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2018/04/03 18:04:40 プライベート♪
This shows us how we should choose: the most interesting facts are those which may serve many times; these are the facts which have a chance of coming up again. We have been so fortunate as to be born in a world where there are such. Suppose that instead of 60 chemical elements there were 60 milliards of them, that they were not some common, the others rare, but that they were uniformly distributed. Then, every time we picked up a new pebble there would be great probability of its being formed of some unknown substance; all that we knew of other pebbles would be worthless for it; before each new object we should be as the new-born babe; like it we could only obey our caprices or our needs. Biologists would be just as much at a loss if there were only individuals and no species and if heredity did not make sons like their fathers Master of Science in Statistics.

In such a world there would be no science; perhaps thought and even life would be impossible, since evolution could not there develop the preservational instincts. Happily it is not so; like all good fortune to which we are accustomed, this is not appreciated at its true worth Limited Company in hong kong.

Which then are the facts likely to reappear? They are first the simple facts. It is clear that in a complex fact a thousand circumstances are united by chance, and that only a chance still much less probable could reunite them anew. But are there any simple facts? And if there are, how recognize them? What assurance is there that a thing we think simple does not hide a dreadful complexity? All we can say is that we ought to prefer the facts which seem simple to those where our crude eye discerns unlike elements. And then one of two things: either this simplicity is real, or else the elements are so intimately mingled as not to be distinguishable. In the first case there is chance of our meeting anew this same simple fact, either in all its purity or entering itself as element in a complex manifold. In the second case this intimate mixture has likewise more chances of recurring than a heterogeneous assemblage; chance knows how to mix, it knows not how to disentangle, and to make with multiple elements a well-ordered edifice in which something is distinguishable, it must be made expressly. The facts which appear simple, even if they are not so, will therefore be more easily revived by chance. This it is which justifies the method instinctively adopted by the scientist, and what justifies it still better, perhaps, is that oft-recurring facts appear to us simple, precisely because we are used to them.

But where is the simple fact? it in the two extremes, in the infinitely great and in the infinitely small. The astronomer has found it because the distances of the stars are immense, so great that each of them appears but as a point, so great that the qualitative differences are effaced, and because a point is simpler than a body which has form and qualities. The physicist on the other hand has sought the elementary phenomenon in fictively cutting up bodies into infinitesimal cubes, because the conditions of the problem, which undergo slow and continuous variation in passing from one point of the body to another, may be regarded as constant in the interior of each of these little cubes. In the same way the biologist has been instinctively led to regard the cell as more interesting than the whole animal, and the outcome has shown his wisdom, since cells belonging to organisms the most different are more alike, for the one who can recognize their resemblances, than are these organisms themselves. The sociologist is more embarrassed; the elements, which for him are men, are too unlike, too variable, too capricious, in a word, too complex; besides, history never begins over again. How then choose the interesting fact, which is that which begins again? Method is precisely the choice of facts; it is needful then to be occupied first with creating a method, and many have been imagined, since none imposes itself, so that sociology is the science which has the most methods and the fewest results Graduation Dinner.

Therefore it is by the regular facts that it is proper to begin; but after the rule is well established, after it is beyond all doubt, the facts in full conformity with it are erelong without interest since they no longer teach us anything new. It is then the exception which becomes important. We cease to seek resemblances; we devote ourselves above all to the differences, and among the differences are chosen first the most accentuated, not only because they are the most striking, but because they will be the most instructive. A simple example will make my thought plainer: Suppose one wishes to determine a curve by observing some of its points. The practician who concerns himself only with immediate utility would observe only the points he might need for some special object. These points would be badly distributed on the curve; they would be crowded in certain regions, rare in others, so that it would be impossible to join them by a continuous line, and they would be unavailable for other applications. The scientist will proceed differently; as he wishes to study the curve for itself, he will distribute regularly the points to be observed, and when enough are known he will join them by a regular line and then he will have the entire curve. But for that how does he proceed? If he has determined an extreme point of the curve, he does not stay near this extremity, but goes first to the other end; after the two extremities the most instructive point will be the mid-point, and so on.
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