Figuring Space: Philosophy, Mathematics and Physics by Gilles Châtelet

By Gilles Châtelet

In Figuring Space Gilles Châtelet seeks to catch the matter of instinct of mobility in philosophy, arithmetic and physics. This he does through virtuality and in depth amounts (Oresme, Leibniz), wave-particle duality and viewpoint diagrams, philosophy of nature and Argand's and Grassman's geometric discoveries and, eventually, Faraday's, Maxwell's and Hamilton's electrophilosophy.
This tumultuous dating among arithmetic, physics and philosophy is gifted when it comes to a comparability among intuitivepractices and Discursive practices. the subsequent innovations are handled intimately: the concept that of virtuality; proposal experiments; diagrams; specific relativity; German Naturphilosophie and `Romantic' technology.
Readership: The publication doesn't require any substantial mathematical heritage, however it does insist that the reader surrender the typical instrumental notion of language. it's going to curiosity specialist philosophers, mathematicians, physicists, or even more youthful scientists desirous to comprehend the `unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics'.

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Here the reverberation, the learning of learning, can be approached; here that strange capacity of Science to draw its power from its very partiality can be illuminated; here the difference between the knowledge of beings and wh at makes it reverberate becomes flagrant. This is why logicism, like a mathematics applied to the calculation of the liaisons between pro positions and to the administration of proof, cannot claim to re ach the status of that which marks an epoch within the development of physico-mathematical knowledge.

But neither is motion the passive waiting of a form. Motion is a way of knitting act and power together and, if potential is not reduced to the receiving of accidents, a thought of the metastable becomes possible: the melting of ice is not of ice that 'can' melt, but of ice that is 'really' in the process of melting; water is of course 'potential' in ice, but above all it actualizes itself there. Potential is what, in motion, allows the knotting together of an 'already' and a 'not yet'; it gives some reserve to the act, it is what ensures that act does not exhaust motion and, in giving some scope to the grasping of the motion, it respects and extols the latencies coiled in the bodies.

Like the gesture, they also avoid the dilemma of a substance which only gains in comprehension wh at it loses in extension. They also show that ontological measurement is not a simple externaiobservable, but the living relationship that intermingles an intensity (the 'ontological' pole of measurement) and two extensive quantities. It is not only a question of historically acknowledging a subsidiary 'tool' for representing equations, but of appreciating the considerable stakes of an ontological dignity particular to the figural which made kinematics and analytical geometry possible long before the discovery of differential calculus.

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