The paper follows the track of a previous paper “Natural cybernetics of time” in relation to history in a research of the ways to be mathematized regardless of being a descriptive humanitarian science withal investigating unique events and thus rejecting any repeatability. The pathway of classical experimental science to be mathematized gradually and smoothly by more and more relevant mathematical models seems to be inapplicable. Anyway quantum mechanics suggests another pathway for mathematization; considering the historical reality as dual (...) or “complimentary” to its model. The historical reality by itself can be seen as mathematical if one considers it in Hegel’s manner as a specific interpretation of the totality being in a permanent self-movement due to being just the totality, i.e. by means of the “speculative dialectics” of history, however realized as a theory both mathematical and empirical and thus falsifiable as by logical contradictions within itself as emprical discrepancies to facts. Not less, a Husserlian kind of “historical phenomenology” is possible along with Hegel’s historical dialectics sharing the postulate of the totality (and thus, that of transcendentalism). One would be to suggest the transcendental counterpart: an “eternal”, i.e. atemporal and aspatial history to the usual, descriptive temporal history, and equating the real course of history as with its alternative, actually happened branches of the regions of the world as with only imaginable, counterfactual histories. That universal and transcendental history is properly mathematical by itself, even in a neo-Pythagorean model. It is only represented on the temporal screen of the standard historiography as a discrete series of unique events. An analogy to the readings of the apparatus in quantum mechanics can be useful. Even more, that analogy is considered rigorously and logically as implied by the mathematical transcendental history and sharing with it the same quantity of information as an invariant to all possible alternative or counterfactual histories. One can involve the hypothetical external viewpoint to history (as if outside of history or from “God’s viewpoint to it), to which all alternative or counterfactual histories can be granted as a class of equivalence sharing the same information (i.e. the number choices, but realized in different sequence or adding redundant ones in each branch) being similar and even mathematically isomorphic to Feynman trajectories in quantum mechanics. Particularly, a fundamental law of mathematicalhistory, the law of least choice of the real historical pathway is deducible from the same approach. Its counterpart in physics is the well-known and confirmed law of least action as far as the quantity of action corresponds equivocally to the quantity of information or that of number elementary historical choices. (shrink)
The present yearbook (which is the fourth in the series) is subtitled Trends & Cycles. It is devoted to cyclical and trend dynamics in society and nature; special attention is paid to economic and demographic aspects, in particular to the mathematical modeling of the Malthusian and post-Malthusian traps' dynamics. An increasingly important role is played by new directions in historical research that study long-term dynamic processes and quantitative changes. This kind of history can hardly develop without the application (...) of mathematical methods. There is a tendency to study history as a system of various processes, within which one can detect waves and cycles of different lengths – from a few years to several centuries, or even millennia. The contributions to this yearbook present a qualitative and quantitative analysis of global historical, political, economic and demographic processes, as well as their mathematical models. This issue of the yearbook consists of three main sections: (I) Long-Term Trends in Nature and Society; (II) Cyclical Processes in Pre-industrial Societies; (III) Contemporary History and Processes. We hope that this issue of the yearbook will be interesting and useful both for historians and mathematicians, as well as for all those dealing with various social and natural sciences. (shrink)
Recent experimental evidence from developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience indicates that humans are equipped with unlearned elementary mathematical skills. However, formal mathematics has properties that cannot be reduced to these elementary cognitive capacities. The question then arises how human beings cognitively deal with more advanced mathematical ideas. This paper draws on the extended mind thesis to suggest that mathematical symbols enable us to delegate some mathematical operations to the external environment. In this view, mathematical symbols (...) are not only used to express mathematical concepts—they are constitutive of the mathematical concepts themselves. Mathematical symbols are epistemic actions, because they enable us to represent concepts that are literally unthinkable with our bare brains. Using case-studies from the history of mathematics and from educational psychology, we argue for an intimate relationship between mathematical symbols and mathematical cognition. (shrink)
In “What Makes a Scientific Explanation Distinctively Mathematical?” (2013b), Lange uses several compelling examples to argue that certain explanations for natural phenomena appeal primarily to mathematical, rather than natural, facts. In such explanations, the core explanatory facts are modally stronger than facts about causation, regularity, and other natural relations. We show that Lange's account of distinctively mathematical explanation is flawed in that it fails to account for the implicit directionality in each of his examples. This inadequacy is (...) remediable in each case by appeal to ontic facts that account for why the explanation is acceptable in one direction and unacceptable in the other direction. The mathematics involved in these examples cannot play this crucial normative role. While Lange's examples fail to demonstrate the existence of distinctively mathematical explanations, they help to emphasize that many superficially natural scientific explanations rely for their explanatory force on relations of stronger-than-natural necessity. These are not opposing kinds of scientific explanations; they are different aspects of scientific explanation. (shrink)
We have reached the peculiar situation where the advance of mainstream science has required us to dismiss as unreal our own existence as free, creative agents, the very condition of there being science at all. Efforts to free science from this dead-end and to give a place to creative becoming in the world have been hampered by unexamined assumptions about what science should be, assumptions which presuppose that if creative becoming is explained, it will be explained away as an illusion. (...) In this paper it is shown that this problem has permeated the whole of European civilization from the Ancient Greeks onwards, leading to a radical disjunction between cosmology which aims at a grasp of the universe through mathematics and history which aims to comprehend human action through stories. By going back to the Ancient Greeks and tracing the evolution of the denial of creative becoming, I trace the layers of assumptions that must in some way be transcended if we are to develop a truly post-Egyptian science consistent with the forms of understanding and explanation that have evolved within history. (shrink)
This paper argues that the principle of continuity that underlies Benjamin’s understanding of what makes the reality of a thing thinkable, which in the Kantian context implies a process of “filling time” with an anticipatory structure oriented to the subject, is of a different order than that of infinitesimal calculus—and that a “discontinuity” constitutive of the continuity of experience and (merely) counterposed to the image of actuality as an infinite gradation of ultimately thetic acts cannot be the principle on which (...) Benjamin bases the structure of becoming. Tracking the transformation of the process of “filling time” from its logical to its historical iteration, or from what Cohen called the “fundamental acts of time” in Logik der reinen Erkenntnis to Benjamin’s image of a language of language (qua language touching itself), the paper will suggest that for Benjamin, moving from 0 to 1 is anything but paradoxical, and instead relies on the possibility for a mathematical function to capture the nature of historical occurrence beyond paradoxes of language or phenomenality. (shrink)
One of the key features of modern mathematics is the adoption of the abstract method. Our goal in this paper is to propose an explication of that method that is rooted in the history of the subject.
