Monday, October 04, 2004

Sir Richard on Sir Arthur

Judge Richard Posner finds little to admire in Sherlock Holmes' methods. See R. Posner, "CSI: Baker Street," New Republic (October 11, 2004 [which is, BTW, surely a fictitious publication date {since I am reasonably sure that today is October 4, 2004, and in my limited human experience the clock and the calendar do not run backwards, but who am I to say they could not?} -- explain this, ye besotted publishers of journals a/k/a ye purveyors of 21st century versions of Soviet-style histories]).

Judge Posner thinks some or many of Holmes' deductions are little more than a shot in the dark -- and are therefore unscientific.

Verily, verily, I say unto ye ("thee"?; i.e., "to all of you out there"): science requires shots in the dark, shots that are merely(!) prompted, or suggested, by evidence.

Verily, verily, I say unto thee: science depends on careful deductions but it also depends on abductions a/k/a imaginative hypotheses suggested but not dictated by evidence or logic.

Verily, verily I say unto thee -- or ye, or y'all: imaginative reasoning is not an oxymoron -- and, besides, where would we be without Einstein's imagination, an imagination par excellence but an imagination that could work its wiles only because of Einstein's meticulous attention to details and matters such as clocks and their synchronization in distant places [for train schedules and other such purposes]? {You surely don't expect me to answer this last question, do you? The best answer I can give you now: not quite where we are now.}

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