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Old 23rd September 2021, 08:06 AM   #9
Bob A
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The question of the value and nature of research, as applied to representative depictions of weapons for example, is more complex than it might appear.

Research, embodying observation leading to formulating a question as a hypothesis, and subsequently devising a method of testing the hypothesis, is a focused and necessarily narrow approach as a tool for expanding knowledge. A body of prior knowledge is implicit in its usage, distilled down from a much broader palette of information and observation: hence "re-search" is derived from "search". Medical research is science; the practice of medicine is aptly called an art.

One can speak of historical research, but this is dependent on possibly fallible and certainly biased information; it lacks the rigor of hard science, and deals with issues and information that is more vague and suspect as one goes further into the past. The farther we depart form that which can be measured and quantified, the farther we are separated from what might be described as "truth" or perhaps "reality."

Mathematics exists as pure abstraction, which nevertheless can map congruencies or corepondences in what we see as "reality," and has in fact been the precursor of the real, as mathematical abstractions have led physical science into the discovery of the hidden realities of the physical world. So-called "pure" mathematics has been found useful as a descriptor of phenomena completely unsuspected or unknown to the mathematician engaged in symbol manipulation for its own sake.

It seems therefore that the scientific method is an exquisite tool for seeking answers to problems, or questions, if one prefers, but a broad and global scope encompassing seemingly unrelated phenomena and discovering implicit patterns, which might ultimately provide scope for research, might better be viewed as "art."

Arts and sciences inform and cross-pollinate each other, and both would appear necessary to the process of discovery; essentially search and research are complementary tools in this endeavor.

Or so my musings would lead me to opine, when considering the musings of others on the topic.
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