We know very little about mathematical skepticism in modem times. Imre Lakatos once remarked that “in discussing modem efforts to establish foundations for mathematical knowledge one tends to forget that these are but a chapter in the great effort to overcome skepticism by establishing foundations for knowledge in general." And in a sense he was clearly right: modem thought — with its new discoveries in mathematical sciences, the mathematization of physics, the spreading of Pyrrhonist doctrines, the centrality (...) of epistemological foundationalism and the diffusion of the geometrical method in philosophy — was the most natural arena in which skepticism and mathematics could confront each other. The problem remains, however, that no investigation of the whole topic has yet been attempted. Thus, as far as we know, mathematical certainties should have clashed with skeptical doubts, but whether and to what extent there was indeed a historical debate on mathematical skepticism in modern thought remains to be ascertained. (shrink)
Over the years, mathematics and statistics have become increasingly important in the social sciences1 . A look at history quickly confirms this claim. At the beginning of the 20th century most theories in the social sciences were formulated in qualitative terms while quantitative methods did not play a substantial role in their formulation and establishment. Moreover, many practitioners considered mathematical methods to be inappropriate and simply unsuited to foster our understanding of the social domain. Notably, the famous Methodenstreit (...) also concerned the role of mathematics in the social sciences. Here, mathematics was considered to be the method of the natural sciences from which the social sciences had to be separated during the period of maturation of these disciplines. All this changed by the end of the century. By then, mathematical, and especially statistical, methods were standardly used, and their value in the social sciences became relatively uncontested. The use of mathematical and statistical methods is now ubiquitous: Almost all social sciences rely on statistical methods to analyze data and form hypotheses, and almost all of them use (to a greater or lesser extent) a range of mathematical methods to help us understand the social world. Additional indication for the increasing importance of mathematical and statistical methods in the social sciences is the formation of new subdisciplines, and the establishment of specialized journals and societies. Indeed, subdisciplines such as Mathematical Psychology and Mathematical Sociology emerged, and corresponding journals such as The Journal of Mathematical Psychology (since 1964), The Journal of Mathematical Sociology (since 1976), Mathematical Social Sciences (since 1980) as well as the online journals Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation (since 1998) and Mathematical Anthropology and Cultural Theory (since 2000) were established. What is more, societies such as the Society for Mathematical Psychology (since 1976) and the Mathematical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association (since 1996) were founded. Similar developments can be observed in other countries. The mathematization of economics set in somewhat earlier (Vazquez 1995; Weintraub 2002). However, the use of mathematical methods in economics started booming only in the second half of the last century (Debreu 1991). Contemporary economics is dominated by the mathematical approach, although a certain style of doing economics became more and more under attack in the last decade or so. Recent developments in behavioral economics and experimental economics can also be understood as a reaction against the dominance (and limitations) of an overly mathematical approach to economics. There are similar debates in other social sciences. It is, however, important to stress that problems of one method (such as axiomatization or the use of set theory) can hardly be taken as a sign of bankruptcy of mathematical methods in the social sciences tout court. This chapter surveys mathematical and statistical methods used in the social sciences and discusses some of the philosophical questions they raise. It is divided into two parts. Sections 1 and 2 are devoted to mathematical methods, and Sections 3 to 7 to statistical methods. As several other chapters in this handbook provide detailed accounts of various mathematical methods, our remarks about the latter will be rather short and general. Statistical methods, on the other hand, will be discussed in-depth. (shrink)
Research into ancient physical structures, some having been known as the seven wonders of the ancient world, inspired new developments in the early history of mathematics. At the other end of this spectrum of inquiry the research is concerned with the minimum of observations from physical data as exemplified by Eddington's Principle. Current discussions of the interplay between physics and mathematics revive some of this early history of mathematics and offer insight into the fine-structure constant. Arthur Eddington's work (...) leads to a new calculation of the inverse fine-structure constant giving the same approximate value as ancient geometry combined with the golden ratio structure of the hydrogen atom. The hyperbolic function suggested by Alfred Landé leads to another result, involving the Laplace limit of Kepler's equation, with the same approximate value and related to the aforementioned results. The accuracy of these results are consistent with the standard reference. Relationships between the four fundamental coupling constants are also found. (shrink)
