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About Effie

  • Birthday 08/31/1982

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  1. DH, I don't think I have ever said that we should mechanize the process. I never said and I never meant that. All I have been saying since the beginning is that somehow we produce theories. Can we describe even one of those ways?? In other words, can we transform our empirical, unconscious knowledge into scientific, conscious knowledge?
  2. I think that the shift in the meanings of terms is the outcome of the paradigm shift and not the opposite. Consequently, incommensurability begins from the paradigm level and is extented to terms, methods, researches, etc. However, from what I have read on the subject, I agree that "the concept of rest mass in relativity is completely commensurable with mass in classical physics". Thus the famous quote: "Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the 'old one'. I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice" The above only proves that physics (as any other science) hasn't yet completed its assignment. In other words, we can expect that more revolutions will take place. After all, we all know what has happened since Lord Kelvin claimed that physics has almost completed its work, except for some details that remain to be arranged I totally agree. Besides, that's what I have been supporting since the beginning: we do know how theories are produced, this cannot be diputed, given that we do produce them. The question is: can we express this knowledge verbally? All I am asking is: where do this "hunches" come from? Could Newton have had "hunches" regarding gravity if he hadn't suspected its presence? That is to say, we can form opinions only regarding factors we know or we think that exist. Molecular biologists for example, due to their current paradigm, seem to have no " hunches" regarding the role of the endogenous fields of cells, despite the fact that their presence has been verified beyond any doubt. If I have perceived correctly what you have written, I have to say that I agree. After all, science must first rely on the knowledge it already has. The "known" is the most solid, secure substrate on which we can rely in order to take a look at the unknown. Every normal science refuses to discuss ill-founded ideas which are not supported by well established, valid data and knowledge. That's only natural and essential for its normal function. Nevertheless, science should test all the alternative options. If we refuse to do this and we remain stuck to our old beliefs, exactly how scientific is our approach? Let me remind you that all the knowledge we today consider obvious were mere uncertain opinions when they were presented for the very first time. "The philosophy of one century is the common sense of the next." Henry Ward Beecher Yeah, that's true. Universe (reality) has always proved itself far more complex than our most elaborated opinion/theory etc and we cannot expect that this will change, at least soon. Let me disagree a bit. Today there are sciences which remain religiously stuck to their basic principles, even if they have been superseded by research data. Molecular biology and psychiatry are the most apparent examples. Of course, research is objective and produces valid data, which unfortunately cannot be utilized. In a previous post I had written a quote from Aristotle to which nobody paid any attention, because "Aristotle has expressed many wrong ideas". (as far as I know, Planck has supported some wrong ideas, too. E.g. at first denied the wave/ particle duality introduced by Einstein, but nobody has dicarded his other ideas due to this "misfortune") Anyway, according to Aristotle, nobody should enter a normal science without having expressed basic questions regarding its basic principles/ axioms, because his thought "will be tied". According to Kuhn, scientists- due to the way in which they are educated- learn to serve the prevailing paradigm of their science. Once in the box, it is very hard to succeed in thinking outside box, for many reasons which we could discuss about. I would like to learn more about this approach Effie ps thank you very much for the link
  3. Hi again I had said that I wouldn't enter the forum again , but I just couldn't resist. I think that I was treated with dogmatism, but I think I will give it another try. First of all, I apologize in advance for my English, I know it is not very good, but at least I am trying Second, I would like to underline that I do not know much about physics. I have read a lot of papers, books, etc but "Shannon's theorem" etc are all greek to me (that's odd, since I am Greek ) On the other hand, I know much more things about epistemology and my original thread referred to an epistemological issue. My point was that science has not yet established even one of the ways (methods) we use in order to produce theories. As a consequence, we do not know what to change if things don't go well and we can't produce well-founded theories. I will get straight to the point: Kuhn, Lakatos and many other philosophers of science/ scientists have observed that each normal science (according to Kuhn "normal science takes place in the context of a shared paradigm. It consists of three main scientific activities: "determination of significant fact, matching fact with theory, and articulation of theory.... Work under the paradigm can be conducted in no other way, and to desert the paradigm is to cease practicing the science it defines."- http://www.arps.org/users/hs/kochn/QuantitativeReasoning/Glossary.html) is founded on paradigm (Lakatos called it "research program", I call it "basic truth"). They have also observed that this paradigm (or fundamental belief, dogma, doctrine, etc) determines everything that the scientist who has accepted it thinks of or does. In other words, the effectiveness of a scientist in his scientific work is directly proportional to the quality of his paradigm. Despite its "omnipresence", philosophers say that it is impossible to locate it and express it verbally. On the other hand, they claim that an improvement of the prevailing paradigm is equal to a scientific revolution. Indeed, we can notice that if we take a look at the development of physics. The latter has made a huge stride when Einstein changed the prevailing paradigm that had been introduced by Newton. (of course, there are many other examples from the history of all sciences) The question is: How does this paradigm determine the scientific (both theoretical and research) work? How can we locate it and express its content? Can we improve a factor that we do not know? Should we just wait for scientific revolutions to happen?? In other words, in which way do we produce theories and how can we improve this way, so that we interpret the phenomena we study? Effie ps. I think (hope) that you justify the fact that in my post I don't give an answer to all the previous posts, don't you?
