George Sarton citations

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George Sarton

Date de naissance: 31. août 1884
Date de décès: 22. mars 1956

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George Alfred Leon Sarton était un historien des sciences américain d'origine belge. Il a écrit plusieurs classiques de l’histoire des sciences et est considéré comme le père du développement de l’histoire des sciences aux États-Unis.

Il est le père de l'écrivain et poétesse américaine May Sarton.

Citations George Sarton

„There are two kinds of people in the world, whom we might dub the jobholders and the enthusiasts.“

— George Sarton
Context: There are two kinds of people in the world, whom we might dub the jobholders and the enthusiasts.... The majority of the kings and emperors were jobholders and so were many of the popes.... Most of the creators in the field of art and religion, and many of them in the field of science, were enthusiasts. Now economic conditions may deeply affect the jobs and the jobholders, but they make little impression on the enthusiasts.... the jobholders... keep things going with enough continuity and smoothness; they are the builders of usages and customs, the defenders of morality and justice.... the enthusiasts... are the main instruments of change and progress; they are the real creators and troublemakers. The enthusiasts are the salt of the earth, but man cannot live by salt alone. Preface.

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„Hellenic science is a victory of rationalism“

— George Sarton
Context: Hellenic science is a victory of rationalism, which appears greater, not smaller, when one is made to realize that it had been won in spite of the irrational beliefs of the Greek people; all in all, it was a triumph of reason in the face of unreason. Some knowledge of Greek superstitions is needed not only for a proper appreciation of that triumph but also for the justification of occasional failures, such as the many Platonic aberrations. Preface.

„Greek science was less an invention than a revival.“

— George Sarton
Context: It is childish to assume that science began in Greece; the Greek "miracle" was prepared by millenia of work in Egypt, Mesopotamia and possibly in other regions. Greek science was less an invention than a revival. Preface.

„Wisdom is not mathematical, nor astronomical, nor zoological; when it talks too much of any one thing it ceases to be itself.“

— George Sarton
Context: Wisdom is not mathematical, nor astronomical, nor zoological; when it talks too much of any one thing it ceases to be itself. There are wise physicists, but wisdom is not physical; there are wise physicians, but wisdom is not medical. Preface.

„As I grew older my lectures became simpler; I tried to say fewer things and to say them better, with more humanity. This book“

— George Sarton
Context: As I grew older my lectures became simpler; I tried to say fewer things and to say them better, with more humanity. This book continues in a different way the same evolution, but it is not yet as simple as I would have liked to have made it. Preface.

„Superstitions... are nothing but persistent errors, foolish beliefs, and irrational fears. Superstitions are infinite in number and scope... It would not do to ignore them altogether, only if we should never forget the weakness and fragility of our minds.“

— George Sarton
Context: Superstitions... are nothing but persistent errors, foolish beliefs, and irrational fears. Superstitions are infinite in number and scope... It would not do to ignore them altogether, only if we should never forget the weakness and fragility of our minds. The consciousness that superstitions are rife in our own society is a healthy shock to our self-conceit and a warning.... it lets us judge ancient superstitions with more indulgence and with a sense of humor. We could not overlook them without falsifying the general picture nor judge them too severely without hypocrisy. Preface.

„Our own culture, of Greek and Hebraic origin, is the one that interests us the most... We do not say that it is the best culture, but simply that it is ours. To claim that it of necessity superior would be wrong and evil. That attitude is the main source of international trouble in the world.“

— George Sarton
Context: Our own culture, of Greek and Hebraic origin, is the one that interests us the most... We do not say that it is the best culture, but simply that it is ours. To claim that it of necessity superior would be wrong and evil. That attitude is the main source of international trouble in the world.... Each nation prefers its own usages. Preface.

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„The history of science should not be an instrument to defend any kind of social or philosophic theory; it should be used only“

— George Sarton
Context: The history of science should not be an instrument to defend any kind of social or philosophic theory; it should be used only for its own purpose, to illustrate impartially the working of reason against unreason, the gradual unfolding of truth, in all its forms, whether pleasant or unpleasant, useful of useless, welcome or unwelcome. Preface.

„Truth is self-sufficient, and there is nothing to which it can be subordinated without loss. When truth is made subservient to anything else, however great“

— George Sarton
Context: My main interest... is the love of truth, whether pleasant or not. Truth is self-sufficient, and there is nothing to which it can be subordinated without loss. When truth is made subservient to anything else, however great (say religion), it becomes impure and sordid. Preface.

„History has often proved the shortsightedness of the practical men and vindicated the "lazy" dreamers; it has also proved that the dreamers are often mistaken.“

— George Sarton
Context: Some men are abstract-minded, and they naturally think first of unity and God, of wholeness, of infinity and other such concepts, while the minds of other men are concrete and they cogitate about health and disease, profit and loss. They invent gadgets and remedies; they are less interested in knowing anything than in applying whatever knowledge... to practical problems... The first are called dreamers; the second kind are recognized as practical and useful. History has often proved the shortsightedness of the practical men and vindicated the "lazy" dreamers; it has also proved that the dreamers are often mistaken. Preface.

„The general acceptance of simple ideas is difficult and rare, and yet it is only when simple, fundamental, ideas have been accepted that further progress becomes possible on a higher level.“

— George Sarton
Context: The ability of nonintelligent people to understand the most complicated mechanisms and to use them has always been to me a cause of astonishment: their inability to understand simple questions is even more astonishing. The general acceptance of simple ideas is difficult and rare, and yet it is only when simple, fundamental, ideas have been accepted that further progress becomes possible on a higher level. Preface.

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