Hobbes emphasized that the state of nature is a state of war because it is characterized by fundamental and generalized distrust. Exiting the state of nature and the conflicts it inevitably fosters is therefore a matter of establishing trust. Extant discussions of trust in the philosophical literature, however, focus either on isolated dyads of trusting individuals or trust in large, faceless institutions. In this paper, I begin to fill the gap between these extremes by analyzing what I call the (...) class='Hi'>topology of communities of trust. Such communities are best understood in terms of interlocking dyadic relationships that approximate the ideal of being symmetric, Euclidean, reflexive, and transitive. Few communities of trust live up to this demanding ideal, and those that do tend to be small (between three and fifteen individuals). Nevertheless, such communities of trust serve as the conditions for the possibility of various important prudential epistemic, cultural, and mental health goods. However, communities of trust also make possible various problematic phenomena. They can become insular and walled-off from the surrounding community, leading to distrust of out-groups. And they can lead their members to abandon public goods for tribal or parochial goods. These drawbacks of communities of trust arise from some of the same mecha-nisms that give them positive prudential, epistemic, cultural, and mental health value – and so can at most be mitigated, not eliminated. (shrink)
Since antiquity well into the beginnings of the 20th century geometry was a central topic for philosophy. Since then, however, most philosophers of science, if they took notice of topology at all, considered it as an abstruse subdiscipline of mathematics lacking philosophical interest. Here it is argued that this neglect of topology by philosophy may be conceived of as the sign of a conceptual sea-change in philosophy of science that expelled geometry, and, more generally, mathematics, from the central (...) position it used to have in philosophy of science and placed logic at center stage in the 20th century philosophy of science. Only in recent decades logic has begun to loose its monopoly and geometry and topology received a new chance to find a place in philosophy of science. (shrink)
A possible world is a junky world if and only if each thing in it is a proper part. The possibility of junky worlds contradicts the principle of general fusion. Bohn (2009) argues for the possibility of junky worlds, Watson (2010) suggests that Bohn‘s arguments are flawed. This paper shows that the arguments of both authors leave much to be desired. First, relying on the classical results of Cantor, Zermelo, Fraenkel, and von Neumann, this paper proves the possibility of junky (...) worlds for certain weak set theories. Second, the paradox of Burali-Forti shows that according to the Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory ZF, junky worlds are possible. Finally, it is shown that set theories are not the only sources for designing plausible models of junky worlds: Topology (and possibly other "algebraic" mathematical theories) may be used to construct models of junky worlds. In sum, junkyness is a relatively widespread feature among possible worlds. (shrink)
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; (...) and (3) the speciﬁc forms of representation and notation shared and selected by the practitioners. Moreover, it is claimed that a broadening of the notion of ‘permissible action’ as introduced by Larvor (2012) with respect to mathematical arguments, allows for a consideration of all these three elements simultaneously. Second, a case from topology – the proof of Alexander’s theorem – is presented to illustrate a concrete analysis of a mathematical practice and to exemplify the proposed method. It is discussed that the attention to the three elements of the practice identiﬁed above brings to the emergence of philosophically relevant features in the practice of topology: the need for a revision in the deﬁnition of criteria of validity, the interest in tracking the operations that are performed on the notation, and the constant and fruitful back-and-forth from one representation to another in dealing with mathematical content. Finally, some suggestions for further research are given in the conclusions. (shrink)
Physical boundaries and the earliest topologists. Topology has a relatively short history; but its 19th century roots are embedded in philosophical problems about the nature of extended substances and their boundaries which go back to Zeno and Aristotle. Although it seems that there have always been philosophers interested in these matters, questions about the boundaries of three-dimensional objects were closest to center stage during the later medieval and modern periods. Are the boundaries of an object actually existing, less-than-three-dimensional parts (...) of the object—that is, are solids bounded by two-dimensional surfaces, surfaces by one-dimensional “edges” or “physical lines”, edges by dimensionless “simples”? If not, how does a perfectly spherical object manage to touch a perfectly flat object—what part of the sphere is in immediate contact with the plane, if the sphere has no unextended parts? But if such parts be admitted, are we not then saddled with “actual infinities” of simples, lines, and surfaces spread throughout each continuous object—the boundaries of all the object’s internal parts? Does it help to say that these internal boundaries exist only “potentially”? (shrink)
