Alexis on classification (again) (fwd)

Roger Wright Roger.Wright at
Wed Jan 28 14:03:54 UTC 1998

----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>Alternatively, we might expect that competent critics could be found among
>those trained as historical linguists no matter what language area they have
>chosen to concentrate their work in, and ask that these judge proposals by the
>rigour of the methodology applied to produce them.  Why is this unsatisfactory?
Because whether a hypothesis is right or not has no connection with the
methodological rigour used by its advocates. For example, Ptolemaic
astronomy was very methodologically rigorous, and at first, at least,
Copernicus's ideas were just bright ideas, not worked out with any
precision. This is the converse of what Larry Trask called the
Democritus fallacy; lack of rigour does not imply that a theory is
wrong, merely that it hasn't yet been shown to be right.
        I find rigour off-putting, myself. What is all this geometry
trying to hide?
                                                        Roger Wright

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