Sagan, Carl

Someone has to propose ideas at the boundaries of the plausible, in order to so annoy the experimentalists or observationalists that they'll be motivated to disprove the idea.

The Washington Post In J. Achenbach The Final Frontier?, C1-C2 May 30, 1996

Toulmin, Stephen Goodfield, June

New ideas are the tools of science, not its end-product. They do not guarantee deeper understanding, yet our grasp of Nature will be extended only if we are prepared to welcome them and give them a hearing. If at the outset exaggerated claims are made on their behalf, this need not matter. Enthusiasm and deep conviction are necessary if men are to explore all possibilities of any new idea, and later experience can be relied on either to confirm or to moderate the initial claims—for science flourishes on a double programme of speculative liberty and unsparing criticism.

The Architecture of Matter Chapter 2 (p. 41)

Tucker, Abraham idea, on being displaced by another, does not wholly vanish, but leaves a spice and tincture of itself behind, by which it operates with a kind of attraction upon the subsequent ideas, determining which of their associates they shall introduce, namely such as carry some conformity with itself...This regular succession of ideas, all bearing a reference to some one purpose retained in view, is what we call a train; and daily experience testifies how readily they follow one another in this manner of themselves, without any pains or endeavor of ours to introduce them.

The Light of Nature Pursued Volume I Chapter X Trains

Whewell, William

Facts are the materials of science, but all Facts involve Ideas. Since, in observing Facts, we cannot exclude Ideas, we must, for the purposes of science, take care that the Ideas are clear and rigorously applied.

The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences Volume II Aphorisms

Aphorisms Concerning Science, IV (p. 467)

Whitehead, Alfred North

In the study of ideas, it is necessary to remember that insistence on hard-headed clarity issues from sentimental feeling, as it were a mist, cloaking the perplexities of fact. Insistence on clarity at all costs is based on sheer superstition as to the mode in which human intelligence functions. Our reasonings grasp at straws for premises and float on gossamers for deductions.

Adventures of Ideas Part I

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