On an ordinary view of the relation of philosophy of science to science, science serves only as a topic for philosophical reflection, reflection that proceeds by its own methods and according to its own standards. This ordinary view suggests a way of writing a global history of philosophy of science that finds substantially the same philosophical projects being pursued across widely divergent scientific eras. While not denying that this view is of some use regarding certain themes of and (...) particular time periods, this essay argues that much of the epistemology and philosophy of science in the early twentieth century in a variety of projects looked to the then current context of the exact sciences, especially geometry and physics, not merely for its topics but also for its conceptual resources and technical tools. This suggests a more variable project of philosophy of science, a deeper connection between early twentieth-century philosophy of science and its contemporary science, and a more interesting and richer history of philosophy of science than is ordinarily offered.Author Keywords: Rudolf Carnap; C. I. Lewis; Oskar Becker; History of philosophy of science. (shrink)
One of the most important philosophical topics in the early twentieth century and a topic that was seminal in the emergence of analytic philosophy was the relationship between Kantian philosophy and modern geometry. This paper discusses how this question was tackled by the Neo-Kantian trained philosopher Ernst Cassirer. Surprisingly, Cassirer does not affirm the theses that contemporary philosophers often associate with Kantian philosophy of mathematics. He does not defend the necessary truth of Euclidean geometry but (...) instead develops a kind of logicism modeled on Richard Dedekind's foundations of arithmetic. Further, because he shared with other Neo-Kantians an appreciation of the developmental and historical nature of mathematics, Cassirer developed a philosophical account of the unity and methodology of mathematics over time. With its impressive attention to the detail of contemporary mathematics and its exploration of philosophical questions to which other philosophers paid scant attention, Cassirer's philosophy of mathematics surely deserves a place among the classic works of twentieth century philosophy of mathematics. Though focused on Cassirer's philosophy of geometry, this paper also addresses both Cassirer's general philosophical orientation and his reading of Kant. (shrink)
What if gravity satisfied the Klein-Gordon equation? Both particle physics from the 1920s-30s and the 1890s Neumann-Seeliger modification of Newtonian gravity with exponential decay suggest considering a "graviton mass term" for gravity, which is _algebraic_ in the potential. Unlike Nordström's "massless" theory, massive scalar gravity is strictly special relativistic in the sense of being invariant under the Poincaré group but not the 15-parameter Bateman-Cunningham conformal group. It therefore exhibits the whole of Minkowski space-time structure, albeit only indirectly concerning volumes. Massive (...) scalar gravity is plausible in terms of relativistic field theory, while violating most interesting versions of Einstein's principles of general covariance, general relativity, equivalence, and Mach. Geometry is a poor guide to understanding massive scalar gravity: matter sees a conformally flat metric due to universal coupling, but gravity also sees the rest of the flat metric in the mass term. What is the 'true' geometry, one might wonder, in line with Poincaré's modal conventionality argument? Infinitely many theories exhibit this bimetric 'geometry,' all with the total stress-energy's trace as source; thus geometry does not explain the field equations. The irrelevance of the Ehlers-Pirani-Schild construction to a critique of conventionalism becomes evident when multi-geometry theories are contemplated. Much as Seeliger envisaged, the smooth massless limit indicates underdetermination of theories by data between massless and massive scalar gravities---indeed an unconceived alternative. At least one version easily could have been developed before General Relativity; it then would have motivated thinking of Einstein's equations along the lines of Einstein's newly re-appreciated "physical strategy" and particle physics and would have suggested a rivalry from massive spin 2 variants of General Relativity. The Putnam-Grünbaum debate on conventionality is revisited with an emphasis on the broad modal scope of conventionalist views. Massive scalar gravity thus contributes to a historically plausible rational reconstruction of much of 20th-21st century space-time philosophy in the light of particle physics. An appendix reconsiders the Malament-Weatherall-Manchak conformal restriction of conventionality and constructs the 'universal force' influencing the causal structure. Subsequent works will discuss how massive gravity could have provided a template for a more Kant-friendly space-time theory that would have blocked Moritz Schlick's supposed refutation of synthetic _a priori_ knowledge, and how Einstein's false analogy between the Neumann-Seeliger-Einstein modification of Newtonian gravity and the cosmological constant \Lambda generated lasting confusion that obscured massive gravity as a conceptual possibility. (shrink)
Kant's philosophy of geometry rests upon his doctrine of the "schematism" which I argue is formally identical to the ability to grass the middle term of an Aristotelian syllogism. The doctrine fails to avoid obscurities which were already present in Plato, Aristotle, and Hume.
