; to follow nature is called Tao (the Way); to cultivate the Way is called culture. As translated by Lin Yutang in The Importance of Living (1937), p. 143 What is God-given is called human nature. To fulfill that nature is called the moral law (Tao). The cultivation of the moral law is called culture. As translated by Lin Yutang in From Pagan to Christian (1959), p. 85

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Galileo Galilei photo

„What was observed by us in the third place is the nature or matter of the Milky Way itself, which, with the aid of the spyglass, may be observed so well that all the disputes that for so many generations have vexed philosophers are destroyed by visible certainty, and we are liberated from wordy arguments.“

— Galileo Galilei Italian mathematician, physicist, philosopher and astronomer 1564 - 1642
Original text as reproduced in Edward Tufte, Beautiful Evidence (Cheshire, Connecticut: Graphics Press LLC, 2006), 101 (p. 3 of 4, insert between pp. 16V & 17R. Original manuscript renders the "q" in "nosque" with acute accent.) Translation by Albert Van Helden in Sidereus Nuncius (Chicago, 1989), 62

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