Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ursus (or: I am not a poet for the masses) by Jonathan Regier

After many poems on Hypotheses
Dedicated to poor Nicolai Reymers Baer (Nicolaus Raimarus Ursus)

First, two quotes from the same work:

"A hypothesis or fictitious supposition is a portrayal contrived out of certain imaginary circles of an imaginary form of the world-system, designed to keep track of the celestial motions, and thought up, adopted and introduced for the purpose of keeping track of and saving the motions of the heavenly bodies and forming a method for calculating them."

"For it is the distinguishing characteristic of hypotheses to inquire into, hunt for and elicit the truth sought from feigned or false suppositions. And so it is permitted and granted to astronomers, as a thing required in astronomy, that they should fabricate hypotheses, whether true or false and feigned, of such a kind as may yield the phenomena and appearances of the celestial motions and correctly produce a method for calculating them, and thus achieve the intended purpose and goal of this art."

In quote #1, Ursus identifies hypotheses as fictitious suppositions. A hypothesis is necessarily fictitious. He argues this point for quite some time. So, if you fiddle around with quote #2, you can get:

---Hypotheses, all of which are fictitious, whether true or false and feigned, can hunt for and elicit the truth from feigned or false hypotheses.---

On a night like tonight, that's exactly what I'd call Intellectual Honesty.

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