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The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, v.1

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 代数学学習の当初,私は,代数は(ユークリッド以上に)はるかに難しいということがわかった---多分,教え方が悪かった結果だと思う。私は,つぎのように暗記させられた−−「二つの数の和の二乗は,その二数おのおのの二乗の和に,その二数の'積'の二倍を加えたものに等しい」(松下注:いうまでもなく,(a + b)2 = a2 + b2 + 2ab)
 けれども,代数学(の学習)を始めた当初以後は,すべて順調に進んだ。私はよく自分の知識(の豊富さ)で新しく私についた家庭教師を感銘させて喜んだ。私が13歳の時に新しい家庭教師が来たが,ある時私が1ペニー銅貨を回転させていた。すると彼が,「その銅貨はどうして回転するのか」と言った。そこで私は答えた。「私が指で偶力を作っているからです。」 彼は言った「あなたは'偶力'についてどういうことを知っていますか」 これに対し私は,「おお−−私は'偶力'については何でも知っています」と,陽気に答えた。
At the age of eleven, I began Euclid, with my brother as my tutor. This was one of the great events of my life, as dazzling as first love. I had not imagined that there was anything so delicious in the world. After I had learned the fifth proposition, my brother told me that it was generally considered difficult, but I had found no difficulty whatever. This was the first time it had dawned upon me that I might have some intelligence. From that moment until Whitehead and I finished Principia Mathematica, when I was thirty-eight, mathematics was my chief interest, and my chief source of happiness. Like all happiness, however, it was not unalloyed. I had been told that Euclid proved things, and was much disappointed that he started with axioms. At first I refused to accept them unless my brother could offer me some reason for doing so, but he said: 'If you don't accept them we cannot go on', and as I wished to go on, I reluctantly admitted them pro tem(=pro tempore). The doubt as to the premisses of mathematics which I felt at that moment remained with me, and determined the course of my subsequent work.

The beginnings of Algebra I found far more difficult, perhaps as a result of bad teaching. I was made to learn by heart: 'The square of the sum of two numbers is equal to the sum of their squares increased by twice their product.' I had not the vaguest idea what this meant, and when I could not remember the words, my tutor threw the book at my head, which did not stimulate my intellect in any way. After the first beginnings of Algebra, however, everything else went smoothly. I used to enjoy impressing a new tutor with my knowledge. Once, at the age of thirteen, when I had a new tutor, I spun a penny, and he said to me: 'Why does that penny spin ?' and I replied: 'Because I make a couple with my fingers.' 'What do you know about couples?' he said. 'Oh, I know all about couples', I replied airily.