Previously in Log24: Trudeau and the Story Theory of Truth.
Morerecent remarks by Trudeau —
Bible Stories for Skeptics
Review
About the Author
Product details 
Log24 on the above publication date — July 6, 2014 —
Previously in Log24: Trudeau and the Story Theory of Truth.
Morerecent remarks by Trudeau —
Bible Stories for Skeptics
Review
About the Author
Product details 
Log24 on the above publication date — July 6, 2014 —
The previous post displayed part of a page from
a newspaper published the day Olivia NewtonJohn
turned 21 — Friday, September 26, 1969.
A meditation, with apologies to Coleridge:
In Xanadu did NewtonJohn
A stately pleasuresquare decree
Where Aleph the sacred symbol ran
Through subsquares measureless to man.
A related video —
Beware, beware, her flashing eyes, her floating hair:
Set design —
As opposed to block design —
In the Beginning…
"As is well known, the Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet."
– Borges, "The Aleph" (1945)
From some 1949 remarks of Weyl—
"The relativity problem is one of central significance throughout geometry and algebra and has been recognized as such by the mathematicians at an early time."
— Hermann Weyl, "Relativity Theory as a Stimulus in Mathematical Research," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society , Vol. 93, No. 7, Theory of Relativity in Contemporary Science: Papers Read at the Celebration of the Seventieth Birthday of Professor Albert Einstein in Princeton, March 19, 1949 (Dec. 30, 1949), pp. 535541
Weyl in 1946—:
"This is the relativity problem: to fix objectively a class of equivalent coordinatizations and to ascertain the group of transformations S mediating between them."
— Hermann Weyl, The Classical Groups , Princeton University Press, 1946, p. 16
Coxeter in 1950 described the elements of the Galois field GF(9) as powers of a primitive root and as ordered pairs of the field of residueclasses modulo 3—
"… the successive powers of the primitive root λ or 10 are
λ = 10, λ^{2} = 21, λ^{3} = 22, λ^{4} = 02,
λ^{5} = 20, λ^{6} = 12, λ^{7} = 11, λ^{8} = 01.
These are the proper coordinate symbols….
(See Fig. 10, where the points are represented in the Euclidean plane as if the coordinate residue 2 were the ordinary number 1. This representation naturally obscures the collinearity of such points as λ^{4}, λ^{5}, λ^{7}.)"
Coxeter's Figure 10 yields...
The Aleph
The details:
Coxeter's phrase "in the Euclidean plane" obscures the noncontinuous nature of the transformations that are automorphisms of the above linear 2space over GF(3).
In a nutshell —
Epigraph to "The Aleph," a 1945 story by Borges:
O God! I could be bounded in a nutshell,
and count myself a King of infinite space…
— Hamlet, II, 2
The story in book form, 1949
A 2006 biography of geometer H.S.M. Coxeter:
The Aleph (implicit in a 1950 article by Coxeter):
The details:
Related material: Group Actions, 19842009.
"János Bolyai was a nineteenthcentury mathematician who
set the stage for the field of nonEuclidean geometry."
— Transylvania Now , October 26, 2018
From Coxeter and the Relativity Problem —
Desiring the exhilarations of changes:
The motive for metaphor, shrinking from
The weight of primary noon,
The A B C of being,
The ruddy temper, the hammer
Of red and blue, the hard sound—
Steel against intimation—the sharp flash,
The vital, arrogant, fatal, dominant X.
" There is a pleasantly discursive treatment
of Pontius Pilate’s unanswered question
‘What is truth?’ "
— Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Trudeau’s
The NonEuclidean Revolution
From this journal on December 13th, 2016 —
" There is a pleasantly discursive treatment
of Pontius Pilate’s unanswered question
‘What is truth?’ "
— Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Trudeau’s
The NonEuclidean Revolution
Also on December 13th, 2016 —
"When times are mysterious
Serious numbers
Will always be heard."
— Paul Simon,
"When Numbers Get Serious"
"There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of
Pontius Pilate's unanswered question 'What is truth?'"
