Cf: In the Way of Inquiry • Material Exigency
Our survey of obstacles to inquiry has dealt at length with blocks arising
from its formal aspects. On the other hand, I have cast this project as
an empirical inquiry, proposing to represent experimental hypotheses in
the form of computer programs. At the heart of that empirical attitude
is a feeling all formal theories should arise from and bear on experience.
Every season of growth in empirical knowledge begins with a rush to
the sources of experience. Every fresh-thinking reed of intellect is
raised to pipe up and chime in with the still-viable canons of inquiry
in one glorious paean to the personal encounter with natural experience.
But real progress in the community of inquiry depends on observers being
able to orient themselves to objects of common experience — the uncontrolled
exaltation of individual phenomenologies leads as a rule to the disappointment
and disillusionment which befalls the lot of unshared enthusiasms and fragmented
Look again at the end of the season and see it faltering to a close, with
every novice scribe rapped on the knuckles for departing from that uninspired
identification with impersonal authority which expresses itself in third-person
passive accounts of one’s own experience.