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 in the practice are an integral part of the mathematical reasoning. As a matter of fact, they convey in a material form the relevant transitions and thus allow experts to draw inferential connections. Second, in low-dimensional topology experts exploit a particular type of manipulative imagination which is connected to intuition of two- and three-dimensional space and motor agency. This imagination allows recognizing the transformations which connect diﬀerent pictures in an argument. Third, the epistemic—and inferential—actions performed are permissible only within a speciﬁc practice: this form of reasoning is subject-matter dependent. Local criteria of validity are established to assure the soundness of representationally heterogeneous arguments in low-dimensional topology. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to show that topology has a bearing on Leibniz’s Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles (PII). According to (PII), if, for all properties F, an object a has property F iff object b has property F, then a and b are identical. If any property F whatsoever is permitted in PII, then Leibniz’s principle is trivial, as is shown by “identity properties”. The aim of this paper is to show that topology can (...) make a contribution to the problem of giving criteria of how to restrict the domain of properties to render (PII) non-trivial. In topology a wealth of different Leibnizian principles of identity can be defined - PII turns out to be just the weakest topological separation axiom T0 in disguise, stronger principles of can be defined with the aid of higher separation axioms Ti, i > 0. Topologically defined properties have a variety of nice features, in particular they are stable in a natural sense. Topologically defined properties do not have a monopoly on defining “good” properties. In the final section of the paper it is show that the topological approach is closely related to Gärdenfors’s approach of conceptual spaces based on the concept of convexity. (shrink)
We develop a simple framework called ‘natural topology’, which can serve as a theoretical and applicable basis for dealing with real-world phenomena.Natural topology is tailored to make pointwise and pointfree notions go together naturally. As a constructive theory in BISH, it gives a classical mathematician a faithful idea of important concepts and results in intuitionism. -/- Natural topology is well-suited for practical and computational purposes. We give several examples relevant for applied mathematics, such as the decision-support system (...) Hawk-Eye, and various real-number representations. -/- We compare classical mathematics (CLASS), intuitionistic mathematics (INT), recursive mathematics (RUSS), Bishop-style mathematics (BISH) and formal topology, aiming to reduce the mutual differences to their essence. To do so, our mathematical foundation must be precise and simple. There are links with physics, regarding the topological character of our physical universe. -/- Any natural space is isomorphic to a quotient space of Baire space, which therefore is universal. We develop an elegant and concise ‘genetic induction’ scheme, and prove its equivalence on natural spaces to a formal-topological induction style. The inductive Heine-Borel property holds for ‘compact’ or ‘fanlike’ natural subspaces, including the real interval [g, h]. Inductive morphisms respect this Heine-Borel property, inversely. This partly solves the continuous-function problem for BISH, yet pointwise problems persist in the absence of Brouwer’s Thesis. -/- By inductivizing the definitions, a direct correspondence with INT is obtained which allows for a translation of many intuitionistic results into BISH. We thus prove a constructive star-finitary metrization theorem which parallels the classical metrization theorem for strongly paracompact spaces. We also obtain non-metrizable Silva spaces, in infinite-dimensional topology. Natural topology gives a solid basis, we think, for further constructive study of topological lattice theory, algebraic topology and infinite-dimensional topology. The final section reconsiders the question of which mathematics to choose for physics. Compactness issues also play a role here, since the question ‘can Nature produce a non-recursive sequence?’ finds a negative answer in CTphys . CTphys , if true, would seem at first glance to point to RUSS as the mathematics of choice for physics. To discuss this issue, we wax more philosophical. We also present a simple model of INT in RUSS, in the two-players game LIfE. (shrink)
Abstract: Internet is a network of networks which share information to each other through Internet Protocol. Internet taxonomy was designed to not depend on a single point of access to propagate information from host source to host destination, this had led to dependability among Autonomous Systems for reachability and connectivity information. Internet, a highly engineered, large scale complex system, viewed as a hierarchy of connected tiers of Autonomous Systems from which lower tier depend on higher tier for routing mostly transit (...) traffic; this paper discusses the current hierarchical topology of Internet and analyses the forces behind the trending flat peering of Autonomous Systems which raise concerns of a shift of Internet structure from hierarchical to flattened topology. (shrink)
The being is derived by a difference in Lacanian ontology. This difference is the basic element in Lacanian theory that grounds the unconscious subject. Because according to Lacan, the existence of the subject can not be self-proclaimed and it is represented by a signifier. Lacan gives the name "object a" to this paradoxical being which is distinguished by this difference or lack, and uses some topological transformations in order to be able to explain the structural paradoxes in the psychological theory. (...) The aim of this study is to explore the ontology of these paradoxical situations and try to decipher the function of topology in Lacan's theory. (shrink)
Geometry was a main source of inspiration for Carnap’s conventionalism. Taking Poincaré as his witness Carnap asserted in his dissertation Der Raum (Carnap 1922) that the metrical structure of space is conventional while the underlying topological structure describes "objective" facts. With only minor modifications he stuck to this account throughout his life. The aim of this paper is to disprove Carnap's contention by invoking some classical theorems of differential topology. By this means his metrical conventionalism turns out to be (...) indefensible for mathematical reasons. This implies that the relation between to-pology and geometry cannot be conceptualized as analogous to the relation between the meaning of a proposition and its expression in some language as logical empiricists used to say. (shrink)