— H. S. M. Coxeter, introduction to Richard J. Trudeau's remarks
on the "story theory" of truth as opposed to the "diamond theory"
of truth in The NonEuclidean Revolution (1987)
The deaths of Roth and Grünbaum on September 14th,
The Feast of the Holy Cross, along with Douthat's column
today titled "Only the Truth Can Save Us Now," suggest a
review of …
Background for the remarks of Koen Thas in the previous post —
Schumacher and Westmoreland, "Modal Quantum Theory" (2010).
Related material —
" There is a pleasantly discursive treatment
of Pontius Pilate’s unanswered question
‘What is truth?’ "
— Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Trudeau’s
The NonEuclidean Revolution
The whole truth may require an unpleasantly discursive treatment.
Example —
1. The reported death on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, of a dancer
closely associated with George Balanchine
2. This journal on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018:
3. Illustration from a search related to the above dancer:
4. "Per Mare Per Terras" — Clan slogan above, illustrated with
what looks like a crossdagger.
"Unsheathe your dagger definitions." — James Joyce.
5. Discursive remarks on quantum theory by the above
Schumacher and Westmoreland:
6. "How much story do you want?" — George Balanchine
At the Googleplex .
For those whose only interest in higher mathematics
is as a path to the occult …
Plato's Diamond and the Hebrew letter Aleph —
and some related (if only graphically) mathematics —
Click the above image for some related purely mathematical remarks.
The image of art historian Rosalind Krauss in the previous post
suggests a review of a page from her 1979 essay "Grids" —
The previous post illustrated a 3×3 grid. That cultist space does
provide a place for a few "vestiges of the nineteenth century" —
namely, the elements of the Galois field GF(9) — to hide.
See Coxeter's Aleph in this journal.
These are Rothko's Swamps .
See a Log24 search for related meditations.
For all three topics combined, see Coxeter —
" There is a pleasantly discursive treatment
of Pontius Pilate’s unanswered question
‘What is truth?’ "
— Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Trudeau’s
The NonEuclidean Revolution
Update of 10 AM ET — Related material, with an elementary example:
Posts tagged "Defining Form." The example —
John Updike on Don DeLillo's thirteenth novel, Cosmopolis —
" DeLillo’s postChristian search for 'an order at some deep level'
has brought him to global computerization:
'the zerooneness of the world, the digital imperative . . . . ' "
— The New Yorker , issue dated March 31, 2003
On that date ….
Related remark —
" There is a pleasantly discursive treatment
of Pontius Pilate’s unanswered question
‘What is truth?’ "
— Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Trudeau’s
The NonEuclidean Revolution
"Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good."
— T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets
From this journal on Orthodox Good Friday, 2016,
an image from New Scientist on St. Andrew's Day, 2015 —
From an old Dick Tracy strip —
See also meditations from this year's un Orthodox Good Friday
in a Tennessee weblog and in this journal —
" There is a pleasantly discursive treatment
of Pontius Pilate’s unanswered question
‘What is truth?’ ”
— Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Trudeau’s
The NonEuclidean Revolution
Toronto geometer H.S.M. Coxeter, introducing a book by Unitarian minister
Richard J. Trudeau —
"There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of Pontius Pilate’s
unanswered question ‘What is truth?’”
— Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Trudeau’s
The NonEuclidean Revolution
Another such treatment …
"Of course, it will surprise no one to find low standards
of intellectual honesty on the Tonight Show.
But we find a less trivial example if we enter the
hallowed halls of Harvard University. . . ."
— Neal Koblitz, "Mathematics as Propaganda"
Less pleasantly and less discursively —
"Funny how annoying a little prick can be."
— The late Garry Shandling
There are various ways to coordinatize a 3×3 array
(the Chinese "Holy Field'). Here are some —
See Cullinane, Coxeter, and Knight tour.
Yes. See …
The 48 actions of GL(2,3) on a 3×3 coordinatearray A,
when matrices of that group rightmultiply the elements of A,
with A =
(1,1) (1,0) (1,2) (0,1) (0,0) (0,2) (2,1) (2,0) (2,2) 
Actions of GL(2,p) on a pxp coordinatearray have the
same sorts of symmetries, where p is any odd prime.
