Is the Kierkegaardian idea true? and other queries

In February, I was invited to give talks in Bristol and Oxford, and I spent the night after the second talk in a guest room of Worcester College. While looking at the brochure explaining the history of this college, I noticed that a previous guest had left a cryptic inscription, which I took a photograph of:


Can anybody make a guess of what is the first line? It is

What is the **** historical perspective?

but I can’t read the missing fourth word!

And what is the Kierkergaardian idea, really?

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I am a professor of mathematics at ETH Zürich since 2008.

4 thoughts on “Is the Kierkegaardian idea true? and other queries”

  1. “bald”, I think. Or maybe “bold”, but I think “bald” would make a bit more sense.

  2. The first letter looks more like a “w” to me (especially when comparing with the first word “What” of the sentence). The last letter seems to be a “d” and the second to last letter seems to be an “l” (compare with “historical”). So I’m guessing “world” might be the mystery word (although I cannot see an “r”…). Googling “World historical perspective”, the name of Kierkergaard pops up, e.g.

  3. Florent’s guess seems right to me.

    I had also thought of “bold” or “bald”, but couldn’t figure what it might mean, and “world” certainly fits much better. The absence of visible ‘r’ is also noticeable in both of the next words “historical” and “perspective”, which makes it very convincing overall.


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