Salv to tell you the truth i do not feel impelled by

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SALV.To tell you the truth, I do not feel impelled by all these reasons to grant any more than this:that whatever has a beginning, middle, and end may and ought to be called perfect. I feel nocompulsion to grant that the number three is a perfect number, nor that it has a faculty of conferringperfection upon its possessors. I do not even understand, let alone believe, that with respect to legs,3
Galileo,Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, 1632for example, the number three is more perfect than four or two; neither do I conceive the numberfour to be any imperfection in the elements, nor that they would be more perfect if they were three.Therefore it would have been better for him to leave these subtleties to the rhetoricians, and to provehis point by rigorous demonstrations such as are suitable to make in the demonstrative sciences.SIMP.It seems that you ridicule these reasons, and yet all of them are doctrines to thePythagoreans, who attribute so much to numbers. You, who are a mathematician, and who believemany Pythagorean philosophical opinions, now seem to scorn their mysteries.SALV.That the Pythagoreans held the science of the human understanding and believed it topartake of divinity simply because it understood the nature of numbers, I know very well; nor am Ifar from being of the same opinion. But that these mysteries which caused Pythagoras and his sectto have such veneration for the science of numbers are the follies that abound in the sayings andWritings of the vulgar, I do not believe at all. Rather I know that, in order to prevent the things theyadmired from being exposed to the slander and scorn of the common people, the Pythagoreanscondemned as sacrilegious the publication of the most hidden properties of numbers or of theincommensurable and irrational quantities which they investigated. They taught that anyone whohad revealed them was tormented in the other world. Therefore I believe that some one of them, justto satisfy the common sort and free himself from their inquisitiveness, gave it out that the mysteriesof numbers were those trifles which later spread among the vulgar. Such astuteness and prudenceremind one of the wise young man who, in order to stop the importunity of his mother or hisinquisitive wife -- I forget which -- who pressed him to impart the secrets of the Senate, made upsome story which afterwards caused her and many other women to be the laughing-stock of thatsame Senate.SIMP.I do not want to join the number of those who are too curious about the Pythagoreanmysteries. But as to the point in hand, I reply that the reasons produced by Aristotle to prove thatthere are not and cannot be more than three dimensions seem to me conclusive; and I believe that ifa more cogent demonstration had existed, Aristotle would not have omitted it.

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Term
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Two Chief World Systems, SIMP Aristotle

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