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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index L > Carolus Linnaeus Quotes

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Carolus Linnaeus
(23 May 1707 - 10 Jan 1778)

Swedish botanist and explorer.


Science Quotes by Carolus Linnaeus (20 quotes)

Temporis fila.
Child of time.
A favourite expression of Linnaeus.
— Carolus Linnaeus
Quoted in Tore Frängsmyr, 'Linnaeus as a Geologist', in Tore Frangsmyr (ed.), Linnaeus: The Man and his Work (1983), 143.
Science quotes on:  |  French Saying (51)

A herbarium is better than any illustration; every botanist should make one.
— Carolus Linnaeus
Philosophia Botanica (1751), aphorism 11. Trans. Frans A. Statfleu, Linnaeus and the Linnaeans: The Spreading of their Ideas in Systematic Botany, 1735-1789 (1971), 38.
Science quotes on:  |  Botanist (10)

All the species recognized by Botanists came forth from the Almighty Creator's hand, and the number of these is now and always will be exactly the same, while every day new and different florists' species arise from the true species so-called by Botanists, and when they have arisen they finally revert to the original forms. Accordingly to the former have been assigned by Nature fixed limits, beyond which they cannot go: while the latter display without end the infinite sport of Nature.
— Carolus Linnaeus
Philosophia Botanica (1751), aphorism 310. Trans. Frans A. Stafleu, Linnaeus and the Linnaeans: The Spreading of their Ideas in Systematic Botany, 1735-1789 (1971), 90.
Science quotes on:  |  Botanist (10)  |  Creator (15)  |  Species (96)  |  Variety (29)

Botany is based on fixed genera.
— Carolus Linnaeus
Philosophia Botanica (1751), aphorism 209. Trans. Frans A. Stafleu, Linnaeus and the Linnaeans: The Spreading of their Ideas in Systematic Botany, 1735-1789 (1971), 64.
Science quotes on:  |  Botany (30)  |  Foundation (31)  |  Genus (13)

Fragments of the natural method must be sought with the greatest care. This is the first and last desideratum among botanists.
Nature makes no jumps.
[Natura non facit saltus]
All taxa show relationships on all sides like the countries on a map of the world.
— Carolus Linnaeus
Philosophia Botanica (1751), aphorism 77. Trans. Frans A. Stafleu, Linnaeus and the Linnaeans: The Spreading of their Ideas in Systematic Botany, 1735-1789 (1971), 45.
Science quotes on:  |  Country (43)  |  Map (12)  |  Relationship (37)

I well know what a spendidly great difference there is [between] a man and a bestia when I look at them from a point of view of morality. Man is the animal which the Creator has seen fit to honor with such a magnificent mind and has condescended to adopt as his favorite and for which he has prepared a nobler life; indeed, sent out for its salvation his only son; but all this belongs to another forum; it behooves me like a cobbler to stick to my last, in my own workshop, and as a naturalist to consider man and his body, for I know scarcely one feature by which man can be distinguished from apes, if it be not that all the apes have a gap between their fangs and their other teeth, which will be shown by the results of further investigation.
— Carolus Linnaeus
T. Fredbärj (ed.), Menniskans Cousiner (Valda Avhandlingar av Carl von Linné nr, 21) (1955), 4. Trans. Gunnar Broberg, 'Linnaeus's Classification of Man', in Tore Frängsmyr (ed.), Linnaeus: The Man and his Work (1983), 167.
Science quotes on:  |  Ape (26)  |  Beast (14)  |  Body (88)  |  Creator (15)  |  Difference (135)  |  Distinguish (11)  |  Investigation (83)  |  Man (258)  |  Mind (272)  |  Moral (38)  |  Naturalist (27)  |  Teeth (7)

In natural science the principles of truth ought to be confirmed by observation.
— Carolus Linnaeus
Philosophia Botanica (1751), final sentence. Trans. Frans A. Stafleu, Linnaeus and the Linneans: The Spreading of their Ideas in Systematic Botany, 1735-1789 (1971), 31.
Science quotes on:  |  Natural Science (29)  |  Observation (264)  |  Principle (97)  |  Truth (450)