In this article we provide a mathematical model of Kant?s temporal continuum that satisfies the (not obviously consistent) synthetic a priori principles for time that Kant lists in the Critique of pure Reason (CPR), the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science (MFNS), the Opus Postumum and the notes and frag- ments published after his death. The continuum so obtained has some affinities with the Brouwerian continuum, but it also has ‘infinitesimal intervals’ consisting of nilpotent infinitesimals, which capture Kant’s theory of rest (...) and motion in MFNS. While constructing the model, we establish a concordance between the informal notions of Kant?s theory of the temporal continuum, and formal correlates to these notions in the mathematical theory. Our mathematical reconstruction of Kant?s theory of time allows us to understand what ?faculties and functions? must be in place for time to satisfy all the synthetic a priori principles for time mentioned. We have presented here a mathematically precise account of Kant?s transcendental argument for time in the CPR and of the rela- tion between the categories, the synthetic a priori principles for time, and the unity of apperception; the most precise account of this relation to date. We focus our exposition on a mathematical analysis of Kant’s informal terminology, but for reasons of space, most theorems are explained but not formally proven; formal proofs are available in (Pinosio, 2017). The analysis presented in this paper is related to the more general project of developing a formalization of Kant’s critical philosophy (Achourioti & van Lambalgen, 2011). A formal approach can shed light on the most controversial concepts of Kant’s theoretical philosophy, and is a valuable exegetical tool in its own right. However, we wish to make clear that mathematical formalization cannot displace traditional exegetical methods, but that it is rather an exegetical tool in its own right, which works best when it is coupled with a keen awareness of the subtleties involved in understanding the philosophical issues at hand. In this case, a virtuous ?hermeneutic circle? between mathematical formalization and philosophical discourse arises. (shrink)
General Relativity says gravity is a push caused by space-time's curvature. Combining General Relativity with E=mc2 results in distances being totally deleted from space-time/gravity by future technology, and in expansion or contraction of the universe as a whole being eliminated. The road to these conclusions has branches shining light on supersymmetry and superconductivity. This push of gravitational waves may be directed from intergalactic space towards galaxy centres, helping to hold galaxies together and also creating supermassive black holes. Together with the (...) waves' possible production of "dark" matter in higher dimensions, there's ample reason to believe knowledge of gravitational waves has barely begun. Advanced waves are usually discarded by scientists because they're thought to violate the causality principle. Just as advanced waves are usually discarded, very few physicists or mathematicians will venture to ascribe a physical meaning to Wick rotation and "imaginary" time. Here, that maths (when joined with Mobius-strip and Klein-bottle topology) unifies space and time into one space-time, and allows construction of what may be called "imaginary computers". This research idea you're reading is not intended to be a formal theory presenting scientific jargon and mathematical formalism. (shrink)
The concept of similarity has had a rather mixed reputation in philosophy and the sciences. On the one hand, philosophers such as Goodman and Quine emphasized the „logically repugnant“ and „insidious“ character of the concept of similarity that allegedly renders it inaccessible for a proper logical analysis. On the other hand, a philosopher such as Carnap assigned a central role to similarity in his constitutional theory. Moreover, the importance and perhaps even indispensibility of the concept of similarity for many empirical (...) sciences can hardly be denied. The aim of this paper is to show that Quine’s and Goodman’s harsh verdicts about this notion are mistaken. The concept of similarity is susceptible to a precise logico-mathematical analysis through which its place in the conceptual landscape of modern mathematical theories such as order theory, topology, and graph theory becomes visible. Thereby it can be shown that a quasi-analysis of a similarity structure S can be conceived of as a sheaf (etale space) over S. (shrink)
In this paper a solution of Whitehead’s problem is presented: Starting with a purely mereological system of regions a topological space is constructed such that the class of regions is isomorphic to the Boolean lattice of regular open sets of that space. This construction may be considered as a generalized completion in analogy to the well-known Dedekind completion of the rational numbers yielding the real numbers . The argument of the paper relies on the theories of continuous lattices and “pointless” (...)topology.
In the philosophy of the analytical tradition, set theory and formal logic are familiar formal tools. I think there is no deep reason why the philosopher’s tool kit should be restricted to just these theories. It might well be the case—to generalize a dictum of Suppes concerning philosophy of science—that the appropriate formal device for doing philosophy is mathematics in general; it may be set theory, algebra, topology, or any other realm of mathematics. In this paper I want to (...) employ elementary topological considerations to shed new light on the intricate problem of the relation of qualities and similarity. Thereby I want to make plausible the general thesis that topology might be a useful device for matters epistemological. (shrink)
In parts of his Notebooks, Tractatus and in “Lecture on Ethics”, Wittgenstein advanced a new approach to the problems of the meaning of life. It was developed as a reaction to the explorations on this theme by Bertrand Russell. Wittgenstein’s objective was to treat it with a higher degree of exactness. The present paper shows that he reached exactness by treating themes of philosophical anthropology using the formal method of topology.