  4. Maybe i have a distorted opinion about science...However, it is possible that you have a distorted opinion and it doesn't matter that you can support each other... The opinion of the majority wasn't always the correct one... However, if your opinion provides results (i have my doubts, but OK), you should insist on it. But I will mention this in the most friendly way: dogmatism never led beyond a dead end... The basic problem of the theoretic sector is the confusion about the terminology that is used. You identify theories with verified hypotheses and you think that your approach is correct? I try very hard to keep a low profile and do not be provokative- that's why I won't enter this forum again. Thank you for your participation and, if I could give you an advice it would be: Before adopting the opinions others have expressed before you, take your time and think carefully about all the potentials- all the possible choices. Aristotle has sustained this thousands of years ago, so I let his text speak for itself: The effect which lectures produce on a hearer depends on his habits; for we demand the language we are accustomed to, and that which is different from this seems not in keeping but somewhat unintelligible and foreign because of its unwontedness. For it is the customary that is intelligible. The force of habit is shown by the laws, in which the legendary and childish elements prevail over our knowledge about them, owing to habit. Thus some people do not listen to a speaker unless he speaks mathematically, others unless he gives instances, while others expect him to cite a poet as witness. And some want to have everything done accurately, while others are annoyed by accuracy, either because they cannot follow the connexion of thought or because they regard it as pettifoggery. For accuracy has something of this character, so that as in trade so in argument some people think it mean. Hence one must be already trained to know how to take each sort of argument, since it is absurd to seek at the same time knowledge and the way of attaining knowledge; and it is not easy to get even one of the two.............WE must, with a view to the science which we are seeking, first recount the subjects that should be first discussed. These include both the other opinions that some have held on the first principles, and any point besides these that happens to have been overlooked. For those who wish to get clear of difficulties it is advantageous to discuss the difficulties well; for the subsequent free play of thought implies the solution of the previous difficulties, and it is not possible to untie a knot of which one does not know. But the difficulty of our thinking points to a 'knot' in the object; for in so far as our thought is in difficulties, it is in like case with those who are bound; for in either case it is impossible to go forward. Hence one should have surveyed all the difficulties beforehand, both for the purposes we have stated and because people who inquire without first stating the difficulties are like those who do not know where they have to go; besides, a man does not otherwise know even whether he has at any given time found what he is looking for or not; for the end is not clear to such a man, while to him who has first discussed the difficulties it is clear. Further, he who has heard all the contending arguments, as if they were the parties to a case, must be in a better position for judging. Bye!
