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  1. Self-Graphing Equations.Samuel Alexander - manuscript
    Can you find an xy-equation that, when graphed, writes itself on the plane? This idea became internet-famous when a Wikipedia article on Tupper’s self-referential formula went viral in 2012. Under scrutiny, the question has two flaws: it is meaningless (it depends on fonts) and it is trivial. We fix these flaws by formalizing the problem.
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  2. Reconciling Rigor and Intuition.Silvia De Toffoli - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (6):1783-1802.
    Criteria of acceptability for mathematical proofs are field-dependent. In topology, though not in most other domains, it is sometimes acceptable to appeal to visual intuition to support inferential steps. In previous work :829–842, 2014; Lolli, Panza, Venturi From logic to practice, Springer, Berlin, 2015; Larvor Mathematical cultures, Springer, Berlin, 2016) my co-author and I aimed at spelling out how topological proofs work on their own terms, without appealing to formal proofs which might be associated with them. In this article, I (...)
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  3. Cognitive Processing of Spatial Relations in Euclidean Diagrams.Yacin Hamami, Milan N. A. van der Kuil, Ineke J. M. van der Ham & John Mumma - 2020 - Acta Psychologica 205:1--10.
    The cognitive processing of spatial relations in Euclidean diagrams is central to the diagram-based geometric practice of Euclid's Elements. In this study, we investigate this processing through two dichotomies among spatial relations—metric vs topological and exact vs co-exact—introduced by Manders in his seminal epistemological analysis of Euclid's geometric practice. To this end, we carried out a two-part experiment where participants were asked to judge spatial relations in Euclidean diagrams in a visual half field task design. In the first part, we (...)
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  4. The Epistemology of Mathematical Necessity.Catherine Legg - 2018 - In Peter Chapman, Gem Stapleton, Amirouche Moktefi, Sarah Perez-Kriz & Francesco Bellucci (eds.), Diagrammatic Representation and Inference10th International Conference, Diagrams 2018, Edinburgh, UK, June 18-22, 2018, Proceedings. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. pp. 810-813.
    It seems possible to know that a mathematical claim is necessarily true by inspecting a diagrammatic proof. Yet how does this work, given that human perception seems to just (as Hume assumed) ‘show us particular objects in front of us’? I draw on Peirce’s account of perception to answer this question. Peirce considered mathematics as experimental a science as physics. Drawing on an example, I highlight the existence of a primitive constraint or blocking function in our thinking which we might (...)
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  5. Tools of Reason: The Practice of Scientific Diagramming From Antiquity to the Present.Greg Priest, Silvia De Toffoli & Paula Findlen - 2018 - Endeavour 42 (2-3):49-59.
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  6. A Diagrammatic Representation for Entities and Mereotopological Relations in Ontologies.José M. Parente de Oliveira & Barry Smith - 2017 - In CEUR, vol. 1908.
    In the graphical representation of ontologies, it is customary to use graph theory as the representational background. We claim here that the standard graph-based approach has a number of limitations. We focus here on a problem in the graph-based representation of ontologies in complex domains such as biomedical, engineering and manufacturing: lack of mereotopological representation. Based on such limitation, we proposed a diagrammatic way to represent an entity’s structure and various forms of mereotopological relationships between the entities.
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  7. ‘Chasing’ the Diagram—the Use of Visualizations in Algebraic Reasoning.Silvia de Toffoli - 2017 - Review of Symbolic Logic 10 (1):158-186.
    The aim of this article is to investigate the roles of commutative diagrams (CDs) in a specific mathematical domain, and to unveil the reasons underlying their effectiveness as a mathematical notation; this will be done through a case study. It will be shown that CDs do not depict spatial relations, but represent mathematical structures. CDs will be interpreted as a hybrid notation that goes beyond the traditional bipartition of mathematical representations into diagrammatic and linguistic. It will be argued that one (...)
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  8. Perceiving Necessity.Catherine Legg & James Franklin - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (3).
    In many diagrams one seems to perceive necessity – one sees not only that something is so, but that it must be so. That conflicts with a certain empiricism largely taken for granted in contemporary philosophy, which believes perception is not capable of such feats. The reason for this belief is often thought well-summarized in Hume's maxim: ‘there are no necessary connections between distinct existences’. It is also thought that even if there were such necessities, perception is too passive or (...)
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  9. Diagrams of the Past: How Timelines Can Aid the Growth of Historical Knowledge.Marc Champagne - 2016 - Cognitive Semiotics 9 (1):11-44.
    Historians occasionally use timelines, but many seem to regard such signs merely as ways of visually summarizing results that are presumably better expressed in prose. Challenging this language-centered view, I suggest that timelines might assist the generation of novel historical insights. To show this, I begin by looking at studies confirming the cognitive benefits of diagrams like timelines. I then try to survey the remarkable diversity of timelines by analyzing actual examples. Finally, having conveyed this (mostly untapped) potential, I argue (...)
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  10. Envisioning Transformations – The Practice of Topology.Silvia De Toffoli & Valeria Giardino - 2016 - In Brendan Larvor (ed.), Mathematical Cultures: The London Meetings 2012--2014. Zurich, Switzerland: Birkhäuser. pp. 25-50.
