A Brief History of Time

A Brief History of Time

Marquis de Laplace Character Analysis

The French scientist argued that the entire universe could be determined by the laws of science. He thought that by knowing scientific laws thoroughly, and where every single particle was in one point in time, scientists would be able to predict everything, even human behavior. This was later undermined by the uncertainty principle, which asserts that one cannot know the position of particles precisely. At the turn of the 19th century Laplace suggested the existence of black holes, but later seemed to abandon the idea. Hawking does not mock Laplace’s desire to understand the world, though he does serve as an example of the dangers of misplaced enthusiasm or arrogance.

Marquis de Laplace Quotes in A Brief History of Time

The A Brief History of Time quotes below are all either spoken by Marquis de Laplace or refer to Marquis de Laplace. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bantam edition of A Brief History of Time published in 1988.
Chapter 4 Quotes

The success of scientific theories […] led the French scientist the Marquis de Laplace […] to argue that the universe was completely deterministic. Laplace suggested that there should be a set of scientific laws that would allow us to predict everything that would happen in the universe.

Related Characters: Werner Heisenberg, Marquis de Laplace
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:
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Marquis de Laplace Character Timeline in A Brief History of Time

The timeline below shows where the character Marquis de Laplace appears in A Brief History of Time. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
In the early 1800s, Marquis de Laplace thought that because science was doing such a good job explaining everything, that it would... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
This was the end of Laplace’s idea of determinism. There was still place for God in this model, but it did... (full context)
Chapter 6
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
...see them, but we should be able to detect them due to their gravitational effects. Laplace made a similar suggestion at a similar time, but wrote it out of later editions... (full context)
Chapter 12
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
The successes in that period led some, like Laplace, to think scientists could predict everything, even human behavior, if only they knew the complete... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
Today, Laplace’s approach is defunct because of the uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics, which introduces a minimum... (full context)