  5. "To remark on the quotes from DH, the few things I have discovered myself were not what I intended to show or prove. They have come along the way trying to do something else. I expect a lot of things to be like that, but for sure not all discoveries are "accidental". I repeat that the fact that we do not conciously know the method we use (and consequently we call it äccidental"or coincidental") doesn't mean that there is no method... Since a theory is produced, some way (yet un-known) is definitely used in the prodution procedure... The fact that we do not know the way, doesn't mean that a way does not exist!!!! I'd even go so far as to say that if someone "believes" a theory, they are not doing science. Real scientists have a "high degree of confidence in the predictive accuracy and precision of a theory/law based on its previous successful predictions", not a "belief" in it. I totally agree with it, but the reality remains that many scientists "äre stuck" with theories that in the end are proved wrong, simply because they were approved by the majority of the scientific community. in the past everyone believed that earth was flat and at th center of the universe. Today we may laugh at this statements, but few centuries ago this opinion was believed by everyone! Servet, who claimed that heart was just a blood pump ws burnt to death, because everyone else believed that heart was the center of all the emotions! I'd even go so far as to say that if someone "believes" a theory, they are not doing science. Real scientists have a "high degree of confidence in the predictive accuracy and precision of a theory/law based on its previous successful predictions", not a "belief" in it. Since the method is known, how come we do not produce only correct theories? And please don't tell me due to the lack of sufficient evidence (which is a common excuse that scientists use), because you know better than me that Newton first came up with his theoretical conceptions and many years (or even centuries) later were dicovered the data which confirmed these theories! What's more, there are plenty of ddata in every science- why can't the scientists utilize them and incorporate them in complete theories, since they are familiar with the method? Why are there so many unknown phenomena? hypotheses are not assumptions. they are testable ideas. a theory is a hypothesis that has been tested by many people many times and has shown itself to be at least a better approximation than the existing theory if there was one. Please take a look at these links... hypothesis are assuptions (sorry, but this is not negotiable) http://lexicon.omhros.eu/wb/default.asp?LxcoS=*&lexis=%CF%85%CF%80%CE%BF%CF%84%CE%AF%CE%B8%CE%B7% CE%BC%CE%B9&submit=%CE%95%CF%8D%CF%81%CE%B5%CF%83%CE%B7 http://lexicon.omhros.eu/wb/default.asp?LxcoS=*&lexis=%CF%85%CF%80%CF%8C%CE%B8%CE%B5%CF%83%CE%B9% CF%82&submit=%CE%95%CF%8D%CF%81%CE%B5%CF%83%CE%B7 http://www.google.gr/search?hl=el&defl=en&q=define:hypothesis&sa=X&oi=glossary_definition&ct=titl e http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothesis http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Glossary/index.php?mode=all http://www.yukoncollege.yk.ca/~agraham/guides/tpglossary.htm http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~www_sp/teaching/glossary.shtml#T Furthermore, what i call "model"what you call theory. Theory is a complex, mental or intellectual product that consists of data and hypotheses and that are produced in order to explain complex phenomena. and i don't get why you think that thinking is limited in the majority of sciences. this has not been my experience talking to any scientist in ANY field. or even when i was working in a chemical engineering research lab. Please choose any paper you want (especially from cells biology,psychology or psychiatry , with which i am very familiar) and you will soon realize that they are built on the same pattern. I.e. according to molecular biology, all biological phenomena are completed with the following mechanism: a stimulus is received (the stimulus may be molecular, chemical, electric or magnetic signal etc). The stimulus activates the respective receptor, which activats a specific molecular chain (channel), which corresponds to the cell's response to the stimulus. The molecular systems may vary among different theories and different phenomena, but the fact is that all the theories based on the molecular model consist only of data regarding molecules. Even if scientists know that cells also have (besides molecules) E.M. fields, they don't incorporate their knowledge into their theories- simply because fields are not included in their model. I would like to underline that i wasn't referring to their personality- only to their theories. I admire them as researchers, but i think they cannot fully perceive the true importance of their data, because they cannot theoretically utilize them with their inadequate model. One question that may be simple for you: under which conditions do two (or more) fields couple? Which physical characteristics must two fields need to have in order to couple? I have read many contradictοry reports on the subject, please enlighten me
  6. "You don't understand what a hypothesis is" I can assure you I know what a hypothesis is- hypothesis is a synonym for assumption. It is a Greek word, and given that I come from Greece maybe i understand it better than anyone. You have the right not to read further, that's your choice... Theory is an intellectual product, I put theoretical along to make myself clear because i didn't know if I used the right term. If we spoke the same language maybe we would be able to communicate. Hypothesis is an opinion created in order to explain parts of phenomena that we study. E.g. a hyothesis would be "ells communicate by exchanging electromagnetic signals" or ear, except for being a sound- receptor is also an energy converter. Do I have to write down more hypotheses or are you convinvced that I know what they are? Ajb, Mathematics, besides being a very useful "tool" for all the other sciences (including psychology) are a role model for any other science... In my opinion, mathematics is a field where new, radically differnet opinions are more than welcome... ufortunately this is not the case for the majority of sciences (except physics, were new theories are received and tested), where thnking is limited within very small boundaries! Furthermore, mathematics is the only sciene that "conciously"uses, checks and improves its axioms (what i name "basic truth"). All the other sciences, even if they are built on axioms don't even realize that. Of course, checking and improving their axioms is out of the question
