Saturday, October 16, 2010

Things and First Principles

Tidying up I found a copy of the Guardian's obit of Tony Judt. I liked this story:
Mixing with the elite at the École Normale began another process of disenchantment, when he observed at firsthand that "cardinal axiom of French intellectual life", as he drily called it, "a radical disjunction between the uninteresting evidence of your own eyes and ears and the incontrovertible conclusions to be derived from first principles".
Deriving facts from first prnciples should, largely, be left to pure mathematics.

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