On rigor in science: JL Borges

At Guernica, Eric Benson has a good article on Borges love affaire with…..Texas.

“Borges once said that the worst thing that an American can say to another is ‘You’re a liar,’” Gonzalez-Gerth said when I asked him about Borges’s sense of morality. “Whereas, for Latin Americans, the worst thing is ‘You’re a coward.’ ‘Usted es un cobarde!’ Those are fighting words. Whereas ‘Un mentiroso,’ who cares? Lies, if they’re not dangerous lies, embellish reality, and that’s fiction. I think that’s how Borges thought about it.”

Rigor in Science

“… In that Empire, the Art of Cartography reached such Perfection that the map of one Province alone took up the whole of a City, and the map of the empire, the whole of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps did not satisfy, and the Colleges of Cartographers set up a Map of the Empire which had the size of the Empire itself and coincided with it point by point. Less Addicted to the Study of Cartography, Succeeding Generations understood that this Widespread Map was Useless and not without Impiety they abandoned it to the Inclemencies of the Sun and of the Winters. In the deserts of the West some mangled Ruins of the Map lasted on, inhabited by animals and Beggars; in the whole Country there are no other relics of the Disciplines of Geography.”  Suarez Miranda,Viajes de varones prudentes, Libro IV,Cap. XLV, Lerida, 1658

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