Both literalism, the view that mathematical objects simply exist in the empirical world, and fictionalism, the view that mathematical objects do not exist but are rather harmless fictions, have been both ascribed to Aristotle. The ascription of literalism to Aristotle, however, commits Aristotle to the unattractive view that mathematics studies but a small fragment of the physical world; and there is evidence that Aristotle would deny the literalist position that mathematical objects are perceivable. The ascription of fictionalism (...) also faces a difficult challenge: there is evidence that Aristotle would deny the fictionalist position that mathematics is false. I argue that, in Aristotle's view, the fiction of mathematics is not to treat what does not exist as if existing but to treat mathematical objects with an ontological status they lack. This form of fictionalism is consistent with holding that mathematics is true. (shrink)
Anyone who has read Plato’s Republic knows it has a lot to say about mathematics. But why? I shall not be satisfied with the answer that the future rulers of the ideal city are to be educated in mathematics, so Plato is bound to give some space to the subject. I want to know why the rulers are to be educated in mathematics. More pointedly, why are they required to study so much mathematics, for so long?
We argue that the mathematization of science should be understood as a normative activity of advocating for a particular methodology with its own criteria for evaluating good research. As a case study, we examine the mathematization of taxonomic classification in systematic biology. We show how mathematization is a normative activity by contrasting its distinctive features in numerical taxonomy in the 1960s with an earlier reform advocated by Ernst Mayr starting in the 1940s. Both Mayr and the numerical taxonomists sought to (...) formalize the work of classification, but Mayr introduced a qualitative formalism based on human judgment for determining the taxonomic rank of populations, while the numerical taxonomists introduced a quantitative formalism based on automated procedures for computing classifications. The key contrast between Mayr and the numerical taxonomists is how they conceptualized the temporal structure of the workflow of classification, specifically where they allowed meta-level discourse about difficulties in producing the classification. (shrink)
Contemporary natural-language semantics began with the assumption that the meaning of a sentence could be modeled by a single truth condition, or by an entity with a truth-condition. But with the recent explosion of dynamic semantics and pragmatics and of work on non- truth-conditional dimensions of linguistic meaning, we are now in the midst of a shift away from a truth-condition-centric view and toward the idea that a sentence’s meaning must be spelled out in terms of its various roles in (...) conversation. This communicative turn in semantics raises historical questions: Why was truth-conditional semantics dominant in the first place, and why were the phenomena now driving the communicative turn initially ignored or misunderstood by truth-conditional semanticists? I offer a historical answer to both questions. The history of natural-language semantics—springing from the work of Donald Davidson and Richard Montague—began with a methodological toolkit that Frege, Tarski, Carnap, and others had created to better understand artificial languages. For them, the study of linguistic meaning was subservient to other explanatory goals in logic, philosophy, and the foundations of mathematics, and this subservience was reflected in the fact that they idealized away from all aspects of meaning that get in the way of a one-to-one correspondence between sentences and truth-conditions. The truth-conditional beginnings of natural- language semantics are best explained by the fact that, upon turning their attention to the empirical study of natural language, Davidson and Montague adopted the methodological toolkit assembled by Frege, Tarski, and Carnap and, along with it, their idealization away from non-truth-conditional semantic phenomena. But this pivot in explana- tory priorities toward natural language itself rendered the adoption of the truth-conditional idealization inappropriate. Lifting the truth-conditional idealization has forced semanticists to upend the conception of linguistic meaning that was originally embodied in their methodology. (shrink)
Book Review for Reading Natural Philosophy: Essays in the History and Philosophy of Science and Mathematics, La Salle, IL: Open Court, 2002. Edited by David Malament. This volume includes thirteen original essays by Howard Stein, spanning a range of topics that Stein has written about with characteristic passion and insight. This review focuses on the essays devoted to history and philosophy of physics.
