William Fossett

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William Fossett (21 December 1694 – 26 April 1767) was an English natural philosopher, mathematician and author.[1]


  • Where is the sense to it all, / The parson’s sermon, the cuckoo’s call?
    • Poems (1734), A Curious Creation
    • Quoted by H. G. Hutchinson in Portraits of the Eighties. T. Fisher Unwin, London (unknown date).
  • To say something is meaningful is to say that that is how we arrange it so; how we comprehend it to be, and what is comprehended by you or I may not be by a cat, for example. If a tree falls down in a forest and there is no-one to hear it, it is silent and invisible and nameless. And if we were to vanish, there would be no tree at all; any meaning would vanish along with us. Other than what the cats make of it, of course.
    • Natural States (1754)
    • Quoted by S. Kim-Cohen in ‘Dams, weirs, and damn weird ears – Post-ergonal sound’, in The Routledge Companion to Sounding Art (eds. M. Cobussen, V. Meelberg, B. Truax, pp52-53. Routledge (2016)
  1. Blackie’s Modern Cyclopedia of Universal Information, ed. Charles Annandale MA LLD. Blackie & Son Ltd., London (published c1900)