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爱因斯坦给斯威泽回信中的“those discoveries"的翻译 精选
2015-4-16 00:03
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爱因斯坦给斯威泽回信的原文是:

Development of Western science is based on two great achievements: the invention of the formal logical system (in Euclidean geometry) by the Greek philosophers, and the discovery of the possibility to find out causal relationships by systematic experiment (during the Renaissance). In my opinion one has not to be astonished that the Chinese sages have not made those steps. The astonishing thing is that those discoveries were made at all.


爱因斯坦这种大师的心里,世界上本没有真的发明(invention),只有发现(discovery)。所谓的发明,这不过是人类对世间本来就存在的的客观规律的发现。 对于像逻辑这样的普遍适用的科学,爱因斯坦这种大师的心里, 更不可能是人类的发明。Invention is simply a discovery of physical laws that have always been there.  比如相对论,爱因斯坦不可能认为他发明了相对论。相对论是真理,他只不过发现了真理而已。爱因斯坦这种观点,在附件文章Einstein On The Method of Theoretical Physics 的开头就有阐述,不是我的主观臆断。“For to the discoverer in that field, the constructions of his imagination appear so
necessary and so natural that he is apt to treat them not as the creations of his thoughts but as given realities.”


爱因斯坦在本文开头的信里用invention,就是当作discovery的同义词避免重复而已。


当然,现代专利法中的invention,恰恰规定discovery of physical laws是不能申请专利的,这是题外话。以下内容不能申请专利:abstract ideas (such as mathematical algorithms), natural phenomena, and laws of nature。


所以,those discoveries, 就是invention (a discovery) of the formal logical systemdiscovery of the possibility to find out causal relationships by systematic experiment.  


爱因斯坦those discoveries和中国的四大发明没半点关系。爱因斯坦的英文并不拙劣。


本人推测爱因斯坦个人有这个偏爱, 认为“不断的重复用同一个词,是词汇贫乏的表现”。所以才刻意变换词语,用invention vs. discovery;those steps vs. those discoveries; astonishing vs astonished; achievements vs discoveries; these vs those (假如他真的用了these的话)。

目的只有一个,避免monotonic and repetitive.


以下是宾州大学英语写作教材, 注意第十六条: 避免重复使用同一个词, 要尽量变换用词. 这样的写作训练,爱因斯坦也应该有接受过。西方有一部分人认为Repetition in writing is the manifestation of a simple mind。其中thesaurus是同义词词典。爱因斯坦当年写信用了同义词词典了没有?


https://www.sas.upenn.edu/irp/editing-tips-effective-writing

16. Avoid being repetitive in your use of words. Shoot for variety (use your thesaurus). Better yet, shoot for greater precision and specificity. Thus, instead of writing "the United States" over and over again, refer at times to "America" or "the Truman Administration." Better yet, when possible, specify the precise actors to convey more information, as in "the State Department" or "U.S. Occupation Commanders."


附件

Einstein On The Method of Theoretical Physics.pdf



相关专题:爱因斯坦的回信

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