Can mathematics contribute to our understanding of physical phenomena? One way to try to answer this question is by getting involved in the recent philosophical dispute about the existence of mathematical explanations of physical phenomena. If there is such a thing, given the relation between explanation and understanding, we can say that there is an affirmative answer to our question. But what if we do not agree that mathematics can play an explanatory role in science? Can we still consider (...) that the above question can have an affirmative answer? My main aim here is to give an account that takes mathematics, in some of the cases discussed in the literature, as contributing to our understanding of physical phenomena despite not being explanatory. (shrink)
Introduction to the Special Volume, “Method, Science and Mathematics: Neo-Kantianism and Analytic Philosophy,” edited by Scott Edgar and Lydia Patton. At its core, analytic philosophy concerns urgent questions about philosophy’s relation to the formal and empirical sciences, questions about philosophy’s relation to psychology and the social sciences, and ultimately questions about philosophy’s place in a broader cultural landscape. This picture of analytic philosophy shapes this collection’s focus on the history of the philosophy of mathematics, physics, and psychology. The following (...) essays uncover, reflect on, and exemplify modes of philosophy that are engaged with these allied disciplines. They make the case that, to the extent that analytic philosophers are still concerned with philosophy’s ties to these disciplines, we would do well to pay attention to neo-Kantian views on those ties. (shrink)
intro to Part 1 - -/- Most people disliked mathematics when they were at school and they were absolutely correct to do so. This is because maths as we know it is severely incomplete. No matter how elaborated and complicated mathematical equations become, in today's world they're based on 1+1=2. This certainly conforms to the world our physical senses perceive and to the world scientific instruments detect. It has been of immeasurable value to all knowledge throughout history and (...) has elevated science to the lofty status it enjoys. Science is now striving towards Unification - where the subatomic realm, all matter, energy, forces, space and time will be seen as entangled parts of one universe. While 1+1=2 has been vital in getting humanity to this point, it's time to suppress our attachments to the past and realize that whereas 1+1 will always equal 2, it's also capable of equalling the 1 which represents unification. -/- intro to Part 2 -/- b) Division by zero is accepted, in Newtonian maths, to be impossible. But we can regard division by zero as division by nothing i.e. division that has no effect. In this case, 1 divided by 0 is 1. However, to a physicist there is no such thing as nothing (even empty space contains energy). What could the something called 0 actually be? It could be a binary digit. If we use the base of ten (for simplicity) and attach one and zero to it as exponents, we get 10^1 divided by 10^0 = 10^1. If we then cancel 10 from each factor in the expression, we get 1 divided by 0 = 1. At the start of the paragraph, this was referred to as division by nothing. Then 0 was called a binary digit and division by nothing became division by something. The 1 that the division equals is the unified field of space-time. Division by 0 is impossible in Newtonian maths because the result can be infinity. But the word “infinity” can, as the last section of this book shows, apply to the unified field of spacetime. So division by zero is not impossible because it results in the universe, which is obviously possible … a possibility that has always been, and always will be, realized. -/- intro to Part 3 -/- If quantum entanglement has existed in the entire universe forever, everything would be everywhere and everywhen. Space, time and 5th-dimensional hyperspace would not be restricted to certain parts of the Mobius Universe but would exist in every particle. Past, present and future would not exist as the distinct periods which everyday life assumes. All instants of all periods would exist eternally, permitting time travel to any point in the past and to any point in the future. Entanglement may be created by simply zipping along at close to the speed of light - “Quantum entanglement of moving bodies” by Robert M. Gingrich and Christoph Adami in Physical Review Letters 89, 270402 (issue of 30 December 2002) – which might be achieved, according to this book, by warping space so it’s either a fraction of the 90 degrees allowing instantaneous travel or almost at 270 degrees to space as we know it. (shrink)
A perspective is provided on how to move beyond postmodernism while struggling to do philosophy in the twenty-first century. The ontological structures of time, history, and mathematics are analyzed from the vantagepoint of the Heideggerian theory of nonspatial Fold.
The article evaluates the Domain Postulate of the Classical Model of Science and the related Aristotelian prohibition rule on kind-crossing as interpretative tools in the history of the development of mathematics into a general science of quantities. Special reference is made to Proclus’ commentary to Euclid’s first book of Elements , to the sixteenth century translations of Euclid’s work into Latin and to the works of Stevin, Wallis, Viète and Descartes. The prohibition rule on kind-crossing formulated by Aristotle in (...) Posterior analytics is used to distinguish between conceptions that share the same name but are substantively different: for example the search for a broader genus including all mathematical objects; the search for a common character of different species of mathematical objects; and the effort to treat magnitudes as numbers. (shrink)
In this article I examine two mathematical definitions of observational equivalence, one proposed by Charlotte Werndl and based on manifest isomorphism, and the other based on Ornstein and Weiss’s ε-congruence. I argue, for two related reasons, that neither can function as a purely mathematical definition of observational equivalence. First, each definition permits of counterexamples; second, overcoming these counterexamples will introduce non-mathematical premises about the systems in question. Accordingly, the prospects for a broadly applicable and purely mathematical (...) definition of observational equivalence are unpromising. Despite this critique, I suggest that Werndl’s proposals are valuable because they clarify the distinction between provable and unprovable elements in arguments for observational equivalence. (shrink)
The concept of similar systems arose in physics, and appears to have originated with Newton in the seventeenth century. This chapter provides a critical history of the concept of physically similar systems, the twentieth century concept into which it developed. The concept was used in the nineteenth century in various fields of engineering, theoretical physics and theoretical and experimental hydrodynamics. In 1914, it was articulated in terms of ideas developed in the eighteenth century and used in nineteenth century mathematics (...) and mechanics: equations, functions and dimensional analysis. The terminology physically similar systems was proposed for this new characterization of similar systems by the physicist Edgar Buckingham. Related work by Vaschy, Bertrand, and Riabouchinsky had appeared by then. The concept is very powerful in studying physical phenomena both theoretically and experimentally. As it is not currently part of the core curricula of STEM disciplines or philosophy of science, it is not as well known as it ought to be. (shrink)
