September 23, 2010


Precision in philosophy is a false elegance.
On the other hand, literary precision is the foundation of aesthetic achievement.

Escolios a un Texto Implícito: Selección, p. 313


  1. The original Spanish is:

    La precisión en filosofía es una falsa elegancia.
    En cambio la precisión literaria es fundamento del acierto estético.

  2. The word acierto, rendered here as "achievement," is often quite difficult to translate. It comes from the verb acertar, which can mean either to hit the mark (e.g., aiming an arrow at a target), or to guess an answer correctly. So, in this aphorism there is aesthetic achievement, but whether that achievement has come about intentionally or not is unclear.

    Furthermore, acierto can also have the sense of skill or sound judgment. Gómez Dávila, then, is also referring to an author's skill in his craft.

    This is all to say that I hope "achievement" is an adequate translation of acierto.