§9. The Analytic Method

63. The first problems to suggest themselves to the inquirer into nature are far too complex and difficult for any early solution, even if any satisfactorily secure conclusion can ever be drawn concerning them. What ought to be done, therefore, and what in fact is done, is at first to substitute for those problems others much simpler, much more abstract, of which there is a good prospect of finding probable solutions. Then, the reasonably certain solutions of these last problems will throw a light more or less clear upon more concrete problems which are in certain respects more interesting.

64. This method of procedure is that Analytic Method to which modern physics owes all its triumphs. It has been applied with great success in psychical sciences also. (Thus, the classical political economists, especially Ricardo, pursued this method.)2) It is reprobated by the whole Hegelian army, who think it ought to be replaced by the »Historic Method,« which studies complex problems in all their complexity, but which cannot boast any distinguished successes.

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