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Wondrous TruthsThe Improbable Triumph of Modern Science$
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J.D. Trout

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199385072

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199385072.001.0001

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Explanatory Fluency and the False Climb

Explanatory Fluency and the False Climb

Chapter:
(p.17) 2 Explanatory Fluency and the False Climb
Source:
Wondrous Truths
Author(s):

J.D. Trout

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199385072.003.0002

If we get the same good sense of understanding whether our theory is good or bad, how does that feeling advance the theoretical cause? The feeling supplies conviction rather than truth—and the history of science teaches us that even our strongest convictions can be false. When you have a good theory, the feeling of understanding is a powerful forward force. But in the grips of a lousy theory, the feeling of understanding can stall progress indefinitely, leading you down many blind alleys. In both cases, that sense is enhanced by the fluency of repetition.

Keywords:   fluency, false climb theory, sense of understanding, truth, conviction, progress

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