Natural bodies are divided into three kingdomes of nature: viz. the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms. Minerals grow, Plants grow and live, Animals grow, live, and have feeling.
— Carolus Linnaeus
'Observations on the Three Kingdoms of Nature', Nos 14-15. Systema Naturae (1735). As quoted (translated) in Ιtienne Gilson, From Aristotle to Darwin and Back Again: A Journey in Final Causality (2009), 42-43.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (143)  |  Classification (56)  |  Growth (70)  |  Kingdom (18)  |  Mineral (24)  |  Nature (534)  |  Plant (96)  |  Vegetable (12)

Nature's economy shall be the base for our own, for it is immutable, but ours is secondary. An economist without knowledge of nature is therefore like a physicist without knowledge of mathematics.
— Carolus Linnaeus
'Tankar om grunden til oeconomien', 1740, 406. Trans. Lisbet Koerner, Linnaeus: Nature and Nation (1999), 103.
Science quotes on:  |  Economy (25)  |  Immutable (4)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Mathematics (367)  |  Nature (534)  |  Physicist (74)

Nomenclature, the other foundation of botany, should provide the names as soon as the classification is made... If the names are unknown knowledge of the things also perishes... For a single genus, a single name.
— Carolus Linnaeus
Philosophia Botanica (1751), aphorism 210. Trans. Frans A. Stafleu, Linnaeus and the Linnaeans: The Spreading of their Ideas in Systematic Botany, 1735-1789 (1971), 80.
Science quotes on:  |  Botany (30)  |  Classification (56)  |  Foundation (31)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Name (58)  |  Nomenclature (102)  |  Perish (11)  |  Species (96)  |  Unknown (40)

Of what use are the great number of petrifactions, of different species, shape and form which are dug up by naturalists? Perhaps the collection of such specimens is sheer vanity and inquisitiveness. I do not presume to say; but we find in our mountains the rarest animals, shells, mussels, and corals embalmed in stone, as it were, living specimens of which are now being sought in vain throughout Europe. These stones alone whisper in the midst of general silence.
— Carolus Linnaeus
Philosophia Botanica (1751), aphorism 132. Trans. Frans A. Stafleu, Linnaeus and the Linnaeans: The Spreading of their Ideas in Systematic Botany, 1735-1789 (1971), 56.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (143)  |  Collection (26)  |  Coral (5)  |  Existence (150)  |  Extinction (38)  |  Fossil (73)  |  Inquisitiveness (3)  |  Mountain (66)  |  Naturalist (27)  |  Petrification (5)  |  Rare (14)  |  Shape (20)  |  Shell (17)  |  Silence (12)  |  Species (96)  |  Specimen (8)  |  Usefulness (54)  |  Vanity (8)

Stones grow, plants grow, and live, animals grow live and feel.
— Carolus Linnaeus
Philosophia Botanica (1751), Introduction 1-4. Trans. Frans A. Statleu, Linnaeus and the Linnaeans: The Spreading of their Ideas in Systematic Botany, 1735-1789 (1971), 33.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (143)  |  Feel (12)  |  Growth (70)  |  Life (460)  |  Plant (96)  |  Rock (54)  |  Sense (104)  |  Stone (20)

The species and the genus are always the work of nature [i.e. specially created]; the variety mostly that of circumstance; the class and the order are the work of nature and art.
— Carolus Linnaeus
Philosophia Botanica (1751), aphorism 162. Trans. Frans A. Statfleu, Linnaeus and the Linnaeans: The Spreading of their Ideas in Systematic Botany, 1735-1789 (1971), 67.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (80)  |  Circumstance (25)  |  Class (27)  |  Diversity (32)  |  Evolution (342)  |  Genus (13)  |  Nature (534)  |  Order (60)  |  Species (96)  |  Variety (29)

The first step in wisdom is to know the things themselves; this notion consists in having a true idea of the objects; objects are distinguished and known by classifying them methodically and giving them appropriate names. Therefore, classification and name-giving will be the foundation of our science.
— Carolus Linnaeus
Systema Naturae (1735), trans. M. S. J. Engel-Ledeboer and H. Engel (1964), 19.
Science quotes on:  |  Classification (56)  |  Foundation (31)  |  Name (58)  |  Wisdom (91)

The names of the plants ought to be stable [certa], consequently they should be given to stable genera.
— Carolus Linnaeus
Philosophia Botanica (1751), aphorism 151. Trans. Frans A. Stafleu, Linnaeus and the Linnaeans: The Spreading of their Ideas in Systematic Botany, 1735-1789 (1971), 57.
Science quotes on:  |  Classification (56)  |  Genus (13)  |  Name (58)  |  Stable (5)

