This is the context:

Let’s analyze what happened with our distributive rule. There was a certain phenomenon in the physical world that was observed about marbles. A human being observes it and makes a model of this true fact with numbers. The human then further generalizes it for all numbers. This is a truth that is perhaps shared with other human beings. Many years later, another phenomenon is observed. This second phenomenon also satisfies some type of distributive law and the same model is used to characterize that second phenomenon. Abstract mathematics becomes true on its own and does not relate to the original way it was discovered.

In this context, What is the meaning of the bold sentence? is this means that human beings have this truth in common or that this truth is told to other people?


1 Answer 1


It is the latter. Someone made an observation, formalised it, and shared it with others. The passage is not saying that all those who know, arrived at their understanding independently.

Later on, a related truth was deduced without reference to marbles, and this abstract theory too is probably taught to others.

Having said that, many people do re-invent discoveries for themselves without being taught them.

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