Note that A, regarded in the Sallows manner as a magic square,
has the constant sum (0,0) in rows, columns, both diagonals, and
all four broken diagonals (with arithmetic modulo 3).
For a more sophisticated approach to the structure of the
ninefold square, see Coxeter + Aleph.
(Continued from this morning)
The above stylized "N," based on
an 8cycle in the 9element Galois field
GF(9), may also be read as an Aleph.
Graphic designers may prefer a simpler,
bolder version:
See Coxeter + Aleph in this journal.
Epigraph to "The Aleph," a 1945 story by Borges:
"O God! I could be bounded in a nutshell,
and count myself a King of infinite space…"
– Hamlet, II, 2
"Now the serpent was more subtle
than any beast of the field…."
— Genesis 3:1
"“The serpent’s eyes shine
As he wraps around the vine….”
– Don Henley
"Nine is a vine."
— Folk rhyme
Click images for some background.
"… myths are stories, and like all narratives
they unravel through time, whereas grids
are not only spatial to start with,
they are visual structures that explicitly reject
a narrative or sequential reading of any kind."
— Rosalind Krauss in "Grids,"
October (Summer 1979), 9: 5064.
Counterexample—
The Ninefold Square
See Coxeter and the Aleph and Ayn Sof—
Mathematics and Narrative, Illustrated 

Mathematics 
Narrative 
See last year's Day of the Tetraktys.
Those who prefer Hebrew to Greek may consult Coxeter and the Aleph.
See also last midnight's The Aleph as well as Saturday morning's
An Ordinary Evening in Hartford and Saturday evening's
For Whom the Bell (with material from March 20, 2011).
For connoisseurs of synchronicity, there is …
THE LAST CONCERT
Cached from http://mrpianotoday.com/tourdates.htm —
The last concert of Roger Williams — March 20, 2011 —
March 20 
"Roger Williams" In Concert, 
Palm Desert, CA 
Background music… Theme from "Somewhere in Time"
Three links with a Borges flavor—
Related material
The 236 in yesterday evening's NY lottery may be
viewed as the 236 in March 18's Defining Configurations.
For some background, see Configurations and Squares.
A new illustration for that topic—
This shows a reconcilation of the triples described by Sloane
in Defining Configurations with the square geometric
arrangement described by Coxeter in the Aleph link above.
Note that the 56 from yesterday's midday NY lottery
describes the triples that appear both in the Eightfold Way
link above and also in a possible source for
the eight triples of Sloane's 8_{3} configuration—
The geometric square arrangement discussed in the Aleph link
above appears in a different, but still rather Borgesian, context
in yesterday morning's Minimalist Icon.
The source of the mysterious generic
3×3 favicon with one green cell —
— has been identified.
For minimalists, here is a purer 3×3 matrix favicon—
This may, if one likes, be viewed as the "nothing"
present at the Creation. See Jim Holt on physics.
See also Visualizing GL(2,p), Coxeter and the Aleph, and Ayn Sof.
The LA Times on last weekend's film "Thor"—
"… the film… attempts to bridge director Kenneth Branagh's highminded Shakespearean intentions with Marvel Entertainment's bottomlineoriented need to crank out entertainment product."
Those averse to Nordic religion may contemplate a different approach to entertainment (such as Taymor's recent approach to SpiderMan).
A highminded— if not Shakespearean— nonNordic approach to groups acting—
"What was wrong? I had taken almost four semesters of algebra in college. I had read every page of Herstein, tried every exercise. Somehow, a message had been lost on me. Groups act . The elements of a group do not have to just sit there, abstract and implacable; they can do things, they can 'produce changes.' In particular, groups arise naturally as the symmetries of a set with structure. And if a group is given abstractly, such as the fundamental group of a simplical complex or a presentation in terms of generators and relators, then it might be a good idea to find something for the group to act on, such as the universal covering space or a graph."