This paper is an exposition and defense of Kant’s philosophy of geometry. The main thesis is that Euclidean geometry investigates the properties of geometrical objects in an inner space that is given to us a priori (pure space) and hence is a priori and synthetic. This thesis is supported by arguing that Euclidean geometry requires certain intuitive objects (Sect. 1), that these objects are a priori constructions in pure space (Sect. 2), and finally that the role (...) of geometrical construction is to provide geometrical objects, not concepts, as some have claimed (Sect. 3). (shrink)
This paper develops some respects in which the philosophy of mathematics can fruitfully be informed by mathematical practice, through examining Frege's Grundlagen in its historical setting. The first sections of the paper are devoted to elaborating some aspects of nineteenth century mathematics which informed Frege's early work. (These events are of considerable philosophical significance even apart from the connection with Frege.) In the middle sections, some minor themes of Grundlagen are developed: the relationship Frege envisions between arithmetic and (...) class='Hi'>geometry and the way in which the study of reasoning is to illuminate this. In the final section, it is argued that the sorts of issues Frege attempted to address concerning the character of mathematical reasoning are still in need of a satisfying answer. (shrink)
The paper attempts to summarize the debate on Kant’s philosophy of geometry and to offer a restricted area of mathematical practice for which Kant’s philosophy would be a reasonable account. Geometrical theories can be characterized using Wittgenstein’s notion of pictorial form . Kant’s philosophy of geometry can be interpreted as a reconstruction of geometry based on one of these forms — the projective form . If this is correct, Kant’s philosophy is a reasonable (...) reconstruction of such theories as projective geometry; and not only as they were practiced in Kant’s time, but also as architects use them today. (shrink)
In my dissertation, I argue that contemporary interpretive work on Kant's philosophy of geometry has failed to understand properly the diagrammatic aspects of Euclidean reasoning. Attention to these aspects is amply repaid, not only because it provides substantial insight into the role of intuition in Kant's philosophy of mathematics, but also because it brings out both the force and the limitations of Kant's philosophical account of geometry. ;Kant characterizes the predecessors with which he was engaged as (...) agreeing that mathematical judgments are analytic a priori. This is an inadequate account of geometrical judgments for Kant, because it cannot be reconciled with the evident success of the Euclidean practice in producing a priori knowledge of the nature of space. The ubiquitous presence of diagrams in Euclidean proofs suggests that, at least in Kant's time, any plausible account of the establishment of geometrical judgments must provide for the role of quasi-perceptual representations of individuals. Kant's claim that mathematical judgments are synthetic a priori reflects, in its positive aspect, his recognition of the importance of these 'intuitive' representations to Euclidean reasoning. Furthermore, Kant's doctrine that geometrical knowledge is established by the construction of concepts in intuition can be usefully understood as an attempt to accommodate the role of diagrams in the establishment of synthetic a priori geometrical judgments. ;Both Kant's rejection of the analytic a priori account of mathematics and his positive account of geometry depend on the plausibility of his appeals to Euclidean practice. Attention to the role of diagrams in Euclidean proof supports Kant's contention that intuitive representations are an essential component of Euclidean reasoning; however, the role of diagrams in both reductio proofs and in proofs by cases brings out tensions in Kant's positive account. The use of diagrams to represent impossible geometrical situations in reductio proofs indicates that Kant's notion of 'construction in intuition' can have a broader application than the construction of instances of geometrical concepts . Similarly, proofs by cases undermine Kant's attempts to explain the generality of judgments established through the consideration of individuals by appeal to the rules for the construction of those individuals. ;Contemporary interpretive debates about Kant's philosophy of geometry have centered on the philosophical role played by his appeal to intuition. This appeal cannot be primarily understood as an attempt to establish that the fundamental assumptions of Euclidean geometry are necessary truths about space. Nor can the role for intuition be regarded as merely licensing moves in geometrical proofs like an inference rule in modern logic. Instead, by understanding Kant's appeal to intuition as, at least in part, an attempt to accommodate the diagrammatic features of Euclidean reasoning, a much richer role for intuition is revealed. Intuition is required to play a logical role by expressing spatial relationships and establishing the existence of geometrical entities. In addition, it plays a quasi-perceptual role by supporting the truth of certain claims appealed to during the course of Euclidean proof. (shrink)
