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The theory of relativity is a beautiful example of the basic character of the modern development of theory. That is to say, the hypotheses from which one starts become ever more abstract and more remote from experience. But in return one comes closer to the preeminent goal of science, that of encompassing a maximum of empirical contents through logical deduction with a minimum of hypotheses or axioms. The intellectual path from the axioms to the empirical contents or to the testable consequences becomes, thereby, ever longer and more subtle. The theoretician is forced, ever more, to allow himself to be directed by purely mathematical, formal points of view in the search for theories, because the physical experience of the experimenter is not capable of leading us up to the regions of the highest abstraction. Tentative deduction takes the place of the predominantly inductive methods appropriate to the youthful state of science. Such a theoretical structure must be quite thoroughly elaborated in order for it to lead to consequences that can be compared with experience. It is certainly the case that here, as well, the empirical fact is the all-powerful judge. But its judgment can be handed down only on the basis of great and difficult intellectual effort that first bridges the wide space between the axioms and the testable consequences. The theorist must accomplish this Herculean task with the clear understanding that this effort may only be destined to prepare the way for a death sentence for his theory. One should not reproach the theorist who undertakes such a task by calling him a fantast; instead, one must allow him his fantasizing, since for him there is no other way to his goal whatsoever. Indeed, it is no planless fantasizing, but rather a search for the logically simplest possibilities and their consequences. Albert Einstein

Tags:

The

theory

of

relativity

is

a

beautiful

example

of

the

basic

character

of

the

modern

development

of

theory



That

is

to

say



the

hypotheses

from

which

one

starts

become

ever

more

abstract

and

more

remote

from

experience



But

in

return

one

comes

closer

to

the

preeminent

goal

of

science



that

of

encompassing

a

maximum

of

empirical

contents

through

logical

deduction

with

a

minimum

of

hypotheses

or

axioms



The

intellectual

path

from

the

axioms

to

the

empirical

contents

or

to

the

testable

consequences

becomes



thereby



ever

longer

and

more

subtle



The

theoretician

is

forced



ever

more



to

allow

himself

to

be

directed

by

purely

mathematical



formal

points

of

view

in

the

search

for

theories



because

the

physical

experience

of

the

experimenter

is

not

capable

of

leading

us

up

to

the

regions

of

the

highest

abstraction



Tentative

deduction

takes

the

place

of

the

predominantly

inductive

methods

appropriate

to

the

youthful

state

of

science



Such

a

theoretical

structure

must

be

quite

thoroughly

elaborated

in

order

for

it

to

lead

to

consequences

that

can

be

compared

with

experience



It

is

certainly

the

case

that

here



as

well



the

empirical

fact

is

the

all

powerful

judge



But

its

judgment

can

be

handed

down

only

on

the

basis

of

great

and

difficult

intellectual

effort

that

first

bridges

the

wide

space

between

the

axioms

and

the

testable

consequences



The

theorist

must

accomplish

this

Herculean

task

with

the

clear

understanding

that

this

effort

may

only

be

destined

to

prepare

the

way

for

a

death

sentence

for

his

theory



One

should

not

reproach

the

theorist

who

undertakes

such

a

task

by

calling

him

a

fantast



instead



one

must

allow

him

his

fantasizing



since

for

him

there

is

no

other

way

to

his

goal

whatsoever



Indeed



it

is

no

planless

fantasizing



but

rather

a

search

for

the

logically

simplest

possibilities

and

their

consequences



Albert

Einstein



 Good Luck!