usefulness of certain information in the context of a given topic
(Redirected from Relevancy)

Relevance is the concept of one topic being connected to another topic in a way that makes it useful to consider the first topic when considering the second.


  • Scientific models have all these connotations. They are representations of states, objects, and events. They are idealized in the sense that they are less complicated than reality and hence easier to use for research purposes. These models are easier to manipulate and "carry" than the real thing. The simplicity of models, compared with reality, lies in the fact that only the relevant properties of reality are represented.
    • Russell L. Ackoff Scientific method: optimizing applied research decisions(1962), p. 108; as cited in: Joe H. Ward, Earl Jennings, Introduction to linear models (1973), p. 4.
  • It seems very odd to me that content would be removed based on an individual’s personal appreciation of relevance. If the article provides useful information and references, it should at least be valued for the efforts of the contributing individuals.
  • Vertical thinking is selection by exclusion. One works within a frame of reference and throws out what is not relevant. With lateral thinking one realizes that a pattern cannot be restructured from within itself but only as the result of some outside influence. So one welcomes outside influences for their provocative action. The more irrelevant such influences are the more chance there is of altering the established pattern. To look only for things that are relevant means perpetuating the current pattern.
    • Edward de Bono, Lateral Thinking : Creativity Step by Step (1970), p. 32; as cited in: ACEEE (1994) 1994 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, p. 165.
  • Which facts are relevant and which are not relevant to a science will be relative to the current state of development of that science.
    • Alan Chalmers, What Is This Thing Called Science? (Third Edition; 1999), Chapter 3, Experiment, p. 27.
  • A root definition describing a notional system chosen for its relevance to what the investigator and/or people in the problem situation perceive as matters of contention.
    • Peter Checkland, Systems thinking, systems practice: includes a 30-year retrospective (1999), p. 319 cited in: Raymond W. Y. Kao Sustainable Economy (2010), p. 411.
  • The attempt to politicize everything is the destruction of politics. When everything is seen as relevant to politics, than politics has in fact become totalitarian.
    • Bernard Crick, In Defence Of Politics (Second Edition; 1981), Chapter 7, In Praise Of Politics, p. 151.
  • Great drama, drama that may reach the alchemical level, must have dimension and its relevance will take care of itself.
  • If people differ in an absolutely general way in their estimations of epistemic relevance, and if we follow the holism of meaning and individuate intentional states by way of the totality of their epistemic bonds, the consequence will be that two people (or, for that matter, two temporal sections of the same person) will never be in the same intentional state. Therefore, two people can never be subsumed under the same intentional generalizations. And, therefore, intentional generalization can never be successful. And, therefore again, there is no hope for an intentional psychology.
    • Jerry Fodor, Fodor & E. Lepore Holism: A Shopper's Guide (1992), Blackwell.
  • People will swear that a clairvoyant mentioned the name of their aunt from nowhere, and they will be astonished if you then play a recording that shows that thirty-two names were said before the aunt’s name, none of which had any effect on them. That’s because they wanted to hear their aunt’s name; they wanted the trick to work, so they forgot all the failures in the same way as people forget all their dreams that have no relevance to their lives, but they mark when they dream of someone they haven’t met for ages that they see the next day. I would be astounded if everyone had coincidences like that—yet people say that is somehow closed-minded of me!
    • Stephen Fry (2010). "Last Chance to Think, Interview by Kylie Sturgess". Skeptical Inquirer 34 (1)..
  • Much of current academic teaching and research has been criticized for its lack of relevance, that is, of immediate practical impact... The trouble is caused, however, not by an inadequate selection of targets, but rather by our inability to hit squarely any one of them... The weak and all too slowly growing empirical foundations clearly cannot support the proliferating superstructure of pure, or should I say, speculative economic theory.
  • I am more and more engrossed with the single poetic theme of Life and Death, for there doesn't seem to be any question more directly relevant than this one of what survives of all the beloved.
    • Alun Lewis, letter written in 1943; cited from Jeremy Hooker and Gweno Lewis (eds.) Selected Poems of Alun Lewis (London: Unwin, 1987) p. 108.