There are as many species as the infinite being created diverse forms in the beginning, which, following the laws of generation, produced many others, but always similar to them: therefore there are as many species as we have different structures before us today.
— Carolus Linnaeus
Philosophia Botanica (1751), aphorism 157. Trans. Frans A. Stafleu, Linnaeus and the Linneans: The Spreading of their Ideas in Systematic Botany, 1735-1789 (1971), 63.
Science quotes on:  |  Beginning (71)  |  Diversity (32)  |  Evolution (342)  |  Species (96)  |  Structure (104)

There are some viviparous flies, which bring forth 2,000 young. These in a little time would fill the air, and like clouds intercept the rays of the sun, unless they were devoured by birds, spiders, and many other animals.
— Carolus Linnaeus
Oeconomia Naturae, The Oeconomy of Nature. Trans Benjamin Stillingfleet, Miscellaneous Tracts Relating to Natural History (1775), revised edition, 1777, 119.
Science quotes on:  |  Bird (57)  |  Breeding (5)  |  Fly (28)  |  Food Web (5)  |  Prey (6)  |  Spider (6)

There is no generation from an egg in the Mineral Kingdom. Hence no vascular circulation of the humours as in the remaining Natural Kingdoms.
— Carolus Linnaeus
Systema Naturae (1735), trans. M. S. J. Engel-Ledeboer and H. Engel (1964), 20.
Science quotes on:  |  Circulation (12)  |  Egg (27)  |  Generation (56)  |  Mineral (24)

We admit as many genera as there are different groups of natural species of which the fructification has the same structure.
— Carolus Linnaeus
Fundamenta Botanica (1736), 159. Trans. Gunnar Eriksson, 'Linnaeus the Botanist', in Tore Frängsmyr (ed.), Linnaeus: The Man and his Work (1983), 86.
Science quotes on:  |  Fruit (31)  |  Genus (13)  |  Species (96)  |  Structure (104)

Yet man does recognise himself [as an animal]. But I ask you and the whole world for a generic differentia between man and ape which conforms to the principles of natural history, I certainly know of none... If I were to call man ape or vice versa, I should bring down all the theologians on my head. But perhaps I should still do it according to the rules of science.
— Carolus Linnaeus
Letter to Johann Gmelon (14 Jan 1747), quoted in Mary Gribbin, Flower Hunters (2008), 56.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (143)  |  Ape (26)  |  Evolution (342)  |  Genus (13)  |  Man (258)  |  Theologian (11)



Quotes by others about Carolus Linnaeus (4)

God created, Linnaeus ordered.
Quoting the witticism current in the late eighteenth century in 'The Two Faces of Linnaeus', in Tore Frängsmyr (ed.), Linnaeus: The Man and his Work (1983), 22.
Science quotes on:  |  Classification (56)  |  God (234)  |  Order (60)  |  French Saying (51)

Linnaeus had it constantly in mind:'The closer we get to know the creatures around us, the clearer is the understanding we obtain of the chain of nature, and its harmony and system, according to which all things appear to have been created.'
In 'The Two Faces of Linnaeus', in Tore Frδngsmyr (ed.), Linnaeus: The Man and his Work (1983, 1994), 16. Quoted in David Weinberger, Everything is Miscellaneous (2007), 241.
Science quotes on:  |  Creation (129)  |  Creature (51)  |  Harmony (27)  |  Nature (534)  |  System (66)  |  Understanding (231)

God's Registrar.
[Referring to Carolus Linnaeus, who is also known as Father of Taxonomy.]
Anonymous
In Heinz Goerke Linnaeus (1966) trans. by Denver Lindley (1973), 89, Title of Chapter 8.
Science quotes on:  |  Father (17)  |  Taxonomy (4)

Linnaeus and Cuvier have been my two gods, though in very different ways, but they were mere schoolboys to old Aristotle.
Letter to W. Ogle (22 Feb 1882). In Charles Darwin and Francis Darwin (ed.), The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin (1896), 427.
Science quotes on:  |  Aristotle (101)  |  Baron Georges Cuvier (25)  |  Schoolboy (3)


See also:
  • todayinsci icon 23 May - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Linnaeus's birth.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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