SAINT-EXUPÉRY Antoine de (1900-1944).

Lot 181
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SAINT-EXUPÉRY Antoine de (1900-1944).
L.A.S. "ST Ex" (draft), [1941 ?], to Roger BEAUCAIRE; 5 pages in-4. Important draft of a scientific letter to his friend the engineer Roger Beaucaire, who was in charge of public relations for l'Aéropostale in the early 1930s. Passionate about physics problems, Saint-Exupéry exchanged scientific correspondence with his engineer friend, of which the letter elucidating the problem of a barrel "immersed in a fluid" is a fine example (Pléiade, II, 1025-1027). It seems that, without even having tried to follow his friend's arguments carefully, Beaucaire refuted a little too easily some of Saint-Exupéry's arguments, which the latter nevertheless considered as obvious: "But you have once again made me very angry with your habit of attributing to your adversary the witty steps of a five-year-old child and without having deigned to understand his presentation, of throwing a very doctoral word at him that is quite hurtful [...]. You are a guy whom I like infinitely, but you exasperate me when you consider that the adversary is necessarily an ignorant idiot and that it is useless to make the effort to follow with attention what he speaks". Also Saint-Exupéry takes the trouble to explain to him the rudiments of the logic, "the very step, so childish, of this reasoning": "The structure of my reasoning (it is the diagram that you mocked) is a classic structure of reasoning of implication. Here is first the scheme of mine, I will develop it later", summarized in a box, then developed in four points (I to IV)... "Do me a favor, Beaucaire. Admit to me, since it is true, that I was right to claim that if you were allowed to contradict each of my independent assertions, you were wrong to attack the reasoning in its very approach. You wonder nicely when I use "it is necessary, it is enough..." but it is too nice. I was, I think, the best student of all, at St Louis, during my two years of special education, and since then I have read quite a bit about mathematics. I still accept after 23 years a concrete match with you [...] on the solution of some differential equations. In any case, if I tell you that I am certain of the validity of a reasoning, my assertion deserves at least to be considered without too much irony. This has nothing to do with my friendship but you have exasperated me. I like you anyway"...
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