# Henri Poincaré - **Science and Hypothesis (1902)**

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But, one will say, if raw experience can not legitimatize reasoning by recurrence, is it so of experiment aided by induction? We see successively that a theorem is true of the number 1, of the number 2, of the number 3 and so on; the law is evident, we say, and it has the same warranty as every physical law based on observations, whose number is very great but limited. But there is an essential difference. Induction applied to the physical sciences is always uncertain, because it rests on the belief in a general order of the universe, an order outside of us. Mathematical induction, that is, demonstration by recurrence, on the contrary, imposes itself necessarily, because it is only the affirmation of a property of the mind itself.Henri Poincaré

Is the position tenable, that certain phenomena, possible in Euclidean space, would be impossible in non-Euclidean space, so that experience, in establishing these phenomena, would directly contradict the non-Euclidean hypothesis? For my part I think no such question can be put. To my mind it is precisely equivalent to the following, whose absurdity is patent to all eyes: are there lengths expressible in meters and centimeters, but which can not be measured in fathoms, feet, and inches, so that experience, in ascertaining the existence of these lengths, would directly contradict the hypothesis that there are fathoms divided into six feet?Henri Poincaré