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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Who Wrote It? When?

Try to guess the year this was written, before you Google for the quote:

"You have learned from astronomical proofs that the whole earth compared with the universe is no greater than a point, that is, compared with the sphere of the heavens, it may be thought of as having no size at all. Then, of this tiny corner... take away... the seas, marshes, and other desert places, and the space left for man hardly even deserves the name of infinitesimal."

9 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Michael Oakeshott, obviously, but I don't know when. When you were still a libertarian?

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  3. Come on, Bob, try for real -- you'll like this one!

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  4. I see that you keep censoring my messages Callahan. That's the catholic way no?

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  5. No, "censorship" is when the government stops someone from publishing something. "Taking out the trash" is what is called when someone is warned about using my blog to personally insult me, and then keeps going anyway.

    Now piss off.

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  6. Gene wrote:

    No, "censorship" is when the government stops someone from publishing something.

    Does it matter if the government is following the law as the community has always understood it to be?

    (I'm not being a wiseguy, I really think you have adopted a new framework that is going to leave you stranded on the interstate far from Cracker Barrels.)

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  7. I'm guessing it is really old, showing that the "unscientific" medievals didn't think the earth was the center of the universe?

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  8. It comes from Boethius, a 6th century Christian philosopher, in a work dated c. 524 (Consolation of Philosophy).

    Side note: The translation is evidently a modernization of the one found in Collingwood's The Idea of Nature (1945). The last bit—i.e., "hardly even deserves the name of infinitesimal"—does not mesh well with the older translations I consulted.

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  9. PSH wins the cigar!

    I took some liberties with the translation in order to hide the age.

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