— Thomas W. Tucker, review of Lyndon's Groups and Geometry in The American Mathematical Monthly , Vol. 94, No. 4 (April 1987), pp. 392394
"Groups act "… For some examples, see
Related entertainment—
Highminded— Many Dimensions—
Not so highminded— The Cosmic Cube—
One way of blending high and low—
The highminded Charles Williams tells a story
in his novel Many Dimensions about a cosmically
significant cube inscribed with the Tetragrammaton—
the name, in Hebrew, of God.
The following figure can be interpreted as
the Hebrew letter Aleph inscribed in a 3×3 square—
The above illustration is from undated software by Ed Pegg Jr.
For mathematical background, see a 1985 note, "Visualizing GL(2,p)."
For entertainment purposes, that note can be generalized from square to cube
(as Pegg does with his "GL(3,3)" software button).
For the Nordicaverse, some background on the Hebrew connection—
For the title, see Palm Sunday.
"There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of
Pontius Pilate's unanswered question 'What is truth?'" — H. S. M. Coxeter, 1987
From this date (April 22) last year—
Richard J. Trudeau in The NonEuclidean Revolution , chapter on "Geometry and the Diamond Theory of Truth"– "… Plato and Kant, and most of the philosophers and scientists in the 2200year interval between them, did share the following general presumptions: (1) Diamonds– informative, certain truths about the world– exist. Presumption (1) is what I referred to earlier as the 'Diamond Theory' of truth. It is far, far older than deductive geometry." Trudeau's book was published in 1987. The nonEuclidean* figures above illustrate concepts from a 1976 monograph, also called "Diamond Theory." Although nonEuclidean,* the theorems of the 1976 "Diamond Theory" are also, in Trudeau's terminology, diamonds. * "NonEuclidean" here means merely "other than Euclidean." No violation of Euclid's parallel postulate is implied. 
Trudeau comes to reject what he calls the "Diamond Theory" of truth. The trouble with his argument is the phrase "about the world."
Geometry, a part of pure mathematics, is not about the world. See G. H. Hardy, A Mathematician's Apology .
(A continuation of this morning's Coxeter and the Aleph)
"You've got to pick up every stitch… Must be the season of the witch."
— Donovan song at the end of Nicole Kidman's "To Die For"
Mathematics and Narrative, Illustrated  
Narrative 
"As is well known, the Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Its use for the strange sphere in my story may not be accidental.
For the Kabbala, the letter stands for the En Soph ,
the pure and boundless godhead; it is also said that it takes
the shape of a man pointing to both heaven and earth, in order to show
that the lower world is the map and mirror of the higher; for Cantor's
Mengenlehre , it is the symbol of transfinite numbers,
of which any part is as great as the whole."
— Borges, "The Aleph"
From WorldLingo.com —

"Infinite Jest… now stands as the principal contender
for what serious literature can aspire to
in the late twentieth and early twentyfirst centuries."
— All Things Shining, a work of pop philosophy published January 4th
"You're gonna need a bigger boat." — Roy Scheider in "Jaws"
"We're gonna need more holy water." — "Season of the Witch," a film opening tonight
See also, with respect to David Foster Wallace, infinity, nihilism,
and the above reading of "Ayn Sof" as "nothingness,"
the quotations compiled as "Is Nothing Sacred?"
An Epic Search for Truth
— Subtitle of Logicomix , a work reviewed in the December 2010 Notices of the American Mathematical Society (see previous post).
Some future historian of mathematics may contrast the lurid cover of the December 2010 Notices
Excerpts from Logicomix
with the 1979 cover found in a somewhat less epic search —
Larger view of Google snippet —
For some purely mathematical background, see Finite Geometry of the Square and Cube.
For some background related to searches for truth, see "Coxeter + Trudeau" in this journal.
Truth, Geometry, Algebra
The following notes are related to A Simple Reflection Group of Order 168.
1. According to H.S.M. Coxeter and Richard J. Trudeau
“There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of Pontius Pilate’s unanswered question ‘What is truth?’.”
— Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Trudeau’s The NonEuclidean Revolution
1.1 Trudeau’s Diamond Theory of Truth
1.2 Trudeau’s Story Theory of Truth
2. According to Alexandre Borovik and Steven H. Cullinane
2.1 Coxeter Theory according to Borovik
2.1.1 The Geometry–
Mirror Systems in Coxeter Theory
2.1.2 The Algebra–
Coxeter Languages in Coxeter Theory
2.2 Diamond Theory according to Cullinane
2.2.1 The Geometry–
Examples: Eightfold Cube and Solomon’s Cube
2.2.2 The Algebra–
Examples: Cullinane and (rather indirectly related) Gerhard Grams
Summary of the story thus far:
Diamond theory and Coxeter theory are to some extent analogous– both deal with reflection groups and both have a visual (i.e., geometric) side and a verbal (i.e., algebraic) side. Coxeter theory is of course highly developed on both sides. Diamond theory is, on the geometric side, currently restricted to examples in at most three Euclidean (and six binary) dimensions. On the algebraic side, it is woefully underdeveloped. For material related to the algebraic side, search the Web for generators+relations+”characteristic two” (or “2“) and for generators+relations+”GF(2)”. (This last search is the source of the Grams reference in 2.2.2 above.)
Unitarian Universalist Origins: Our Historic Faith—
“In sixteenthcentury Transylvania, Unitarian congregations were established for the first time in history.”
Gravity’s Rainbow–
“For every kind of vampire, there is a kind of cross.”
Unitarian minister Richard Trudeau—
“… I called the belief that
(1) Diamonds– informative, certain truths about the world– exist
the ‘Diamond Theory’ of truth. I said that for 2200 years the strongest evidence for the Diamond Theory was the widespread perception that
(2) The theorems of Euclidean geometry are diamonds….
As the news about nonEuclidean geometry spread– first among mathematicians, then among scientists and philosophers– the Diamond Theory began a long decline that continues today.
Factors outside mathematics have contributed to this decline. Euclidean geometry had never been the Diamond Theory’s only ally. In the eighteenth century other fields had seemed to possess diamonds, too; when many of these turned out to be manmade, the Diamond Theory was undercut. And unlike earlier periods in history, when intellectual shocks came only occasionally, received truths have, since the eighteenth century, been found wanting at a dizzying rate, creating an impression that perhaps no knowledge is stable.
Other factors notwithstanding, nonEuclidean geometry remains, I think, for those who have heard of it, the single most powerful argument against the Diamond Theory*– first, because it overthrows what had always been the strongest argument in favor of the Diamond Theory, the objective truth of Euclidean geometry; and second, because it does so not by showing Euclidean geometry to be false, but by showing it to be merely uncertain.” —The NonEuclidean Revolution, p. 255
H. S. M. Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Trudeau’s book—
“There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of Pontius Pilate’s unanswered question ‘What is truth?’.”
As noted here on Oct. 8, 2008 (A Yom Kippur Meditation), Coxeter was aware in 1987 of a more technical use of the phrase “diamond theory” that is closely related to…
Pilate Goes
to Kindergarten
“There is a pleasantly discursive
treatment of Pontius Pilate’s
unanswered question
‘What is truth?’.”
— H. S. M. Coxeter, 1987,
introduction to Trudeau’s
remarks on the “Story Theory“
of truth as opposed to the
“Diamond Theory” of truth in
The NonEuclidean Revolution
Consider the following question in a paper cited by V. S. Varadarajan:
E. G. Beltrametti, “Can a finite geometry describe physical spacetime?” Universita degli studi di Perugia, Atti del convegno di geometria combinatoria e sue applicazioni, Perugia 1971, 57–62.
Simplifying:
“Can a finite geometry describe physical space?”
Simplifying further:
“Yes. Vide ‘The Eightfold Cube.'”