    The objective of this article is twofold. First, a methodological issue is addressed. It is pointed out that even if philosophers of mathematics have been recently more and more concerned with the practice of mathematics, there is still a need for a sharp definition of what the targets of a philosophy of mathematical practice should be. Three possible objects of inquiry are put forward: (1) the collective dimension of the practice of mathematics; (2) the cognitives capacities requested to the practitioners; (...)
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  11. An Inquiry Into the Practice of Proving in Low-Dimensional Topology.Silvia De Toffoli & Valeria Giardino - 2015 - In Gabriele Lolli, Giorgio Venturi & Marco Panza (eds.), From Logic to Practice. Zurich, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. pp. 315-336.
    The aim of this article is to investigate specific aspects connected with visualization in the practice of a mathematical subfield: low-dimensional topology. Through a case study, it will be established that visualization can play an epistemic role. The background assumption is that the consideration of the actual practice of mathematics is relevant to address epistemological issues. It will be shown that in low-dimensional topology, justifications can be based on sequences of pictures. Three theses will be defended. First, the representations used (...)
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  12. Forms and Roles of Diagrams in Knot Theory.Silvia De Toffoli & Valeria Giardino - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (4):829-842.
    The aim of this article is to explain why knot diagrams are an effective notation in topology. Their cognitive features and epistemic roles will be assessed. First, it will be argued that different interpretations of a figure give rise to different diagrams and as a consequence various levels of representation for knots will be identified. Second, it will be shown that knot diagrams are dynamic by pointing at the moves which are commonly applied to them. For this reason, experts must (...)
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  13. “Things Unreasonably Compulsory”: A Peircean Challenge to a Humean Theory of Perception, Particularly With Respect to Perceiving Necessary Truths.Catherine Legg - 2014 - Cognitio 15 (1):89-112.
    Much mainstream analytic epistemology is built around a sceptical treatment of modality which descends from Hume. The roots of this scepticism are argued to lie in Hume’s (nominalist) theory of perception, which is excavated, studied and compared with the very different (realist) theory of perception developed by Peirce. It is argued that Peirce’s theory not only enables a considerably more nuanced and effective epistemology, it also (unlike Hume’s theory) does justice to what happens when we appreciate a proof in mathematics.
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  14. What is a Logical Diagram?Catherine Legg - 2013 - In Sun-Joo Shin & Amirouche Moktefi (eds.), Visual Reasoning with Diagrams. Springer. pp. 1-18.
    Robert Brandom’s expressivism argues that not all semantic content may be made fully explicit. This view connects in interesting ways with recent movements in philosophy of mathematics and logic (e.g. Brown, Shin, Giaquinto) to take diagrams seriously - as more than a mere “heuristic aid” to proof, but either proofs themselves, or irreducible components of such. However what exactly is a diagram in logic? Does this constitute a semiotic natural kind? The paper will argue that such a natural kind does (...)
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  15. The Hardness of the Iconic Must: Can Peirce’s Existential Graphs Assist Modal Epistemology.Catherine Legg - 2012 - Philosophia Mathematica 20 (1):1-24.
    Charles Peirce's diagrammatic logic — the Existential Graphs — is presented as a tool for illuminating how we know necessity, in answer to Benacerraf's famous challenge that most ‘semantics for mathematics’ do not ‘fit an acceptable epistemology’. It is suggested that necessary reasoning is in essence a recognition that a certain structure has the particular structure that it has. This means that, contra Hume and his contemporary heirs, necessity is observable. One just needs to pay attention, not merely to individual (...)
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  16. Content Aggregation, Visualization and Emergent Properties in Computer Simulations.Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic, Juan M. Durán & D. Slutej - 2010 - In Kai-Mikael Jää-Aro & Thomas Larsson (eds.), SIGRAD 2010 – Content aggregation and visualization. Linköping University Electronic Press. pp. 77-83.
    With the rapidly growing amounts of information, visualization is becoming increasingly important, as it allows users to easily explore and understand large amounts of information. However the field of information visualiza- tion currently lacks sufficient theoretical foundations. This article addresses foundational questions connecting information visualization with computing and philosophy studies. The idea of multiscale information granula- tion is described based on two fundamental concepts: information (structure) and computation (process). A new information processing paradigm of Granular Computing enables stepwise increase of (...)
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  17. Review of M. Giaquinto's Visual Thinking in Mathematics. [REVIEW]Andrew Arana - 2009 - Analysis 69 (2):401-403.
    Our visual experience seems to suggest that no continuous curve can cover every point of the unit square, yet in the late nineteenth century Giuseppe Peano proved that such a curve exists. Examples like this, particularly in analysis (in the sense of the infinitesimal calculus) received much attention in the nineteenth century. They helped instigate what Hans Hahn called a “crisis of intuition”, wherein visual reasoning in mathematics came to be thought to be epistemically problematic. Hahn described this “crisis” as (...)
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  18. Diagrammatic Reasoning and Modelling in the Imagination: The Secret Weapons of the Scientific Revolution.James Franklin - 2000 - In Guy Freeland & Anthony Corones (eds.), 1543 and All That: Image and Word, Change and Continuity in the Proto-Scientific Revolution. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
    Just before the Scientific Revolution, there was a "Mathematical Revolution", heavily based on geometrical and machine diagrams. The "faculty of imagination" (now called scientific visualization) was developed to allow 3D understanding of planetary motion, human anatomy and the workings of machines. 1543 saw the publication of the heavily geometrical work of Copernicus and Vesalius, as well as the first Italian translation of Euclid.
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