By Eric Temple Bell

The dialogue in his booklet centres at the query "What is truth?" Dr. Bell strains the tale of man's look for the reply over a interval of approximately 6000 years, from the time of the early Egyptians until eventually the current. Very early there arose "doubts which difficulty us to-day, and which, traditionally no less than, are chargeable for the advances of modern years . . .". often talking, "we see 4 nice peaks towering above the final point of profound or lofty hypothesis at the nature of fact. the 1st of those marks historic Egypt, say 4241 B.C. to 1800 B.C.; the second one, the early Greece of Pythagoras within the 6th Century; the 3rd, the discovery in 1826 by way of Lobatchewsky of Non-Euclidean Geometry; and the fourth, emerging in 1930, the production, by means of Lucasiewicz and Tarski of strict deductive reasoning significantly varied from the conventional common sense of Aristotle . . ."

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C. is the earliest authentic date which records the ability of human beings to reason and think abstractly. Of course they "must" have reasoned abstractly long before 424 I B . , but we have no indisputable evidence that they did. That date then, in addition to being the first in history, is also one of the most important. The last assertion can be disputed, but not by any­ one who will think of the part played by abstract reasoning in scientific discovery, and of the impact of scientific discoveries on our own attempt at civilization in the past 300 years.

Unless possibly they are used as fuel to warm the bath water of the barbarians who are to overwhelm us. C. C. From evidence to be presented before long we infer that some­ where in the blank 2440 years Egyptian thought experienced a golden age. By reasonable inference we guess that somewhere in that period lived men who knew what straight abstract think­ ing is, and who practised the art of it to advance their civiliza­ tion. The question naturally arises, why should the Egyptians 54 TH E S EARCH FOR TRUTH ever have bothered their heads about abstract thinking ?

And if we catch anyone trying to "prove" something for our edification while carefully con­ cealing his hypotheses behind his rhetoric, we may be moved to tell him to whistle it. Examine the assumptions is a good working rule to practice before swallowing any theory in part or wholly. As this is another of these simple, fundamental things which are sometimes less obvious than they might be, let us examine it for a moment. More than one philosopher has reproached the "mathe­ matical mill"-deductive reasoning in its strictest form-for producing nothing "truer" than the assumptions from which the elaborate arguments start.

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