  • All that any living man normally wants — and all that any man worth calling such will stand for — is as stable and pure a perpetuation as possible of the set of forms and appearances to which his value-perceptions are, from the circumstances of moulding, instinctively attuned. That is all there is to life — the preservation of a framework which will render the experience of the individual apparently relevant and significant, and therefore reasonably satisfying.
    • H. P. Lovecraft, in a letter to James F. Morton (January 1931), in Selected Letters III, 1929-1931 edited by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei, p. 253.
  • A living system, due to its circular organization, is an inductive system and functions always in a predictive manner: what happened once will occur again. Its organization, (genetic and otherwise) is conservative and repeats only that which works. For this same reason living systems are historical systems; the relevance of a given conduct or mode of behavior is always determined in the past.
  • The political realist is not unaware of the existence and relevance of standards of thought other than political ones. As political realist, he cannot but subordinate these other standards to those of politics.
  • Normal concepts of fairness and justice can be relevant only if susceptible to being assigned economic value.
    • John Murphy, in the introduction to the 12th edition of Street on Torts (2007) concerning certain lawyers' approach to Tort law.
  • I have argued that a religion or a philosophy cannot speak about facts of the world – if it does, it is now or will eventually be wrong – but it can and should speak about the relevance and ranking of facts and observations.
  • It is one of the perceptual defects of Western government and press to assign Western-style motives to what people do in non-Western societies, as if these are universally relevant.
    • William Pfaff, Barbarian Sentiments - How The American Century Ends (1989), Chapter 5, Nationalism, p. 147.
  • The greatest danger to good computer science research today may be excessive relevance. Evidence for the worldwide fascination with computers is everywhere, from the articles on the financial, and even the front pages of the newspapers, to the difficulties that even the most prestigious universities experience in finding and keeping faculty in computer science. The best professors, instead of teaching bright students, join start-up companies.
  • There is no way to guarantee in advance what pure mathematics will later find application. We can only let the process of curiosity and abstraction take place, let mathematicians obsessively take results to their logical extremes, leaving relevance far behind, and wait to see which topics turn out to be extremely useful. If not, when the challenges of the future arrive, we won’t have the right piece of seemingly pointless mathematics to hand.
    • Peter Rowlett, "The unplanned impact of mathematics", Nature 475, 2011, pp. 166-169.
  • So far, no method has been found which would make it possible to invent hypothesis by rule. Usually some hypothesis is a necessary preliminary to the collection of facts, since the selection of facts demands some way of determining relevance. Without something of this kind, the mere multiplicity of facts is baffling.
  • Theory should be ever more demanding of our empirical resources. Simultaneously, data should be ever more demanding of the empirical relevance of theory and of the theorist's expertise in working imaginatively on problems of the world, rather than on stylized problems of the imagination.
  • We live in a culture in which intelligence is denied relevance altogether, in a search for radical innocence, or is defended as an instrument of authority and repression. In my view, the only intelligence worth defending is critical, dialectical, skeptical, desimplifying.
    • Susan Sontag, "Women, the Arts, & the Politics of Culture: An Interview with Susan Sontag" in Salmagundi, No. 31-32 (Fall/Winter 1975), p. 29; later published in Conversations with Susan Sontag (1995) edited by Leland A. Poague, p. 77.
  • I began to look at all events and all things as relevant, an opportunity to take or avoid.
    • Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club (1989), Chapter 9, page 152.
  • If, in the middle of World War II, a general could be writing a poem, then maybe I was not so irrelevant after all. Maybe the general was doing more for victory by writing a poem than he would be by commanding an army. At least, he might be doing less harm. By applying the same logic to my own condition [consultant in poetry at the Library of Congress], I decided that I might be relevant in what I called a negative way. I have clung to this concept ever since—negative relevance. In moments of vain-glory I even entertain the possibility that if my concept were more widely accepted, the world might be a better place to live in. There are a lot of people who would make better citizens if they were content to be just negatively relevant.
    • Robert Penn Warren, speech upon receipt of the 1970 National Medal for Literature, New York City (December 2, 1970), Transcript, p. 1.
  • The man of culture finds the whole past relevant; the bourgeois and the barbarian find relevant only what has some pressing connection with their appetite.

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