  7. Before presenting my proposal, I would like to underline that following standard steps (procedure) does NOT undermine theoretical creativity. On the contrary, it enhances it, as knowledge always broadens our horizons and not the opposite. Imagination, intuition and all the other mental attributes are important, but when it comes to theoretical activity, they are zeros. Specific scientific knowledge is 1, which with the zeros forms the million. Every positive attribute is essential to this activity, but knowledge is fundamental: it is the basis that supports all the others. In order to understand the above, try to imagine a gifted, creative artist trying to produce theories for physics. Do you think that his imagination would help him?  Don’t be afraid that a “constitution” of the theoretical procedure will limit our inspiration. Think of it as the procedure you followed until you learnt how to drive: you were forced to follow specific steps, guided by your instructor, but now that you are experienced drivers, you can take your car and move to the other side of the earth. Similarly, if you learn step by step how to produce theories, you can use your knowledge in every matter that bothers you- the sky is the limit  Remember also that discipline is a synonym for freedom. On the other hand, uncontrolled liberty is a synonym for slavery!!! First, I must define term “theory”. Theory is an intellectual- theoretical product that as afar as its structure is concerned consists of data and hypothesis. As an entity belongs to the sphere of opinions, as it combines known (data) with the un- known (hypothesis). A total that consists only of data is not a theory – it is a review of bibliography  On the other hand, a bunch of hypothesis cannot be named theory. It is just an ill-founded opinion. A theory, in order to “take a look of the unknown” must be very well founded on data. In science, theories represent the answers we give to the questions that bother us. In other words, they reflect our effort to interpret nature (By “nature”, I mean all the elements that compose universe, all things that are studied by a science; I don’t refer only to the nature that physicists study. As a product, it is produced in general with the same method/ procedure that is used in every productive activity. In order to produce any kind of product (from the most simple to the most complex one) we need: 1. Raw material 2. Productive means 3. Procedure 4. Specialization, which permits to choose the appropriate material, means and procedure 5. Objective criteria to evaluate all of the above, as well as the final product. A baker, for example, needs flour, water and yeast (raw material), mixer and oven (means) and kneading and baking (procedure). What’s more, he needs to know how to choose the suitable material and means and follow correctly the right procedure. Possible mistake in any of the above ruins the final product (10 excessive minutes of baking produce coal, not bread  ) When it comes to theories, 1. Raw material are the data which derive from laboratory research, field observations etc. 2. Productive means are the specialized knowledge and the respective opinions of the producer, which is known as his “scientific perception”. Scientific perception is the total of knowledge and opinions a scientist has regarding his object of interest, e.g. astronomy. These are the only means that can be used in the theoretical activity- there is no room for other machines, technological equipment etc. It is obvious that theoretical process is 100% intellectual or mental, thus the only “tool” that can be used is perceptions, and most specifically scientific perception. ( I could write about how scientific perception is produced, but that would be a little bit disorientating) 3. Procedure (I would like to underline that in every phase I use examples regarding the same science in order to add coherence to my words- it is not a sample of bitterness. I simply use examples from a science I am familiar with.). Phase 1. During the first phase of the procedure, the scientists shapes a general mental picture of the phenomena that he studies. In other words, he conceives a general approach of his subject, he begins to represent the unknown with known terms. E.g. A biologists that begins the effort to interpret a biologic phenomenon, (cell differentiation for example), before anything else has a general notion of how I is completed. The quality of the general mental picture he will conceive is directly proportional to the quality of his basic truth. Basic truth is a very general opinion about that represents the basic elements that compose the object he studies and the way they participate to the function of the total. Basic truth is a synonym for axioms, doctrines etc, or for what Kuhn called “paradigm” and Lakatos called “research program”. I must not extend to this matter, I will only mention that usually the majority of the scientific community shares the same basic truth- it is a question of uniformity, cohesion and effectiveness, but sometimes its contribution is suspensive (but that is a completely different issue). E.g. Basic truth of molecular biology claims that cells consist only of molecules and that molecules’ function is enough to interpret all of the activities of the cell. Therefore, a molecular biologist that will try to interpret cells differentiation for example will form a general mental picture in which only molecules are