This journal on October 8, 2008, at noon: “There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of Pontius Pilate’s unanswered question ‘What is truth?'” Trudeau’s 1987 book uses the phrase “diamond theory” to denote the philosophical theory, common since Plato and Euclid, that there exist truths (which Trudeau calls “diamonds”) that are certain and eternal– for instance, the truth in Euclidean geometry that the sum of a triangle’s angles is 180 degrees. Insidehighered.com on “Future readers may consider Updike our era’s Mozart; Mozart was once written off as a tooprolific composer of ‘charming nothings,’ and some speak of Updike that way.” — Comment by BPJ 
Updike died on January 27.
On the same date,
Mozart was born.
Requiem
Mr. Best entered, tall, young, mild, light. He bore in his hand with grace a notebook, new, large, clean, bright. — James Joyce, Ulysses, 
Serious Numbers
A Yom Kippur
Meditation
"When times are mysterious
Serious numbers
Will always be heard."
— Paul Simon,
"When Numbers Get Serious"
"There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of Pontius Pilate's unanswered question 'What is truth?'"
— H. S. M. Coxeter, introduction to Richard J. Trudeau's remarks on the "story theory" of truth as opposed to the "diamond theory" of truth in The NonEuclidean Revolution
Trudeau's 1987 book uses the phrase "diamond theory" to denote the philosophical theory, common since Plato and Euclid, that there exist truths (which Trudeau calls "diamonds") that are certain and eternal– for instance, the truth in Euclidean geometry that the sum of a triangle's angles is 180 degrees. As the excerpt below shows, Trudeau prefers what he calls the "story theory" of truth–
"There are no diamonds. People make up stories about what they experience. Stories that catch on are called 'true.'"
(By the way, the phrase "diamond theory" was used earlier, in 1976, as the title of a monograph on geometry of which Coxeter was aware.)
What does this have to do with numbers?
Pilate's skeptical tone suggests he may have shared a certain confusion about geometric truth with thinkers like Trudeau and the slave boy in Plato's Meno. Truth in a different part of mathematics– elementary arithmetic– is perhaps more easily understood, although even there, the existence of what might be called "nonEuclidean number theory"– i.e., arithmetic over finite fields, in which 1+1 can equal zero– might prove baffling to thinkers like Trudeau.
Trudeau's book exhibits, though it does not discuss, a less confusing use of numbers– to mark the location of pages. For some philosophical background on this version of numerical truth that may be of interest to devotees of the Semitic religions on this evening's High Holiday, see Zen and Language Games.
For uses of numbers that are more confusing, see– for instance– the new website The Daily Beast and the old website Story Theory and the Number of the Beast.
“The historical road
from the Platonic solids
to the finite simple groups
is well known.”
— Steven H. Cullinane,
November 2000,
Symmetry from Plato to
the FourColor Conjecture
“By far the most important structure in design theory is the Steiner system S(5, 8, 24).”
This Steiner system is closely connected to M_{24} and to the extended binary Golay code. Brouwer gives an elegant construction of that code (and therefore of M_{24}):
“Let N be the adjacency matrix of the icosahedron (points: 12 vertices, adjacent: joined by an edge). Then the rows of the 12×24 matrix
— Op. cit., p. 719
Finite Geometry of
the Square and Cube
and
Jewel in the Crown
“There is a pleasantly discursive
treatment of Pontius Pilate’s
unanswered question
‘What is truth?'”
— H. S. M. Coxeter, 1987,
introduction to Trudeau’s
“story theory” of truth
Those who prefer stories to truth
may consult the Log24 entries
of March 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
They may also consult
the poet Rubén Darío:
… Todo lo sé por el lucero puro
que brilla en la diadema de la Muerte.
“There is a pleasantly discursive treatment
of Pontius Pilate’s unanswered question
‘What is truth?'”
— H. S. M. Coxeter, 1987, introduction to
Richard J. Trudeau’s remarks on
the “Story Theory” of truth
as opposed to
the “Diamond Theory” of truth
in The NonEuclidean Revolution
A Serious Position
“‘Teitelbaum,’ in German,
is ‘date palm.'”
— Generations, Jan. 2003
“In Hasidism, a mystical brand
of Orthodox Judaism, the grand rabbi
is revered as a kinglike link to God….”
