Carl Sagan

Unexpected discoveries are useful for calibrating pre-existing ideas. G. W. F. Hegel has had a very powerful imprint on professional philosophy of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and a profound influence on the future of the world because Karl Marx took him very seriously (although sympathetic critics have argued that Marx’s arguments would have been more compelling had he never heard of Hegel). In 1799 or 1800 Hegel confidently stated, using presumably the full armamentarium of philosophy available to him, that no new celestial objects could exist within the solar system. One year later, the asteroid Ceres was discovered. Hegel then seems to have returned to pursuits less amenable to disproof.

Carl Sagan, Broca’s Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science, New York, 1974, p. 235