Samstag, 24. März 2018

Two kinds of science:

"A well-known German chemist, W. Ostwald, once wrote a book on the two types of scientist he considered to be representative of alternate ways of doing science; he called them the ‘romantics’ and the ‘classics’. The romantics were the more extraverted, creative types of scientist, constantly producing new ideas, innovative and original; the classical type of scientist was more likely to be introverted, concentrating on single issues, and trying to achieve perfect closure. This theme was taken up by the German psychiatrist, E. Kretschmer, in his book on genius. Following his theories of personality and body build, he postulated two extreme types of genius, the cyclothyme (extraverted) and the schizothyme (introverted). His description of these two types is not too dissimilar to that given by Ostwald. Last but not least, we have the distinction made by the philosopher of science, Thomas S. Kuhn, whose theories postulate a clear-cut division between ordinary science and revolutionary science, with the former resembling Ostwald’s classical and Kretschmer’s schizothyme types, and the latter Oswald’s romantic and Kretschmer’s psychothyme types.
Clearly my own contribution has been of the romantic, cyclothyme, revolutionary variety, and this perhaps inevitably had led to a considerable amount of misunderstanding and controversy escalating in the manner described above to physical assaults and verbal misrepresentations."


"The fact that I am, as it were, on the ‘revolutionary’ side of science, rather than the ‘ordinary’ side, immediately suggests that while my contributions may be original in many ways, they are unlikely to be correct in every detail. It is, as Kuhn has pointed out, characteristic of revolutionary ideas that at the time they arise they have comparatively little support, they confront an established array of facts which have to be reinterpreted (not always to the delight of those who have worked with them along traditional lines!), and they are liable to change very quickly under the impact of the new facts that are being unearthed as a result of the presentation of the new theories. I never had any illusions that the new ideas I was putting forward, and the new theories I was elaborating, would be ‘correct’ even in the rather limited sense which philosophy allows to apply to scientific theories. They were usually, if not always, in the right direction, part of what Imre Lakatos, a well-known philosopher of science, called ‘a progressive problem shift’, as opposed to a ‘degenerative problem shift’, i.e., programmes of research that advance knowledge, rather than programmes of research that fight a rear-guard action by ad hoc explanations of anomalies which proved destructive to the programme."

Hans J. Eysenck

(Hans Eysenck: Consensus and Controversy)


"I think to be successful at almost anything, you have to do the tough stuff as well as the enjoyable stuff. You have to do the boring stuff as well as the non-boring stuff. And if you don’t do your chores, then bad things will happen. ... it’s more fun to cook the meal than to clean the dishes, but you need to clean the dishes."

Elon Musk

Erfahren und Nachdenken:

In welchem Ausmaß lernen wir bereits durch die bloße Akkumulation von Erfahrung, d.h. durch die Berührung mit Ereignissen, und in welchem Ausmaß sind wir bei Lernvorgängen auf die bewusste Analyse, auf das bewusste Durchdenken von Ereignissen angewiesen?

Freitag, 23. März 2018


"Does measurement of creativity throw some light on the rather nebu­lous concept of intuition? Can we measure intuition? Professor M. Westcott has shown that even elusive traits like intuition can be mea­sured. He argued that what we mean by intuition is essentially the ability to jump to conclusions on the basis of insufficient evidence; we literally take an intellectual leap instead of plodding along lines of logic to a predestined conclusion. This brief argument led to his experimental de­sign. Set your subject a problem that is insoluble as it stands. It can be solved logically if you are given a number of cues. But these are hidden, and you can ask for the first one to be disclosed, making solution a little easier. You can then ask for the second one, then the third, and so on until you feel you can guess the answer. Some people (the plodders) require to look at all or most of the cues; your intuitive person takes a leap at the solution after only receiving a few cues. This tendency can be measured reliably; in other words, a given person behaves in the same fashion time after time. And it has nothing much to do with intelligence; dull people can be intuitive, bright ones can be plodders.
But of course you can arrive at the wrong solution, whether you are intuitive or a plodder. Hence Westcott finished up with four groups: Intuitive-correct, Plodder-correct, Intuitive-wrong; Plodder-wrong. The personality characteristics showed that the intuitives were similar to creative people, the plodder to noncreative ones. Thus, this test of intu­ition could also be used to identify creativity. When we look at ge­niuses, do we find a similar distinction between those who get the answer right, and those who get it wrong? Newton and Einstein were hugely intuitive, and mostly right; Marx and Freud were hugely intuitive, and mostly wrong."

Intelligence - A New Look, Hans Eysenck

Work & Play:

"The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play."

Arnold Toynbee

Creative minorities:


"The basic idea of a creative minority ... seems sound."

Martin Hewson


"The creative minority is a small group of individuals that is part of the genesis of a civilization and that develops solutions to challenges presented to the civilization."

Stephen Blaha


"the nature of the breakdowns of civilizations can be summed up in three points: a failure of creative power in the minority, an answering withdrawal of mimesis on the part of the majority and a consequent loss of social unity in the society as a whole."

Arnold Toynbee


"schizophrenic thinking is typically overinclusive in the sense that associations very far removed from the original set of ideas are customarily included in their thinking. Similarly creative persons are often overinclusive in that sense; they report as relevant ideas that to other, more conservative and orthodox people seem quite out of line."

Hans Eysenck