This is not a new idea to us by now, this far
into our Ways of Knowing studies, though Dr Kuzmitz does express the
have already discovered, with Nutting, Plato, and others that
there is probably much more to truth and the world than we might
discovered with Bacon, Peirce, the empiricists, and Kant that the world
out there may even be quite other than what we normally take it to be.
recently, one thing we have learned from Frayn's Copenhagen is
that reality may be more complex, and perhaps even more seemingly
little minds would like (re: the principle of complementarity, which
holds that seemingly contradictory principles can both be true).
What we may now also learn from Edwin Abbott,
in his classic little story about Flatland, is that there may be much
more to the
world, by many orders of magnitude, than we normally conceive of. In
this story, written in 1884 and subtitled "A Romance of Many Dimensions," we
learn of a land of two dimensions. It is inhabited by two dimensional
people who seem unable
to conceive of any more than two dimensions, just as we are perhaps
slow to conceive of any more than three dimensions (or perhaps four,
if we count time).
Just what is it, would you say, that we can learn from these little
squares and hexagons and straight lines?
An online version of this text can be found here,
but it will certainly be easier to read the text from a book than on a screen.
We hope you enjoy reading and discussing it.
Tom & Diane
ps. We strongly
recommend that your discussions of this book focus less on Abbott's
witty social critiques
found in the first two-thirds
of the book (entertaining though they are), and focus instead
more closely on the experience of multi-dimensionality in the final
one-third of the book.
That's where you will find the meat of the book and it's primary
relevance for our explorations in this course. (To help with this we're
not assigning much of the first two-thirds of the book, so that your
discussions can stay focussed on the main ideas of multi-dimensionality
in the last part of the book.)
DQs located here
SQs located here