— Today’s New York Times obituary
of Rabbi Moses Teitelbaum,
who died on April 24, 2006
(Easter Monday in the
Orthodox Church)
From Wikipedia, an unsigned story:
“In 1923 Alfred Teitelbaum and his brother Wacław changed their surnames to Tarski, a name they invented because it sounded very Polish, was simple to spell and pronounce, and was unused. (Years later, he met another Alfred Tarski in northern California.) The Tarski brothers also converted to Roman Catholicism, the national religion of the Poles. Alfred did so, even though he was an avowed atheist, because he was about to finish his Ph.D. and correctly anticipated that it would be difficult for a Jew to obtain a serious position in the new Polish university system.”
Adapted from
illustration below:
“There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of Pontius Pilate’s unanswered question ‘What is truth?'”
— H. S. M. Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Richard J. Trudeau’s remarks on the “Story Theory” of truth as opposed to the “Diamond Theory” of truth in The NonEuclidean Revolution
“A new epistemology is emerging to replace the Diamond Theory of truth. I will call it the ‘Story Theory’ of truth: There are no diamonds. People make up stories about what they experience. Stories that catch on are called ‘true.’ The Story Theory of truth is itself a story that is catching on. It is being told and retold, with increasing frequency, by thinkers of many stripes*….”
— Richard J. Trudeau in
The NonEuclidean Revolution
“‘Deniers’ of truth… insist that each of us is trapped in his own point of view; we make up stories about the world and, in an exercise of power, try to impose them on others.”
— Jim Holt in The New Yorker.
Exercise of Power:
Show that a white horse–
a figure not unlike the
symbol of the mathematics
publisher Springer–
is traced, within a naturally
arranged rectangular array of
polynomials, by the powers of x
modulo a polynomial
irreducible over a Galois field.
This horse, or chess knight–
“Springer,” in German–
plays a role in “Diamond Theory”
(a phrase used in finite geometry
in 1976, some years before its use
by Trudeau in the above book).
Related material
On this date:
In 1490, The White Knight
(Tirant lo Blanc )–
a major influence on Cervantes–
was published, and in 1910
the Mexican Revolution began.
Illustration:
Zapata by Diego Rivera,
Museum of Modern Art,
New York
“First published in the Catalan language in Valencia in 1490…. Reviewing the first modern Spanish translation in 1969 (Franco had ruthlessly suppressed the Catalan language and literature), Mario Vargas Llosa hailed the epic’s author as ‘the first of that lineage of Godsupplanters– Fielding, Balzac, Dickens, Flaubert, Tolstoy, Joyce, Faulkner– who try to create in their novels an allencompassing reality.'”
— H. S. M. Coxeter, introduction to
Richard J. Trudeau’s
The NonEuclidean Revolution
“People have always longed for truths about the world — not logical truths, for all their utility; or even probable truths, without which daily life would be impossible; but informative, certain truths, the only ‘truths’ strictly worthy of the name. Such truths I will call ‘diamonds’; they are highly desirable but hard to find….The happy metaphor is Morris Kline’s in Mathematics in Western Culture (Oxford, 1953), p. 430.”
— Richard J. Trudeau,
The NonEuclidean Revolution,
Birkhauser Boston,
1987, pages 114 and 117
“A new epistemology is emerging to replace the Diamond Theory of truth. I will call it the ‘Story Theory’ of truth: There are no diamonds. People make up stories about what they experience. Stories that catch on are called ‘true.’ The Story Theory of truth is itself a story that is catching on. It is being told and retold, with increasing frequency, by thinkers of many stripes…. My own viewpoint is the Story Theory…. I concluded long ago that each enterprise contains only stories (which the scientists call ‘models of reality’). I had started by hunting diamonds; I did find dazzlingly beautiful jewels, but always of human manufacture.”
— Richard J. Trudeau,
The NonEuclidean Revolution,
Birkhauser Boston,
1987, pages 256 and 259
An example of
the story theory of truth:
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow (“Proof”) was apparently born on either Sept. 27, 1972, or Sept. 28, 1972. Google searches yield “about 193” results for the 27th and “about 610” for the 28th.