included. E.g.2 The man (I do not know who he is) that created the current theory for the shape of the earth, first observed a phenomenon (a sailboat “sinking” in the horizon) and assumed that earth wasn’t flat but round. Due to his adequate basic truth, he was able to explain the phenomenon of the sinking and, using other data (clues) he managed to create a compatible theory regarding earth’s shape. All the scientists before him couldn’t produce adequate theories because their basic truth was inadequate. The same happened with Newton (I cannot analyze this now), who , by explaining the fall of objects enriched predominant basic truth about nature- until then scientists strongly believed that universe was made only of matter, and they tried to interpret all physical phenomena attributing them to the interactions of matter. Gravity for example was firstly interpreted as a natural tendency of matter to return to is natural residence (centre of the earth). After forming his mental picture, the scientist will start to enrich it by adding his knowledge and opinions on the matter. The final outcome of this procedure is the “reconstitution model”, which will be his guide through out all the next phases. At this point the procedure resembles at the formation of an architectural design- an architect firstly conceives mentally how his building wants to be (general mental picture), and then gradually adds all the details, until he completes his model. Substantially, in this phase the scientific perception (total of knowledge and opinions) transforms into model, which is the factor which determines the outcome of all the phases that come next. It is evident that the quality of the model depends on the quality of the general mental picture, whose quality depends on the quality of the basic truth. What’s more, elements that are not included in the basic truth, won’t be included neither in the model. E.g. A model produced by the molecular basic truth cannot possibly contain any other element that molecules. Phase 2. During this phase, the scientist concentrates the data with which he will form his theory. Obviously, among the innumerous data that exist he will choose only the data that fit into his model. All the other data will be excluded, even if their validity and reliability are not disputed. An architect won’t choose cement and bricks, even if they are cheap materials of good quality, if his model represents a building of glass and iron. Similarly, a scientist who has a model based on molecular basic truth, will ignore all the evidence regarding the presence and role of the endogenous EM fields of cells. In this phase, the scientists a) locates b) evaluates c) concentrates the data that he needs. In other words, he “scans” the available data, finds (evaluates) which are useful and which not and picks up those that he needs. So simple! Phase 3. Here comes the major difference between theoretical and any other productive activity. Data ,before being utilized into formation of theories, must be interpreted. Data are the coded answers that reality (nature) gives to the questions that we pose to her via research. Before being incorporated into theories must be interpreted correctly and comprehended. Otherwise, they are useless and cannot be used in production of theories. E.g. Scientists for many years supported that cells migrated due to the raise of intracellular Calcium. This was an interpretation of a data present in every research regarding this subject: while migrating, cells always present a stable and an alternative fluorescence. Scientists, who knew that when they experimentally added Calcium to cells they produced fluorescence, assumed that the fluorescence they observed in vivo owes its presence to the raise of intracellular calcium. However, this interpretation of data has been proved wrong, thus they couldn’t be utilized in the formation of well-founded theories that could interpret the phenomenon of cell migration. It is unnecessary to add that the quality of the interpretations we produce depends on the quality of our scientific perception. An adequate perception will interpret all the data fully and correctly. Afterwards, the scientist assembles the interpretations that he has produced and forms with them a single entity, which we call theory. At this point, you may think that his duty is done… but no! Theories refer to the un-known, while data refer to what we already know- at least partially. Data (and their correct interpretations) are not enough for a complete theory. Even if we manage to concentrate all the existing data and interpret them correctly, there will still be “gaps” in our theory. These gaps belong to the elements, clues etc that remain to be discovered and they are filled during the next phase. Phase 4. The scientist consults his model and constructs assumptions (hypothesis) that fit in the gaps he had observed. As we can easily understand, the hypothesis that we produce reflect the model we use and vice versa. Therefore, the quality of our model determines the quality of our hypothesis. If the model is compatible with nature, its assumptions will be well founded and sooner or later will be experimentally verified. I could write more about each phase (the criteria we use to evaluate the result that comes up from each phase, the analytical role that the model plays in each phase, examples from every science, etc) ,but first I would like to see how you will react to the few things I have written Phase 5. The scientist assembles the interpretations of the data he has produced during phase 3 with the hypothesis he produced in phase 4. The theory is complete and can be checked theoretically and experimentally! Ps Excuse me for expressive mistakes- due to the fact I am not a native English speaker I find it difficult to express what I want it and follow grammatic and syntactic rules at the same time "No, we don't. (I assume by 'we' you mean working scientists, representing the rest of us.)" What makes you think that you are a working scientist while I am not? Please don't jump to conclusions!!!!