The aim of this paper is to show that (elementary) topology may be useful for dealing with problems of epistemology and metaphysics. More precisely, I want to show that the introduction of topological structures may elucidate the role of the spatial structures (in a broad sense) that underly logic and cognition. In some detail I’ll deal with “Cassirer’s problem” that may be characterized as an early forrunner of Goodman’s “grue-bleen” problem. On a larger scale, topology turns out to (...) be useful in elaborating the approach of conceptual spaces that in the last twenty years or so has found quite a few applications in cognitive science, psychology, and linguistics. In particular, topology may help distinguish “natural” from “not-so-natural” concepts. This classical problem that up to now has withstood all efforts to solve (or dissolve) it by purely logical methods. Finally, in order to show that a topological perspective may also offer a fresh look on classical metaphysical problems, it is shown that Leibniz’s famous principle of the identity of indiscernibles is closely related to some well-known topological separation axioms. More precisely, the topological perspective gives rise in a natural way to some novel variations of Leibniz’s principle. (shrink)
This study is about the Quality. Here I have dealt with the quality that differs significantly from the common understanding of quality /as determined quality/ that arise from the law of dialectics. This new quality is the quality of the quantity /quality of the quantitative changes/, noticed in philosophy by Plato as “quality of numbers”, and later developed by Hegel as “qualitative quantity. The difference between the known determined quality and qualitative quantity is evident in the exhibit form of these (...) two qualities. The exhibit form of the known determined quality from the law of dialectics /or it transformation/ is related with discreteness and abrupt changes. The exhibit form of the qualitative quantity /and it transformation/ is related with the continuity and gradual transition from one condition, to a different condition, without any abrupt changes. In my paper “Quality of the quantity”, I have argued that one of the most ancient implementation of quality of the number can be found in the dimensional mathematical model of point – line – surface – figure - introduced by Plato. The most whole presentation of the idea of quality of number in Plato is embeded in his teaching about the "eidical number". The quality of the quantity emerges as criteria for recognizing the difference between the eidical numbers and natural arithmetical number. The thesis concerning Plato is based on the The Unwritten Doctrine of Plato and one of the most original works in the history of philosophy written in the 20th century - “Arete bei Platon und Aristoteles” – “Arete in Plato and Aristotle” /Heidelberg 1959/ written by Hans Joachim Krämer. The new quality as the quality of the quantity /quality of the quantitative changes/, first noticed in philosophy by Plato as “quality of numbers” was developed in Hegel as “qualitative quantity”. Hegel proclaimed the Qualitative quantity, or Measure in the both of his Logics -The Science of Logic / the Greater Logic/ and The Lesser Logic/ Part One of the Encyclopedia of Philosophical Sciences: The Logic. In my paper I have offered the arguments that the concept of quality of the quantity should be enhanced with the adopted methodological approach of analogy with an implementation in the field of the Topology - Analysis Situs, developed by the Jules Henri Poincare. In the topology we could see homeomorphism as exhibit form of Quality on the Quantity. The explicit form of the quality of the quantity transformation is the continuous deformation – typically known in topology as homeomorphism. The concept of qualitative quantity is linked with the concept “structural stability” and nonequilibrum phase transition. The concept of structural stability is related with the topological homeomorphism. In his book “Synergetics: Introduction and Advanced Topics” /Springer, ISBN 3-540-40824/, in the Chapter 1.13. Qualitative Changes: General approach, p. 434-435, Hermann Haken explores and illustrate the structural stability with an example /figure 1.13, p.434/ given by of D'Arcy W. Thompson, the Scottish biologist, mathematician and classics scholar and pioneering mathematical biologist, Nobel Laureate in Medicine /1960/, the author of the book, On Growth and Form, /1917/. The quality of the quantity could be seen in the Herman Haken’s citation on the D'Arcy W. Thompson. My thesis is that the topological homeomorphism is the explicit form of the quality of the quantity transformation. The qualitative quantity change which becomes phenomenon, according to Émile Boutroux, is the subject of study in Cultural Phenomenology of Qualitative quantity. Our approach to this subject is Poincaré Model of the Subconscious Mind in Mathematics, which is the most suitable tool to unfold the arhetype of qualitative quantity. (shrink)
In the author’s previous contribution to this journal (Rosen 2015), a phenomenological string theory was proposed based on qualitative topology and hypercomplex numbers. The current paper takes this further by delving into the ancient Chinese origin of phenomenological string theory. First, we discover a connection between the Klein bottle, which is crucial to the theory, and the Ho-t’u, a Chinese number archetype central to Taoist cosmology. The two structures are seen to mirror each other in expressing the psychophysical (phenomenological) (...) action pattern at the heart of microphysics. But tackling the question of quantum gravity requires that a whole family of topological dimensions be brought into play. What we find in engaging with these structures is a closely related family of Taoist forebears that, in concert with their successors, provide a blueprint for cosmic evolution. Whereas conventional string theory accounts for the generation of nature’s fundamental forces via a notion of symmetry breaking that is essentially static and thus unable to explain cosmogony successfully, phenomenological/Taoist string theory entails the dialectical interplay of symmetry and asymmetry inherent in the principle of synsymmetry. This dynamic concept of cosmic change is elaborated on in the three concluding sections of the paper. Here, a detailed analysis of cosmogony is offered, first in terms of the theory of dimensional development and its Taoist (yin-yang) counterpart, then in terms of the evolution of the elemental force particles through cycles of expansion and contraction in a spiraling universe. The paper closes by considering the role of the analyst per se in the further evolution of the cosmos. (shrink)