I offer an alternative account of the relationship of Hobbesian geometry to natural philosophy by arguing that mixed mathematics provided Hobbes with a model for thinking about it. In mixed mathematics, one may borrow causal principles from one science and use them in another science without there being a deductive relationship between those two sciences. Natural philosophy for Hobbes is mixed because an explanation may combine observations from experience (the ‘that’) with causal principles from geometry (the ‘why’). My argument shows (...) that Hobbesian natural philosophy relies upon suppositions that bodies plausibly behave according to these borrowed causal principles from geometry, acknowledging that bodies in the world may not actually behave this way. First, I consider Hobbes's relation to Aristotelian mixed mathematics and to Isaac Barrow's broadening of mixed mathematics in Mathematical Lectures (1683). I show that for Hobbes maker's knowledge from geometry provides the ‘why’ in mixed-mathematical explanations. Next, I examine two explanations from De corpore Part IV: (1) the explanation of sense in De corpore 25.1-2; and (2) the explanation of the swelling of parts of the body when they become warm in De corpore 27.3. In both explanations, I show Hobbes borrowing and citing geometrical principles and mixing these principles with appeals to experience. (shrink)
Walter Dubislav (1895–1937) was a leading member of the Berlin Group for scientific philosophy. This “sister group” of the more famous Vienna Circle emerged around Hans Reichenbach’s seminars at the University of Berlin in 1927 and 1928. Dubislav was to collaborate with Reichenbach, an association that eventuated in their conjointly conducting university colloquia. Dubislav produced original work in philosophy of mathematics, logic, and science, consequently following David Hilbert’s axiomatic method. This brought him to defend formalism in these disciplines as well (...) as to explore the problems of substantiating (Begründung) human knowledge. Dubislav also developed elements of general philosophy of science. Sadly, the political changes in Germany in 1933 proved ruinous to Dubislav. He published scarcely anything after Hitler came to power and in 1937 committed suicide under tragic circumstances. The intent here is to pass in review Dubislav’s philosophy of logic, mathematics, and science and so to shed light on some seminal yet hitherto largely neglected currents in the history of philosophy of science. (shrink)
In the first part of this article we survey general similarities and differences between biological and social macroevolution. In the second (and main) part, we consider a concrete mathematical model capable of describing important features of both biological and social macroevolution. In mathematical models of historical macrodynamics, a hyperbolic pattern of world population growth arises from non-linear, second-order positive feedback between demographic growth and technological development. Based on diverse paleontological data and an analogy with macrosociological models, we suggest (...) that the hyperbolic character of biodiversity growth can be similarly accounted for by non-linear, second-order positive feedback between diversity growth and the complexity of community structure. We discuss how such positive feedback mechanisms can be modelled mathematically. (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)
In the early 1900s, Russell began to recognize that he, and many other mathematicians, had been using assertions like the Axiom of Choice implicitly, and without explicitly proving them. In working with the Axioms of Choice, Infinity, and Reducibility, and his and Whitehead’s Multiplicative Axiom, Russell came to take the position that some axioms are necessary to recovering certain results of mathematics, but may not be proven to be true absolutely. The essay traces historical roots of, and motivations for, Russell’s (...) method of analysis, which are intended to shed light on his view about the status of mathematical axioms. I describe the position Russell develops in consequence as “immanent logicism,” in contrast to what Irving (1989) describes as “epistemic logicism.” Immanent logicism allows Russell to avoid the logocentric predicament, and to propose a method for discovering structural relationships of dependence within mathematical theories. (shrink)
In my dissertation, I present Hermann Cohen's foundation for the history and philosophy of science. My investigation begins with Cohen's formulation of a neo-Kantian epistemology. I analyze Cohen's early work, especially his contributions to 19th century debates about the theory of knowledge. I conclude by examining Cohen's mature theory of science in two works, The Principle of the Infinitesimal Method and its History of 1883, and Cohen's extensive 1914 Introduction to Friedrich Lange's History of Materialism. In the (...) former, Cohen gives an historical and philosophical analysis of the foundations of the infinitesimal method in mathematics. In the latter, Cohen presents a detailed account of Heinrich Hertz's Principles of Mechanics of 1894. Hertz considers a series of possible foundations for mechanics, in the interest of finding a secure conceptual basis for mechanical theories. Cohen argues that Hertz's analysis can be completed, and his goal achieved, by means of a philosophical examination of the role of mathematical principles and fundamental concepts in scientific theories. (shrink)
Philosophy of history is the conceptual and technical study of the relation which exists between philosophy and history. This paper tries to analyze and examine the nature of philosophy of history, its methodology and ideal development. In this I have tried to set the limits of knowledge to know the special account of Hegel’s idealistic view about philosophy of history. In this paper I have also used the philosophical methodology and philosophy inquiry, quest and hypothesis to (...) discuss the Hegel’s idealistic concept of philosophy of history. It also examines and demonstrates the views of other idealist philosophers like, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. It also shows the how history of mathematics is a complementary of idealism as most of philosophers who were idealists are also great mathematicians. In this paper we are investigation the epistemological approach, logical and metaphysical approach to study the nature of history, meaning of history and structure of history. (shrink)
In their recent paper on “Challenges in mathematical cognition”, Alcock and colleagues (Alcock et al. [2016]. Challenges in mathematical cognition: A collaboratively-derived research agenda. Journal of Numerical Cognition, 2, 20-41) defined a research agenda through 26 specific research questions. An important dimension of mathematical cognition almost completely absent from their discussion is the cultural constitution of mathematical cognition. Spanning work from a broad range of disciplines – including anthropology, archaeology, cognitive science, history of science, linguistics, (...) philosophy, and psychology – we argue that for any research agenda on mathematical cognition the cultural dimension is indispensable, and we propose a set of exemplary research questions related to it. (shrink)
CORCORAN RECOMMENDS COCCHIARELLA ON TYPE THEORY. The 1983 review in Mathematical Reviews 83e:03005 of: Cocchiarella, Nino “The development of the theory of logical types and the notion of a logical subject in Russell's early philosophy: Bertrand Russell's early philosophy, Part I”. Synthese 45 (1980), no. 1, 71-115 .
