Scientific Thinking LO22035

Tony Padgett (
Tue, 29 Jun 1999 14:19:29 +0900

Replying to LO22025 --

John Gunkler wrote:

> William James, the philosopher and psychologist, was on a lecture tour.
> After what he felt was a particularly successful talk about the nature of
> the forces that keep the earth in its orbit and the planets revolving
> around the sun he was approached by a smiling older woman. After thanking
> him for his talk she said, "All that is very nice, Mr. James, but I happen
> to know that the world rests on the back of a giant tortoise."
> James asked, "I see. But madam, on what does the giant tortoise rest?"
> She replied, quite assuredly, "On the back of another giant tortoise."
> James patiently began, "But madam, ..." at which point the woman politely
> interrupted, saying, "Save your breath, Mr. James. It's turtles all the
> way down!"

I have never been able to understand the meaning of this story. In fact, I
came across it when reading "Turtles All the Way Down" by Judith Deloizer
and John Grinder, some of the founders of NLP. Can someone enlighten me on
what this story is getting at?


Tony Padgett <>

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