This paper takes as its point of departure recent research into the possibility that human beings can perceive single photons. In order to appreciate what quantum perception may entail, we first explore several of the leading interpretations of quantum mechanics, then consider an alternative view based on the ontological phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Martin Heidegger. Next, the philosophical analysis is brought into sharper focus by employing a perceptual model, the Necker cube, augmented by the topology of the Klein (...) bottle. This paves the way for addressing in greater depth the paper’s central question: Just what would it take to observe the quantum reality of the photon? In formulating an answer, we examine the nature of scientific objectivity itself, along with the paradoxical properties of light. The conclusion reached is that quantum perception requires a new kind of observation, one in which the observer of the photon adopts a concretely self-reflexive observational posture that brings her into close ontological relationship with the observed. (shrink)
It is a well-known fact that mathematics plays a crucial role in physics; in fact, it is virtually impossible to imagine contemporary physics without it. But it is questionable whether mathematical concepts could ever play such a role in psychology or philosophy. In this paper, we set out to examine a rather unobvious example of the application of topology, in the form of the theory of persons proposed by Kurt Lewin in his Principles of Topological Psychology. Our aim is (...) to show that this branch of mathematics can furnish a natural conceptual system for Gestalt psychology, in that it provides effective tools for describing global qualitative aspects of the latter’s object of investigation. We distinguish three possible ways in which mathematics can contribute to this: explanation, explication and metaphor. We hold that all three of these can be usefully characterized as throwing light on their subject matter, and argue that in each case this contrasts with the role of explanations in physics. Mathematics itself, we argue, provides something different from such explanations when applied in the field of psychology, and this is nevertheless still cognitively fruitful. (shrink)
In the last two decades, philosophy of neuroscience has predominantly focused on explanation. Indeed, it has been argued that mechanistic models are the standards of explanatory success in neuroscience over, among other things, topological models. However, explanatory power is only one virtue of a scientific model. Another is its predictive power. Unfortunately, the notion of prediction has received comparatively little attention in the philosophy of neuroscience, in part because predictions seem disconnected from interventions. In contrast, we argue that topological predictions (...) can and do guide interventions in science, both inside and outside of neuroscience. Topological models allow researchers to predict many phenomena, including diseases, treatment outcomes, aging, and cognition, among others. Moreover, we argue that these predictions also offer strategies for useful interventions. Topology-based predictions play this role regardless of whether they do or can receive a mechanistic interpretation. We conclude by making a case for philosophers to focus on prediction in neuroscience in addition to explanation alone. (shrink)
T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets is foremost a meditation on the significance of place. Each quartet is named for a place which holds importance for Eliot, either because of historical or personal memory. I argue that this importance is grounded in an ontological topology, by which I mean that the poem explores the fate of the individual and his/her heritage as inextricably bound up with the notion of place. This sense of place extends beyond the borders of a single life (...) to encompass the remembered past and the unknown future. How this broader narrative of the passing and enduring of human existence can be better understood is a primary concern of the work of Martin Heidegger, in whose Being and Time the historical, situated context of an individual within a community is an important theme. Even more important is his later work in which this theme is extended to include place and dwelling. Dwelling is a particularly rich and poetic idea, weaving the narratological, topological and temporal aspects of human existence together, offering a challenge to modern technology thinking. This paper explores Heidegger’s thoughts on the topology of Being within the context of a poem which, I contend, is also telling the story of human situatedness, and attempting to understand what it means to truly dwell. (shrink)
The paper analyzes dynamic epistemic logic from a topological perspective. The main contribution consists of a framework in which dynamic epistemic logic satisfies the requirements for being a topological dynamical system thus interfacing discrete dynamic logics with continuous mappings of dynamical systems. The setting is based on a notion of logical convergence, demonstratively equivalent with convergence in Stone topology. Presented is a flexible, parametrized family of metrics inducing the latter, used as an analytical aid. We show maps induced by (...) action model transformations continuous with respect to the Stone topology and present results on the recurrent behavior of said maps. (shrink)
