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From: "Daniel Fusch" <dfusch@hotmail.com>
Subject: RE: (urth) Fairy Tale logic
Date: Mon, 01 Nov 1999 17:53:11 PST

OK, Jim,

I have to disagree with this:

"The idea of verifying facts about
the world through controlled repetition seems alien to just about everyone
with the _possible_ exception of Fr Inire, and he's a bug-eyed space
monster . . ."

The Scientific Method has NOT disappeared from Urth; it is simply that 
organized (academic) sciene has disappeared. And of course the good old 
"manifest destiny conquer the stars" drive toward technological achievement 
seems to be missing--that's Vodalus' complaint, after all.

What we see in Urth are the solitary scientists, the lone natural 
philosophers who experiment privately, without involving themselves with 
agencies or universities. Baldanders is one example--he is obviously a 
tinkerer, an experimenter--of the darkest kind. He performs experiments on 
his captives in order to gain scientific knowledge.

Another rather sinister scientist appears near the end of The Citadel of the 
Autarch, while Severian is a captive of Vodalus.' Severian meets a man who 
hypothesizes that organic material exists to feed light, and he tests his 
hypotheses (or so Severian suspects) by repeatedly burning human children.

Further, we might argue that the Scientific Method was well-known, at least, 
in Typhon's time. The Typhon/Piaton project was attempted after much 

Nor is classification or biology absent--it is simply that Severian does not 
know much about classification. But remember the Botanic Gardens. The 
curators there had the plants well classified, I would say.

Anyway, I submit to you that the Scientific Method is still very present in 
the world of Urth. The thing that is missing is an organized group of 
scientists. There are no grants, there are no associations, and there 
doesn't seem to be much teamwork (with the possible exception of the 
botanists). Instead you have scattered, isolated scientists pursuing their 
separate paths.

That's all I had to say--


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