In this transdisciplinary article which stems from philosophical considerations (that depart from phenomenology—after Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger and Rosen—and Hegelian dialectics), we develop a conception based on topological (the Moebius surface and the Klein bottle) and geometrical considerations (based on torsion and non-orientability of manifolds), and multivalued logics which we develop into a unified world conception that surmounts the Cartesian cut and Aristotelian logic. The role of torsion appears in a self-referential construction of space and time, which will be further related to (...) the commutator of the True and False operators of matrix logic, still with a quantum superposed state related to a Moebius surface, and as the physical field at the basis of Spencer-Brown’s primitive distinction in the protologic of the calculus of distinction. In this setting, paradox, self-reference, depth, time and space, higher-order non-dual logic, perception, spin and a time operator, the Klein bottle, hypernumbers due to Musès which include non-trivial square roots of ±1 and in particular non-trivial nilpotents, quantum field operators, the transformation of cognition to spin for two-state quantum systems, are found to be keenly interwoven in a world conception compatible with the philosophical approach taken for basis of this article. The Klein bottle is found not only to be the topological in-formation for self-reference and paradox whose logical counterpart in the calculus of indications are the paradoxical imaginary time waves, but also a classical-quantum transformer (Hadamard’s gate in quantum computation) which is indispensable to be able to obtain a complete multivalued logical system, and still to generate the matrix extension of classical connective Boolean logic. We further find that the multivalued logic that stems from considering the paradoxical equation in the calculus of distinctions, and in particular, the imaginary solutions to this equation, generates the matrix logic which supersedes the classical logic of connectives and which has for particular subtheories fuzzy and quantum logics. Thus, from a primitive distinction in the vacuum plane and the axioms of the calculus of distinction, we can derive by incorporating paradox, the world conception succinctly described above. (shrink)
In the preface to the Principia (1687) Newton famously states that “geometry is founded on mechanical practice.” Several commentators have taken this and similar remarks as an indication that Newton was firmly situated in the constructivist tradition of geometry that was prevalent in the seventeenth century. By drawing on a selection of Newton's unpublished texts, I hope to show the faults of such an interpretation. In these texts, Newton not only rejects the constructivism that took its birth in (...) Descartes's Géométrie (1637); he also presents the science of geometry as being more powerful than his Principia remarks may lead us to believe. (shrink)
Hans Reichenbach's so-called geometrical conventionalism is often taken as an example of a positivistic philosophy of science, based on a verificationist theory of meaning. By contrast, we shall argue that this view rests on a misinterpretation of Reichenbach's major work in this area, the Philosophy of Space and Time (1928). The conception of equivalent descriptions, which lies at the heart of Reichenbach's conventionalism, should be seen as an attempt to refute Poincaré's geometrical relativism. Based upon an examination of (...) the reasons Reichenbach gives for the cognitive equivalence of geometrical descriptions, the paper argues that his conventionalism is a specific form of scientific realism. At the same time we shall argue against those interpretations which lead to a trivialization of Reichenbach's conventionalism or deny it entirely. (shrink)
The total irrelevance of absolute space to scientific observation and experiment led him early to a most radical conclusion: experience cannot teach us anything about the true structure of space; consequently, the choice of a geometry for the ...
