It would be interesting to go through the history of science and try to identify the first time when a scientific theory attempted to make sense of the real world by restricting itself to a set of conditions that almost never occur in the real world. How did other scientists first respond to this approach? It could be that Newtonian mechanics were more readily accepted because, by that time, scientists had learned that thinking about unrealistic conditions can be useful. But it’s something that political scientists haven’t learned yet.
By the way, in my big vertical learning theory article, I’m currently engaging in a three-way conversation between Dewey, Papert, and myself—where I’m putting words in Dewey’s and Papert’s mouths by extrapolating from what they have said. In fact, it’s even worse than that. I’m extrapolating from what Papert said in 1980, ignoring the direction he eventually took into constructionism, which I’m fairly critical about. I’m sort of pretending Papert took his 1980 thinking and went in a similar direction as Alan Kay! I suspect some people will have a hard time swallowing what I’m doing, but I guess you and I are a lot alike!