18 juli 2007




Note 27 juli: The original of this text disappeared during a reformatting.
So here is the original quote by Faraday in that piece:

"Nothing is more difficult and requires more care than philosophical deduction, nor is there any thing more adverse to its accuracy than fixity of opinion. The man who is certain he is right is almost sure to be wrong; and he has the additional misfortune of inevitably remaining so. All our theories are fixed upon uncertain data, and all of them want alteration and support. Ever since the world began opinion has changed with the progress of things, and it is something more than absurd to suppose that we have a certain claim to perfection; or that we are in the possession of the acme of intellectuality which has, or can result from human thought. Why our successors should not displace us in our opinions, as well as in persons, it is difficult to say; it ever has been so, and from an analogy would be supposed to continue so. And yet with all the practical evidence of the fallibility of our opinions, all and none more than philosophers, are ready to assert the real truth of their opinions."
   (Michael Faraday, quoted in L. Pearce Williams)

If you want to know more about Faraday, you can read the above biography, which is good, and - especially! - Faraday's own 'Experimental Researches in Electricity', which is amazingly clear and sensible.

Maarten Maartensz


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