Hobbes ' geometrical disputes are significant since they highlight several important strands in his thought - issues concerning the right to make definitions, his anti-clericalism, the maker's knowledge argument and his objections to algebra. These are examined, and the foundational position, according to Hobbes, of geomentry in relation to philosophy, science and technology, explained and discussed.
David Malament, now emeritus at the University of California, Irvine, where since 1999 he served as a Distinguished Professor of Logic and Philosophy of Science after having spent twenty-three years as a faculty member at the University of Chicago , is well known as the author of numerous articles on the mathematical and philosophical foundations of modern physics with an emphasis on problems of space-time structure and the foundations of relativity theory. Malament’s Topics in the foundations of general relativity (...) and Newtonian gravitation theory has grown out of a set of lecture notes on the foundations of general relativity that he has taught for many years. In full agreement with Manchak , it should be pointed out from the beginning that the book neither is and was never intended to be a graduate general relativity a .. (shrink)
This thesis is directed towards a philosophy of music by attention to conceptions and perceptions of space. I focus on melody and harmony, and do not emphasise rhythm, which, as far as I can tell, concerns time rather than space. I seek a metaphysical account of Western Classical music in the diatonic tradition. More specifically, my interest is in wordless, untitled music, often called 'absolute' music. My aim is to elucidate a spatial approach to the world combined with a (...) curiosity about the nature of the Pythagorean intervals. Thus one question I seek to answer is: What do the Pythagorean intervals import to music? In their original formulation by Pythagoras, and further, by Plato, their import seemed mystical and analogous to a 'harmony of the spheres.' In this spatial approach, the Pythagorean intervals are indicative of infinite depth. The faculty of hearing alone does not ordinarily spatially locate sources. Hearing is ordinarily combined with sight in order to spatially locate a sound. Yet we talk about music as if it were spatially located, that is, as if it were a visible object with a surface and themes or 'objects'. I explore the faculty of vision and consider in what ways the processes of vision might be similar to and distinct from audition. My source for this approach is David Marr's book 'Vision' and his theory of the 2 1/2-dimensional sketch. In a medium in which there is no spatial location, it is important to situate the listener. Newton solved the problem of location by demonstrating the effects of gravity. P. F. Strawson claims that an analogy of distance is required in hearing to situate the listener, that is, a sense of nearer to and further from a source or object that permits a perception of distance. I claim that in music, the key signature and the scalar relations of musical themes provide this analogy of distance. The works of Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Leibniz, and Newton are studied for their accounts of motion, bodies, and space. From these metaphysicians can be gleaned elements of music that include form, motion, timbre, dynamics, and attraction. By incorporating motion, I aim to show that although we may not know the true nature of space, we can learn from hearing music that space is perceptible in other than three dimensions. (shrink)
The paper is concerned with topological and geometrical characteristics of ultraﬁlter space which is widely employed in mathematical logic.Some philosophical applications are oﬀeredtogether with visulisations that reveal the beauty of logical constructions.
This paper argues that Frege's notoriously long commitment to Kant's thesis that Euclidean geometry is synthetic _a priori_ is best explained by realizing that Frege uses ‘intuition’ in two senses. Frege sometimes adopts the usage presented in Hermann Helmholtz's sign theory of perception. However, when using ‘intuition’ to denote the source of geometric knowledge, he is appealing to Hermann Cohen's use of Kantian terminology. We will see that Cohen reinterpreted Kantian notions, stripping them of any psychological connotation. Cohen's defense (...) of his modified Kantian thesis on the unique status of the Euclidean axioms presents Frege's own views in a much more favorable light. (shrink)