This paper intends to further the understanding of the formal properties of (higher-order) vagueness by connecting theories of (higher-order) vagueness with more recent work in topology. First, we provide a “translation” of Bobzien's account of columnar higher-order vagueness into the logic of topological spaces. Since columnar vagueness is an essential ingredient of her solution to the Sorites paradox, a central problem of any theory of vagueness comes into contact with the modern mathematical theory of topology. Second, Rumfitt’s recent (...) topological reconstruction of Sainsbury’s theory of prototypically defined concepts is shown to lead to the same class of spaces that characterize Bobzien’s account of columnar vagueness, namely, weakly scattered spaces. Rumfitt calls these spaces polar spaces. They turn out to be closely related to Gärdenfors’ conceptual spaces, which have come to play an ever more important role in cognitive science and related disciplines. Finally, Williamson’s “logic of clarity” is explicated in terms of a generalized topology (“locology”) that can be considered an alternative to standard topology. Arguably, locology has some conceptual advantages over topology with respect to the conceptualization of a boundary and a borderline. Moreover, in Williamson’s logic of clarity, vague concepts with respect to a notion of a locologically inspired notion of a “slim boundary” are (stably) columnar. Thus, Williamson’s logic of clarity also exhibits a certain affinity for columnar vagueness. In sum, a topological perspective is useful for a conceptual elucidation and unification of central aspects of a variety of contemporary accounts of vagueness. (shrink)
Considering topology as an extension of mereology, this paper analyses topological variants of mereological essentialism (the thesis that an object could not have different parts than the ones it has). In particular, we examine de dicto and de re versions of two theses: (i) that an object cannot change its external connections (e.g., adjacent objects cannot be separated), and (ii) that an object cannot change its topological genus (e.g., a doughnut cannot turn into a sphere). Stronger forms of structural (...) essentialism, such as morphological essentialism (an object cannot change shape) and locative essentialism (an object cannot change position) are also examined. (shrink)
Could space consist entirely of extended regions, without any regions shaped like points, lines, or surfaces? Peter Forrest and Frank Arntzenius have independently raised a paradox of size for space like this, drawing on a construction of Cantor’s. I present a new version of this argument and explore possible lines of response.
There is a basic distinction, in the realm of spatial boundaries, between bona fide boundaries on the one hand, and fiat boundaries on the other. The former are just the physical boundaries of old. The latter are exemplified especially by boundaries induced through human demarcation, for example in the geographic domain. The classical problems connected with the notions of adjacency, contact, separation and division can be resolved in an intuitive way by recognizing this two-sorted ontology of boundaries. Bona fide boundaries (...) yield a notion of contact that is effectively modeled by classical topology; the analogue of contact involving fiat boundaries calls, however, for a different account, based on the intuition that fiat boundaries do not support the open/closed distinction on which classical topology is based. In the presence of this two-sorted ontology it then transpires that mereotopology—topology erected on a mereological basis—is more than a trivial formal variant of classical point-set topology. (shrink)
We can see mereology as a theory of parthood and topology as a theory of wholeness. How can these be combined to obtain a unified theory of parts and wholes? This paper examines various non-equivalent ways of pursuing this task, with specific reference to its relevance to spatio-temporal reasoning. In particular, three main strategies are compared: (i) mereology and topology as two independent (though mutually related) chapters; (ii) mereology as a general theory subsuming topology; (iii) topology (...) as a general theory subsuming mereology. Some more speculative strategies and directions for further research are also considered. (shrink)
The paper is a contribution to formal ontology. It seeks to use topological means in order to derive ontological laws pertaining to the boundaries and interiors of wholes, to relations of contact and connectedness, to the concepts of surface, point, neighbourhood, and so on. The basis of the theory is mereology, the formal theory of part and whole, a theory which is shown to have a number of advantages, for ontological purposes, over standard treatments of topology in set-theoretic terms. (...) One central goal of the paper is to provide a rigorous formulation of Brentano's thesis to the effect that a boundary can exist as a matter of necessity only as part of a whole of higher dimension which it is the boundary of. It concludes with a brief survey of current applications of mereotopology in areas such as natural-language analysis, geographic information systems, machine vision, naive physics, and database and knowledge engineering. (shrink)
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 develop a specific form of enhanced manipulative imagination, in order to draw inferences from knot diagrams by performing epistemic actions. Moreover, it will be argued that knot diagrams not only can promote discovery, but also provide evidence. This case study is an experimentation ground to evaluate the role of space and action in making inferences by reasoning diagrammatically. (shrink)
The concept of niche (setting, context, habitat, environment) has been little studied by ontologists, in spite of its wide application in a variety of disciplines from evolutionary biology to economics. What follows is a first formal theory of this concept, a theory of the relations between objects and their niches. The theory builds upon existing work on mereology, topology, and the theory of spatial location as tools of formal ontology. It will be illustrated above all by means of simple (...) biological examples, but the concept of niche should be understood as being, like concepts such as part, boundary, and location, a structural concept that is applicable in principle to a wide range of different domains. (shrink)
Living agency is subject to a normative dimension (good-bad, adaptive-maladaptive) that is absent from other types of interaction. We review current and historical attempts to naturalize normativity from an organism-centered perspective, identifying two central problems and their solution: (1) How to define the topology of the viability space so as to include a sense of gradation that permits reversible failure, and (2) how to relate both the processes that establish norms and those that result in norm-following behavior. We present (...) a minimal metabolic system that is coupled to a gradient-climbing chemotactic mechanism. Studying the relationship between metabolic dynamics and environmental resource conditions, we identify an emergent viable region and a precarious region where the system tends to die unless environmental conditions change. We introduce the concept of normative field as the change of environmental conditions required to bring the system back to its viable region. Norm-following, or normative action, is defined as the course of behavior whose effect is positively correlated with the normative field. We close with a discussion of the limitations and extensions of our model and some final reflections on the nature of norms and teleology in agency. (shrink)