The Mathematical Imagination focuses on the role of mathematics and digital technologies in critical theory of culture. This book belongs to the history of ideas rather than to that of mathematics proper since it treats it on a metaphorical level to express phenomena of silence or discontinuity. In order to bring more readability and clarity to the non-specialist readers, I firstly present the essential concepts, background, and objectives of his book...
Mathematicians often speak of conjectures as being confirmed by evidence that falls short of proof. For their own conjectures, evidence justifies further work in looking for a proof. Those conjectures of mathematics that have long resisted proof, such as the Riemann hypothesis, have had to be considered in terms of the evidence for and against them. In recent decades, massive increases in computer power have permitted the gathering of huge amounts of numerical evidence, both for conjectures in pure mathematics and (...) for the behavior of complex applied mathematical models and statistical algorithms. Mathematics has therefore become (among other things) an experimental science (though that has not diminished the importance of proof in the traditional style). We examine how the evaluation of evidence for conjectures works in mathematical practice. We explain the (objective) Bayesian view of probability, which gives a theoretical framework for unifying evidence evaluation in science and law as well as in mathematics. Numerical evidence in mathematics is related to the problem of induction; the occurrence of straightforward inductive reasoning in the purely logical material of pure mathematics casts light on the nature of induction as well as of mathematical reasoning. (shrink)
This is not a mathematics book, but a book about mathematics, which addresses both student and teacher, with a goal as practical as possible, namely to initiate and smooth the way toward the student’s full understanding of the mathematics taught in school. The customary procedural-formal approach to teaching mathematics has resulted in students’ distorted vision of mathematics as a merely formal, instrumental, and computational discipline. Without the conceptual base of mathematics, students develop over time a “mathematical anxiety” and abandon (...) any effort to understand mathematics, which becomes their “traditional enemy” in school. This work materializes the results of the inter- and trans-disciplinary research aimed toward the understanding of mathematics, which concluded that the fields with the potential to contribute to mathematics education in this respect, by unifying the procedural and conceptual approaches, are epistemology and philosophy of mathematics and science, as well as fundamentals and history of mathematics. These results argue that students’ fear of mathematics can be annulled through a conceptual approach, and a student with a good conceptual understanding will be a better problem solver. The author has identified those zones and concepts from the above disciplines that can be adapted and processed for familiarizing the student with this type of knowledge, which should accompany the traditional content of school mathematics. The work was organized so as to create for the reader a unificatory image of the complex nature of mathematics, as well as a conceptual perspective ultimately necessary to the holistic understanding of school mathematics. The author talks about mathematics to convince readers that to understand mathematics means first to understand it as a whole, but also as part of a whole. The nature of mathematics, its primary concepts (like numbers and sets), its structures, language, methods, roles, and applicability, are all presented in their essential content, and the explanation of non-mathematical concepts is done in an accessible language and with many relevant examples. (shrink)
This essay is a contribution to the historical phenomenology of science, taking as its point of departure Husserl’s later philosophy of science and Jacob Klein’s seminal work on the emergence of the symbolic conception of number in European mathematics during the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Sinceneither Husserl nor Klein applied their ideas to actual theories of modern mathematical physics, this essay attempts to do so through a case study of the conceptof “spacetime.” In §1, I sketch Klein’s account (...) of the emergence of the symbolic conception of number, beginning with Vieta in the late sixteenth century. In §2,through a series of historical illustrations, I show how the principal impediment to assimilating the new symbolic algebra to mathematical physics, namely, thedimensionless character of symbolic number, is overcome via the translation of the traditional language of ratio and proportion into the symbolic language of equations. In §§3–4, I critically examine the concept of “Minkowski spacetime,” specifically, the purported analogy between the Pythagorean distance formula and the Minkowski “spacetime interval.” Finally, in §5, I address the question of whether the concept of Minkowski spacetime is, as generally assumed, indispensable to Einstein’s general theory of relativity. (shrink)
Scopo di questo agile ma denso volume è approfondire “The part played by the mathematical construction in the context of a full investigation of Kant’s theory of sensibility, that to say the Transcendental Aesthetic”. Si tratta della ripresentazione della tesi di dottorato della Shabel, da cui la stessa ha riportato ampi squarci per un articolo award-winning 1998 dal titolo ”Kant on the Symbolic Construction of Mathematical Concepts” (Studies in the History and the Philosophy of Science). Non si (...) tratta di un saggio di circostanza, bensì del risultato di un'attenta e approfondita ricerca sul ruolo della costruzione di concetti, come praticata e intesa in matematica al tempo di Kant e che sicuramente influenzò la stesura dell’Estetica Trascendentale. (shrink)