Those who believe in the “story theory” of truth may therefore want to wish her a happy birthday today. Those who do not may prefer the contents of yesterday’s entry, from Paltrow’s other birthday.
Mathematics and Narrative
continued
"There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of Pontius Pilate's unanswered question 'What is truth?'"
— H. S. M. Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Richard J. Trudeau's remarks on the "Story Theory" of truth as opposed to the "Diamond Theory" of truth " in The NonEuclidean Revolution
"I had an epiphany: I thought 'Oh my God, this is it! People are talking about elliptic curves and of course they think they are talking mathematics. But are they really? Or are they talking about stories?'"
— An organizer of last month's "Mathematics and Narrative" conference
"A new epistemology is emerging to replace the Diamond Theory of truth. I will call it the 'Story Theory' of truth: There are no diamonds. People make up stories about what they experience. Stories that catch on are called 'true.' The Story Theory of truth is itself a story that is catching on. It is being told and retold, with increasing frequency, by thinkers of many stripes*…."
— Richard J. Trudeau in The NonEuclidean Revolution
"'Deniers' of truth… insist that each of us is trapped in his own point of view; we make up stories about the world and, in an exercise of power, try to impose them on others."
— Jim Holt in this week's New Yorker magazine. Click on the box below.
* Many stripes —
"What disciplines were represented at the meeting?"
"Apart from historians, you mean? Oh, many: writers, artists, philosophers, semioticians, cognitive psychologists – you name it."
— An organizer of last month's "Mathematics and Narrative" conference
ART WARS:
Toward Eternity
April is Poetry Month, according to the Academy of American Poets. It is also Mathematics Awareness Month, funded by the National Security Agency; this year's theme is "Mathematics and Art."
Some previous journal entries for this month seem to be summarized by Emily Dickinson's remarks:
"Because I could not stop for Death–
He kindly stopped for me–
The Carriage held but just Ourselves–
And Immortality.
Math Awareness Month April is Math Awareness Month.

An Offer He Couldn't Refuse Today's birthday: Francis Ford Coppola is 64.
From a note on geometry of April 28, 1985: 
The Eight Today, the fourth day of the fourth month, plays an important part in Katherine Neville's The Eight. Let us honor this work, perhaps the greatest bad novel of the twentieth century, by reflecting on some properties of the number eight. Consider eight rectangular cells arranged in an array of four rows and two columns. Let us label these cells with coordinates, then apply a permutation.
The resulting set of arrows that indicate the movement of cells in a permutation (known as a Singer 7cycle) outlines rather neatly, in view of the chess theme of The Eight, a knight. This makes as much sense as anything in Neville's fiction, and has the merit of being based on fact. It also, albeit rather crudely, illustrates the "Mathematics and Art" theme of this year's Mathematics Awareness Month. The visual appearance of the "knight" permutation is less important than the fact that it leads to a construction (due to R. T. Curtis) of the Mathieu group M_{24} (via the Curtis Miracle Octad Generator), which in turn leads logically to the Monster group and to related "moonshine" investigations in the theory of modular functions. See also "Pieces of Eight," by Robert L. Griess. 
An Offer He Couldn't Refuse
Today's birthday: Francis Ford Coppola is 64.
"There is a pleasantly discursive treatment
of Pontius Pilate's unanswered question
'What is truth?'."
— H. S. M. Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Richard J. Trudeau's remarks on the "Story Theory" of truth as opposed to the "Diamond Theory" of truth in The NonEuclidean Revolution
"Then came From Here to Eternity. Sinatra lobbied hard for the role, practically getting on his knees to secure the role of the street smart punk G.I. Maggio. He sensed this was a role that could revive his career, and his instincts were right. There are lots of stories about how Columbia Studio head Harry Cohn was convinced to give the role to Sinatra, the most famous of which is expanded upon in the horse's head sequence in The Godfather. Maybe no one will know the truth about that. The one truth we do know is that the feisty New Jersey actor won the Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for his work in From Here to Eternity. It was no looking back from then on."
From a note on geometry of April 28, 1985:
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