more from Peter Lipton

Single Idea 16856

[catalogued under 14. Science / A. Basis of Science / 4. Prediction]

Full Idea

We are more impressed by the fact that the special theory of relativity was used to predict the shift in the perihelion of Mercury than we would have been if we knew that the theory was constructed in order to account for that effect.

Gist of Idea

It is more impressive that relativity predicted Mercury's orbit than if it had accommodated it


Peter Lipton (Inference to the Best Explanation (2nd) [2004], 10 'The fudging')

Book Reference

Lipton,Peter: 'Inference to the Best Explanation (2nd ed)' [Routledge 2004], p.172

A Reaction

Lipton has a nice discussion of the relative merits of predicting data and accommodating it. He invites astrologers to predict events, rather than accommodate past ones.

Related Idea

Idea 17403 The periodic table suggests accommodation to facts rates above prediction [Scerri]