In a previous post, I said that an appropriate purgatory for physicists would be to have them read all of the words ever written on the interpretation of quantum mechanics.
I have since noticed similar “purgatorial readings” in other fields. Here is a table:
|Physics||everything ever written on the interpretation of quantum mechanics|
|Theology||everything ever written on the Filioque|
|History||everything ever written on the Fall of Rome|
|Statistics||everything ever written on frequentist vs. Bayesian foundations|
On the Fall of Rome, David Gress writes in From Plato to NATO:
The venerable discussion of the Fall of Rome appears to confirm that there truly is nothing new under the sun. Most of the basic explanations were already old by the mid-nineteenth century, when both the scholarly and the polemical arguments began to heat up.
He later mentions a book (apparently only available in German):
A vast spectrum of reasons from absolutism to zealotry was wittily catalogued by the historian Alexander Demandt, who listed 210 of them in his book Der Fall Roms (The Fall [or Case] of Rome - Fall in German means both).
Now that I have started to notice this type of subject, I will probably add to the table as time goes on (the Baader-Meinhof effect). Does anyone else have similar “purgatorial readings” from fields they are familiar with? Is there another name for this phenomenon?