  8. To Martin: There is no mechanical method for doing science Mechanical or not, there should be a method! Otherwise science couldn't produce so many theories!! Besides that, you must have observed that scientists that share the same traditions (Kuhn calls it paradigm) seem to produce theories on the same pattern- that cannot be coincidental! "Scientific theories are not, as you called them, opinions" I insist they are Don't get puzzled by the fact that they contain data. The final outcome is an uncertain opinion, which has to be tested. After all, theories are our means to approach the un-known, they cannot be considered equal with scientific knowledge, simply because they can be prove wrong. They become scientific knowledge only after being theoretically and experimentally verified! "A physical law does not ask to be believed" Nature doesn't need our äpproval", tht's for certain. However, there are many examples during the history of science that demonstrate that scientists have believed in theories that were proved wrong in the end...Unortunately our self confidence about our beliefs and our mental activity is so high that sometimes doesn't let us suspect that we may be wrong and that universe is much more complex tan we believe "But the philosophy of science, and the history of science are regions of opinion. Indeed they are not science, they are about science. And what I have just said is my opinion" I laughed with this one, really clever To Now “As already mentioned above, there is no such singular path” You suggest that there are multiple paths… I am only asking for one. Can you provide it? I think that more or less we all produce our theoretical products in the same general way… Soon I will post my suggestion on this matter, I think that If you read it you will realize that it is very common and we use it all the time, that’s why it still remains unknown  Gravity was always at the tip of our nose, but only Newton managed to reveal its presence! To npts2020 “How would one go about definitively showing where any cognitive process begins?” If we do not try it, we won’t be able to tell if we could do it or not! To Severian “How the theory was produced has absolutely no bearing on the question.” But I think that is exactly the point  A scientist should know exactly what he is doing. He has to fix a standard procedure and control every step he takes, otherwise he cannot be sure of the result he will produce and might lose precious time trying to verify an illfounded theory!
  9. First of all, I think it's wonderful that people focus their efforts on creating theories regarding various subjects and spend time discussing about them with other people . Nevertheless, I have a qustion to pose: every day we produce several theories during our effort to understand the universe that surrounds us. Depending on our studies and our interests we elaborate on specific topics, trying to reveal some of the mysteries that "provoke"our mind. But does anyone know (and can tell the rest of us) HOW are theories produced? Many philosophers have tried to answer this question, but the answers that they have given have left me unsatisfied. Production of theories has been attributed to immagination, logics, accumulation of evidence, etc., but no one has EVER provided the scientific community with an accurate, precise mechanism. How can we evaluate whether a theory is right or wrong,complete or incomplete, if we don't even know how it was produced? How can we expect science as a whole to create well- founded opinions (theories) if there is no established mechanism? In order to produce any kind of product (theories are one of the intellectual- mental product) a well established procedure is essential. Otherwise, when the procedure is not known, the theoretical activity is empiric and NOT scientific. I agree that on one hand we do know how to produce theories ,given the infinite number of theories that have been produced during the history of science. On the other hand, how can we explain the fact that no one has expressed at least a rudimentary method? Is it enough for scientists to produce theories without realizing how they manage to do it or should focus our efforts on trying to solve this problem? I simply remind you that many theories , some of which were considered equivalent to scientific knowledge, have been proved wrong or inadequate, despite the fact that they were accepted by the entire scientific community. Is there any chance that such loss of time would have been avoided if we knew how theories are produced and evaluated?
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