Sunday, September 11, 2005

Basically right, but totally wrong

...is a state of affairs unique in intellectual endeavours to a mathematical proof. You can have the right idea of how to prove something, but get a few (minor) details wrong which renders the thing totally wrong. You are basically right, because if you fix those, then the proof is not basically right, but totally right. Yet until you do that, the proof is totally wrong. In no other discipline is one so consistently so close yet so far away.

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