The essay constructs an ontological theory designed to capture the categories instantiated in those portions or levels of reality which are captured in our common sense conceptual scheme. It takes as its starting point an Aristotelian ontology of “substances” and “accidents”, which are treated via the instruments of mereology and topology. The theory recognizes not only individual parts of substances and accidents, including the internal and external boundaries of these, but also universal parts, such as the “humanity” which is (...) an essential part of both Tom and Dick, and also “individual relations”, such as Tom’s promise to Dick, or their current handshake. (shrink)
This paper examines some of the methods animals and humans have of adapting their environment. Because there are limits on how many different tasks a creature can be designed to do well in, creatures with the capacity to redesign their environments have an adaptive advantage over those who can only passively adapt to existing environmental structures. To clarify environmental redesign I rely on the formal notion of a task environment as a directed graph where the nodes are states and the (...) links are actions. One natural form of redesign is to change the topology of this graph structure so as to increase the likelihood of task success or to reduce its expected cost, measured in physical terms. This may be done by eliminating initial states hence eliminating choice points; by changing the action repertoire; by changing the consequence function; and lastly, by adding choice points. Another major method for adapting the environment is to change its cognitive congeniality. Such changes leave the state space formally intact but reduce the number and cost of mental operations needed for task success; they reliably increase the speed, accuracy or robustness of performance. The last section of the paper describes several of these epistemic or complementary actions found in human performance. (shrink)
This paper offers a general characterization of underdetermination and gives a prima facie case for the underdetermination of the topology of the universe. A survey of several philosophical approaches to the problem fails to resolve the issue: the case involves the possibility of massive reduplication, but Strawson on massive reduplication provides no help here; it is not obvious that any of the rival theories are to be preferred on grounds of simplicity; and the usual talk of empirically equivalent theories (...) misses the point entirely. (If the choice is underdetermined, then the theories are not empirically equivalent!) Yet the thought experiment is analogous to a live scientific possibility, and actual astronomy faces underdetermination of this kind. This paper concludes by suggesting how the matter can be resolved, either by localizing the underdetermination or by defeating it entirely. Introduction A brief preliminary Around the universe in 80 days Some attempts at resolving the problem 4.1 Indexicality 4.2 Simplicity 4.3 Empirical equivalence 4.4 Is this just a philosophers' fantasy? Move along... ...nothing to see here 6.1 Rules of repetition 6.2 Some possible replies Conclusion. (shrink)
Ontologies of living things are increasingly grounded on the concepts and practices of current life science. Biological development is a process, undergone by living things, which begins with a single cell and (in an important class of cases) ends with formation of a multicellular organism. The process of development is thus prima facie central for ideas about biological individuality and organismality. However, recent accounts of these concepts do not engage developmental biology. This paper aims to fill the gap, proposing the (...) lineage view of stem cells as an ontological framework for conceptualizing organismal development. This account is grounded on experimental practices of stem cell research, with emphasis on new techniques for generating biological organization in vitro. On the lineage view, a stem cell is the starting point of a cell lineage with a specific organismal source, time-interval of existence, and ‘tree topology’ of branch-points linking the stem to developmental termini. The concept of ‘enkapsis’ accommodates the cell-organism relation within the lineage view; this hierarchical notion is further explicated by considering the methods and results of stem cell experiments. Results of this examination include a (partial) characterization of stem cells’ developmental versatility, and the context-dependence of developmental processes involving stem cells. (shrink)
In this paper I want to show that topology has a bearing on the theory of tropes. More precisely, I propose a topological ontology of tropes. This is to be understood as follows: trope ontology is a „one-category”-ontology countenancing only one kind of basic entities, to wit, tropes. 1 Hence, individuals, properties, relations, etc. are to be constructed from tropes.
The distinction between the discrete and the continuous lies at the heart of mathematics. Discrete mathematics (arithmetic, algebra, combinatorics, graph theory, cryptography, logic) has a set of concepts, techniques, and application areas largely distinct from continuous mathematics (traditional geometry, calculus, most of functional analysis, differential equations, topology). The interaction between the two – for example in computer models of continuous systems such as fluid flow – is a central issue in the applicable mathematics of the last hundred years. This (...) article explains the distinction and why it has proved to be one of the great organizing themes of mathematics. (shrink)
In this thesis we present two logical systems, $\bf MP$ and $\MP$, for the purpose of reasoning about knowledge and effort. These logical systems will be interpreted in a spatial context and therefore, the abstract concepts of knowledge and effort will be defined by concrete mathematical concepts.