The syllogistic figures and moods can be taken to be argument schemata as can the rules of the Stoic propositional logic. Sentence schemata have been used in axiomatizations of logic only since the landmark 1927 von Neumann paper [31]. Modern philosophers know the role of schemata in explications of the semantic conception of truth through Tarski’s 1933 Convention T [42]. Mathematical logicians recognize the role of schemata in first-order number theory where Peano’s second-order Induction Axiom is approximated by Herbrand’s (...) Induction-Axiom Schema [23]. Similarly, in first-order set theory, Zermelo’s second-order Separation Axiom is approximated by Fraenkel’s first-order Separation Schema [17]. In some of several closely related senses, a schema is a complex system having multiple components one of which is a template-text or scheme-template, a syntactic string composed of one or more “blanks” and also possibly significant words and/or symbols. In accordance with a side condition the template-text of a schema is used as a “template” to specify a multitude, often infinite, of linguistic expressions such as phrases, sentences, or argument-texts, called instances of the schema. The side condition is a second component. The collection of instances may but need not be regarded as a third component. The instances are almost always considered to come from a previously identified language (whether formal or natural), which is often considered to be another component. This article reviews the often-conflicting uses of the expressions ‘schema’ and ‘scheme’ in the literature of logic. It discusses the different definitions presupposed by those uses. And it examines the ontological and epistemic presuppositions circumvented or mooted by the use of schemata, as well as the ontological and epistemic presuppositions engendered by their use. In short, this paper is an introduction to the history and philosophy of schemata. (shrink)
This review concludes that if the authors know what mathematical logic is they have not shared their knowledge with the readers. This highly praised book is replete with errors and incoherency.
In this paper we apply social epistemology to mathematical proofs and their role in mathematical knowledge. The most famous modern collaborative mathematical proof effort is the Classification of Finite Simple Groups. The history and sociology of this proof have been well-documented by Alma Steingart (2012), who highlights a number of surprising and unusual features of this collaborative endeavour that set it apart from smaller-scale pieces of mathematics. These features raise a number of interesting philosophical issues, but (...) have received very little attention. In this paper, we will consider the philosophical tensions that Steingart uncovers, and use them to argue that the best account of the epistemic status of the Classification Theorem will be essentially and ineliminably social. This forms part of the broader argument that in order to understand mathematical proofs, we must appreciate their social aspects. (shrink)
DEFINING OUR TERMS A “paradox" is an argumentation that appears to deduce a conclusion believed to be false from premises believed to be true. An “inconsistency proof for a theory" is an argumentation that actually deduces a negation of a theorem of the theory from premises that are all theorems of the theory. An “indirect proof of the negation of a hypothesis" is an argumentation that actually deduces a conclusion known to be false from the hypothesis alone or, more commonly, (...) from the hypothesis augmented by a set of premises known to be true. A “direct proof of a hypothesis" is an argumentation that actually deduces the hypothesis itself from premises known to be true. Since `appears', `believes' and `knows' all make elliptical reference to a participant, it is clear that `paradox', `indirect proof' and `direct proof' are all participant-relative. PARTICIPANT RELATIVITY In normal mathematical writing the participant is presumed to be “the community of mathematicians" or some more or less well-defined subcommunity and, therefore, omission of explicit reference to the participant is often warranted. However, in historical, critical, or philosophical writing focused on emerging branches of mathematics such omission often invites confusion. One and the same argumentation has been a paradox for one mathematician, an inconsistency proof for another, and an indirect proof to a third. One and the same argumentation-text can appear to one mathematician to express an indirect proof while appearing to another mathematician to express a direct proof. WHAT IS A PARADOX’S SOLUTION? Of the above four sorts of argumentation only the paradox invites “solution" or “resolution", and ordinarily this is to be accomplished either by discovering a logical fallacy in the “reasoning" of the argumentation or by discovering that the conclusion is not really false or by discovering that one of the premises is not really true. Resolution of a paradox by a participant amounts to reclassifying a formerly paradoxical argumentation either as a “fallacy", as a direct proof of its conclusion, as an indirect proof of the negation of one of its premises, as an inconsistency proof, or as something else depending on the participant's state of knowledge or belief. This illustrates why an argumentation which is a paradox to a given mathematician at a given time may well not be a paradox to the same mathematician at a later time. -/- The present article considers several set-theoretic argumentations that appeared in the period 1903-1908. The year 1903 saw the publication of B. Russell's Principles of mathematics, [Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, 1903; Jbuch 34, 62]. The year 1908 saw the publication of Russell's article on type theory as well as Ernst Zermelo's two watershed articles on the axiom of choice and the foundations of set theory. The argumentations discussed concern “the largest cardinal", “the largest ordinal", the well-ordering principle, “the well-ordering of the continuum", denumerability of ordinals and denumerability of reals. The article shows that these argumentations were variously classified by various mathematicians and that the surrounding atmosphere was one of confusion and misunderstanding, partly as a result of failure to make or to heed distinctions similar to those made above. The article implies that historians have made the situation worse by not observing or not analysing the nature of the confusion. -/- RECOMMENDATION This well-written and well-documented article exemplifies the fact that clarification of history can be achieved through articulation of distinctions that had not been articulated (or were not being heeded) at the time. The article presupposes extensive knowledge of the history of mathematics, of mathematics itself (especially set theory) and of philosophy. It is therefore not to be recommended for casual reading. AFTERWORD: This review was written at the same time Corcoran was writing his signature “Argumentations and logic”[249] that covers much of the same ground in much more detail. https://www.academia.edu/14089432/Argumentations_and_Logic . (shrink)
