Figuring Space

Figuring Space : Philosophy, Mathematics and Physics

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In Figuring Space Gilles Chatelet seeks to capture the problem of intuition of mobility in philosophy, mathematics and physics. This he does by means of virtuality and intensive quantities (Oresme, Leibniz), wave-particle duality and perspective diagrams, philosophy of nature and Argand's and Grassman's geometric discoveries and, finally, Faraday's, Maxwell's and Hamilton's electrophilosophy. This tumultuous relationship between mathematics, physics and philosophy is presented in terms of a comparison between intuitive practices and Discursive practices. The following concepts are treated in detail: The concept of virtuality; thought experiments; diagrams; special relativity; German Naturphilosophie and 'Romantic' science. Readership: The book does not require any considerable mathematical background, but it does insist that the reader quit the common instrumental conception of language. It will interest professional philosophers, mathematicians, physicists, and even younger scientists eager to understand the 'unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics'.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 231 pages
  • 162.56 x 231.14 x 25.4mm | 476.27g
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands, United States
  • English
  • 1999 ed.
  • 12 black & white illustrations, biography
  • 0792358805
  • 9780792358800

Table of contents

Introduction. One: The Enchantment of the Virtual. Two: The Screen, the Spectrum and the Pendulum. Three: The Force of Ambiguity: Dialectical Balances. Four: Grassmann's Capture of the Extension Geometry and Dialectic. Five: Electrogeometric Space. Appendix I: Note on Quaternions. Appendix II: Note on Hamilton's astronomical example. Appendix III: Hamilton's operator.
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