This is a revised and extended version of the formal theory of holes outlined in the Appendix to the book "Holes and Other Superficialities". The first part summarizes the basic framework (ontology, mereology, topology, morphology). The second part emphasizes its relevance to spatial reasoning and to the semantics of spatial prepositions in natural language. In particular, I discuss the semantics of ‘in’ and provide an account of such fallacious arguments as “There is a hole in the sheet. The sheet (...) is in the drawer. Ergo *there is a hole in the drawer”. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with certain ontological issues in the foundations of geographic representation. It sets out what these basic issues are, describes the tools needed to deal with them, and draws some implications for a general theory of spatial representation. Our approach has ramifications in the domains of mereology, topology, and the theory of location, and the question of the interaction of these three domains within a unified spatial representation theory is addressed. In the final part we also (...) consider the idea of non-standard geographies, which may be associated with geography under a classical conception in the same sense in which non-standard logics are associated with classical logic. (shrink)
Modern philosophy of mathematics has been dominated by Platonism and nominalism, to the neglect of the Aristotelian realist option. Aristotelianism holds that mathematics studies certain real properties of the world – mathematics is neither about a disembodied world of “abstract objects”, as Platonism holds, nor it is merely a language of science, as nominalism holds. Aristotle’s theory that mathematics is the “science of quantity” is a good account of at least elementary mathematics: the ratio of two heights, for example, is (...) a perceivable and measurable real relation between properties of physical things, a relation that can be shared by the ratio of two weights or two time intervals. Ratios are an example of continuous quantity; discrete quantities, such as whole numbers, are also realised as relations between a heap and a unit-making universal. For example, the relation between foliage and being-a-leaf is the number of leaves on a tree,a relation that may equal the relation between a heap of shoes and being-a-shoe. Modern higher mathematics, however, deals with some real properties that are not naturally seen as quantity, so that the “science of quantity” theory of mathematics needs supplementation. Symmetry, topology and similar structural properties are studied by mathematics, but are about pattern, structure or arrangement rather than quantity. (shrink)
Do trees of life have roots? What do these roots look like? In this contribution, I argue that research on the origins of life might offer glimpses on the topology of these very roots. More specifically, I argue (1) that the roots of the tree of life go well below the level of the commonly mentioned ‘ancestral organisms’ down into the level of much simpler, minimally living entities that might be referred to as ‘protoliving systems’, and (2) that further (...) below, a system of roots gradually dissolves into non-living matter along several functional dimensions. In between non-living and living matter, one finds physico-chemical systems that I propose to characterize by a ‘lifeness signature’. In turn, this ‘lifeness signature’ might also account for a diverse range of biochemical entities that are found to be ‘less-than-living’ yet ‘more-than-non-living’. (shrink)
This article aims to develop a Lacanian approach to bioethics. Point of departure is the fact that both psychoanalysis and bioethics are practices of language, combining diagnostics with therapy. Subsequently, I will point out how Lacanian linguistics may help us to elucidate the dynamics of both psychoanalytical and bioethical discourse, using the movie One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone as key examples. Next, I will explain the ‘topology’ of the bioethical landscape with the help of (...) Lacan’s three dimensions: the imaginary, the symbolical and the real. This will culminate in an assessment of the dynamics of bioethical discourse with the help of Lacan’s theorem of the four discourses. Bioethics, I will argue, is not a homogeneous discourse. Rather, four modalities of bioethical discourse can be distinguished, all of them displaying specific weaknesses and strengths, opportunities and threats. This will be elucidated with the help of two case studies, namely the debates on human reproductive technologies and on the use of animals as biomedical research models. (shrink)
The objective of this article is to take into account the functioning of representational cognitive tools, and in particular of notations and visualizations in mathematics. In order to explain their functioning, formulas in algebra and logic and diagrams in topology will be presented as case studies and the notion of manipulative imagination as proposed in previous work will be discussed. To better characterize the analysis, the notions of material anchor and representational affordance will be introduced.
This essay undertakes a reexamination of the notion of the receptacle/chōra in Plato's Timaeus, asking what its value may be to feminists seeking to understand the topology of the feminine in Western philosophy. As the source of cosmic motion as well as a restless figurality, labile and polyvocal, the receptacle/chōra offers a fecund zone of destabilization that allows for an immanent critique of ancient metaphysics. Engaging with Derridean, Irigarayan, and Kristevan analyses, Bianchi explores whether receptacle/chōra can exceed its reduction (...) to the maternal-feminine, and remain answerable to contemporary theoretical concerns. (shrink)
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