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Trial and Error revisited

My PhD thesis at St Andrews was entitled “Trial and Error and the Idea of Progress,” and was published in 1978 under that title by Open Court in the United States. I returned recently to its themes in a discussion, and decided to revisit it. It is long out of print, and over the years my copies have dwindled to two. I decided to digitize it by scanning a copy and using optical character recognition, but was reluctant to sacrifice one of my only copies. The ever-helpful internet found me two ex-library copies available second hand, so I ordered them, feeling somewhat like J R Hartley. Then a friend suggested that I should outsource the digitization to India, where labour costs less and command of English is no less good, so I opted for that solution.

The book examines progress, deciding that there must be a clearly delineated aim, and a means of determining which steps move closer to that aim. Creative proposals designed to achieve our aims must be testable against competing ones to determine which of them do so better than their rivals. I’ll save the rest of it until I have an electronic copy to share…

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One Response

  1. Cambridge University Press has non-destructive scanners in Cambridge. 🙂

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