K. Marx’s 200th jubilee coincides with the celebration of the 85 years from the first publication of his “Mathematical Manuscripts” in 1933. Its editor, Sofia Alexandrovna Yanovskaya (1896–1966), was a renowned Soviet mathematician, whose significant studies on the foundations of mathematics and mathematical logic, as well as on the history and philosophy of mathematics are unduly neglected nowadays. Yanovskaya, as a militant Marxist, was actively engaged in the ideological confrontation with idealism and its influence on modern mathematics (...) and their interpretation. Concomitantly, she was one of the pioneers of mathematical logic in the Soviet Union, in an era of fierce disputes on its compatibility with Marxist philosophy. Yanovskaya managed to embrace in an originally Marxist spirit the contemporary level of logico-philosophical research of her time. Due to her highly esteemed status within Soviet academia, she became one of the most significant pillars for the culmination of modern mathematics in the Soviet Union. In this paper, I attempt to trace the influence of the complex socio-cultural context of the first decades of the Soviet Union on Yanovskaya’s work. Among the several issues I discuss, her encounter with L. Wittgenstein is striking. (shrink)
This 4-page review-essay—which is entirely reportorial and philosophically neutral as are my other contributions to MATHEMATICAL REVIEWS—starts with a short introduction to the philosophy known as mathematical structuralism. The history of structuralism traces back to George Boole (1815–1864). By reference to a recent article various feature of structuralism are discussed with special attention to ambiguity and other terminological issues. The review-essay includes a description of the recent article. The article’s 4-sentence summary is quoted in full and then (...) analyzed. The point of the quotation is to make clear how murky, incompetent, and badly written the paper is. There is no way to determine from the article whether the editor or referees suggests improvements. (shrink)
We discuss central aspects of history of the concept of an affine differentiable manifold, as a proposal confirming the need for using some quantitative methods (drawn from elementary Model Theory) in Mathematical Historiography. In particular, we prove that this geometric structure is a syntactic rigid designator in the sense of Kripke-Putnam.
The influence of religious beliefs to several leading mathematicians in early Soviet years, especially among members of the Moscow Mathematical Society, had drawn the attention of militant Soviet marxists, as well as Soviet authorities. The issue has also drawn significant attention from scholars in the post-Soviet period. According to the currently prevailing interpretation, reported purges against Moscow mathematicians due to their religious inclination are the focal point of the relevant history. However, I maintain that historical data arguably offer (...) reasons to cast reasonable doubts on this interpretation. In this paper, by reviewing the relevant literature, I raise some methodological and philosophical concerns, in an attempt to contribute to a better understanding of the issue. I maintain that an efficient line of reasoning is to discuss issues in the context of their making, taking into consideration the specific features of each era’s culture. Thus, by focusing on P.A. Nekrasov’s case, I attempt to point to an alternative interpretation, in which the different treatment of religious inclined mathematicians by Soviet authorities is explained in the context of the ideological confrontation between two contrasting worldviews, as part of the ongoing class war in the several phases of Soviet history. (shrink)
We propose a way to explain the diversification of branches of mathematics, distinguishing the different approaches by which mathematical objects can be studied. In our philosophy of mathematics, there is a base object, which is the abstract multiplicity that comes from our empirical experience. However, due to our human condition, the analysis of such multiplicity is covered by other empirical cognitive attitudes (approaches), diversifying the ways in which it can be conceived, and consequently giving rise to different mathematical (...) disciplines. This diversity of approaches is founded on the manifold categories that we find in physical reality. We also propose, grounded on this idea, the use of Aristotelian categories as a first model for this division, generating from it a classification of mathematical branches. Finally we make a history review to show that there is consistency between our classification, and the historical appearance of the different branches of mathematics. (shrink)
This proposal serves to enhance scientific and technological literacy, by promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education with particular reference to contemporary physics. The study is presented in the form of a repertoire, and it gives the reader a glimpse of the conceptual structure and development of quantum theory along a rational line of thought, whose understanding might be the key to introducing young generations of students to physics.
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