Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for April 1st, 2018

The inexplicable inspiration

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It is often held that scientific hypotheses are constructed, and are to be constructed, only after a detailed weighing of all possible evidence bearing on the matter, and that then and only then may one consider, and still only tentatively, any hypotheses. This traditional view, however, is largely incorrect, for not only is it absurdly impossible of application, but it is contradicted by the history of the development of any scientific theory. What happens in practice is that by intuitive insight, or other inexplicable inspiration, the theorist decides that certain features seem to him more important than others and capable of explanation by certain hypotheses. Then basing his study on these hypotheses the attempt is made to deduce their consequences. The successful pioneer of theoretical science is he whose intuitions yield hypotheses on which satisfactory theories can be built.

Fred Hoyle and Raymond Littleton, “On the Internal Constitution of the Stars”

Written by nevalalee

April 1, 2018 at 7:30 am

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