The dilemmas we face in the Archduke trips: One case in Ithaca


After a few years following the steps of the Archduke is interesting to think on the dilemmas caused by the cognitive work we are doing. These are presented on every trip, sometimes we resolve them and sometimes they remain simply as conjectures that should be clarify in the future.

In any case, if there is a method that approximates the process we follow is the "falsification" or "refutationism" of Karl Popper, especially when things are not clear... We must, at such times, make hypotheses and gradually false them and after all collect additional data. At the end of the process some are well maintained, some quite well, others barely, and others clearly do not work -this ones we do not even mention-.

Today we will share with you an example, taken at Ithaca, which presents these dilemmas and reflect the cognitive process that we indicate: The Castle of Vathy.

Regarding the Kastro -French as the Archduke said- we have the image the Archduke drew and also have a photograph taken from the west side of the entrance of Vathy. At that point the Archduke indicates to stand next to an old Venetian fortress showing the Kastro tip.

From there we have the hypothesis that the castle stood at the western tip of the exit of Vathy. But then we see a ruins from the distance mistaking us. We went to these ruins and we realized they were old windmills, in the way we nailed a thistle... Today it is difficult to observe from the distance because vegetation, thick, covers it all and makes it more difficult than a hundred years ago .

Then we find a path that ends in a staircase which finally gave us the hope of finding the Kastro. Indeed up the road there is a stone building, halved and then filled, looking like a terrace now. On the southeast corner of it we see a rounded shape that matches the design of the Archduke. Looks like we found it!


And now we continue with the process, trying to find data that may go against our hypothesis. Indeed we found it: The Vathy tourism brochure indicates that the French castle is situated in the small bay of Loutha and still has two guns. This completely contradicts our hypothesis...

We go to Loutha, and it turns out that we are actually at the place mentioned as a the "Venetian bulwark" by Archduke, also effectively with two guns. We took some pictures of the shields of the cannons and inspect the walls. We see that all the walls are straight, nothing curved around here...




At this point we have not yet solved the dilemma. Yet from the point of view of the cognitive journey of discovery that we follow, we can ask some interesting questions. Sometimes it solves the dilemma, sometimes stays in a simple hypothesis, and sometimes we have to go back to the beginning and ask some new questions. Any of these results may represent a valuable advance.

Well, we leave this dilemma as unsolved. Obviously if we had been a few more days in Ithaca we would have been able to collect more data and go a little further. And, although the dilemma is not resolved, we can ask a series of final questions: Was the Archduke wrong to say that the place he saw was a Venetian fortress? Is the Vathy tourism brochure wrong to say that the building in ruins in Loutha Beach is the French Castle? Is it really a Castle the building we saw, with a rounded corner, on the west hill of Vathy output?

We hope you enjoyed this description of the issues of the cognitive process that we usually have during the trips following the steps of the Archduke.

Obviously the learning of the Archduke do not stops here, it continues with a growing sensitization in different disciplines like history, culture, customs, architecture, economic activity, flora and fauna, and to the progressive development of aesthetic guidelines both in relation to nature and in relation to the work of man.

As Newton said: "Everything I have done is because I could climb to the shoulders of some giants..."

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