„We unfold out of the Idea of Space the propositions of geometry, which are plainly truths of the most rigorous necessity and universality. But if the idea of space were merely collected from observation of the external world, it could never enable or entitle us to assert such propositions: it could never authorize us to say that not merely some lines, but all lines, not only have, but must have, those properties which geometry teaches. Geometry in every proposition speaks a language which experience never dares to utter; and indeed of which she but half comprehends the meaning.“

Part 1, Book 1, ch. 7, art. 1.
Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences (1840)

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William Whewell
1794 - 1866

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„In order to see the difference which exists between… studies,—for instance, history and geometry, it will be useful to ask how we come by knowledge in each. Suppose, for example, we feel certain of a fact related in history… if we apply the notions of evidence which every-day experience justifies us in entertaining, we feel that the improbability of the contrary compels us to take refuge in the belief of the fact; and, if we allow that there is still a possibility of its falsehood, it is because this supposition does not involve absolute absurdity, but only extreme improbability.
In mathematics the case is wholly different… and the difference consists in this—that, instead of showing the contrary of the proposition asserted to be only improbable, it proves it at once to be absurd and impossible. This is done by showing that the contrary of the proposition which is asserted is in direct contradiction to some extremely evident fact, of the truth of which our eyes and hands convince us. In geometry, of the principles alluded to, those which are most commonly used are—
I. If a magnitude is divided into parts, the whole is greater than either of those parts.
II. Two straight lines cannot inclose a space.
III. Through one point only one straight line can be drawn, which never meets another straight line, or which is parallel to it.
It is on such principles as these that the whole of geometry is founded, and the demonstration of every proposition consists in proving the contrary of it to be inconsistent with one of these.“

—  Augustus De Morgan British mathematician, philosopher and university teacher (1806-1871) 1806 - 1871

Ch. I.
On the Study and Difficulties of Mathematics (1831)

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„The truth is that other systems of geometry are possible, yet after all, these other systems are not spaces but other methods of space measurements. There is one space only, though we may conceive of many different manifolds, which are contrivances or ideal constructions invented for the purpose of determining space.“

—  Paul Carus American philosopher 1852 - 1919

Science, Vol. 18 (1903), p. 106, as reported in Memorabilia Mathematica; or, The Philomath's Quotation-Book https://archive.org/stream/memorabiliamathe00moriiala#page/81/mode/2up, (1914), by Robert Edouard Moritz, p. 352

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„Suppose then I want to give myself a little training in the art of reasoning; suppose I want to get out of the region of conjecture and probability, free myself from the difficult task of weighing evidence, and putting instances together to arrive at general propositions, and simply desire to know how to deal with my general propositions when I get them, and how to deduce right inferences from them; it is clear that I shall obtain this sort of discipline best in those departments of thought in which the first principles are unquestionably true. For in all 59 our thinking, if we come to erroneous conclusions, we come to them either by accepting false premises to start with—in which case our reasoning, however good, will not save us from error; or by reasoning badly, in which case the data we start from may be perfectly sound, and yet our conclusions may be false. But in the mathematical or pure sciences,—geometry, arithmetic, algebra, trigonometry, the calculus of variations or of curves,—we know at least that there is not, and cannot be, error in our first principles, and we may therefore fasten our whole attention upon the processes. As mere exercises in logic, therefore, these sciences, based as they all are on primary truths relating to space and number, have always been supposed to furnish the most exact discipline. When Plato wrote over the portal of his school. “Let no one ignorant of geometry enter here,” he did not mean that questions relating to lines and surfaces would be discussed by his disciples. On the contrary, the topics to which he directed their attention were some of the deepest problems,—social, political, moral,—on which the mind could exercise itself. Plato and his followers tried to think out together conclusions respecting the being, the duty, and the destiny of man, and the relation in which he stood to the gods and to the unseen world. What had geometry to do with these things? Simply this: That a man whose mind has not undergone a rigorous training in systematic thinking, and in the art of drawing legitimate inferences from premises, was unfitted to enter on the discussion of these high topics; and that the sort of logical discipline which he needed was most likely to be obtained from geometry—the only mathematical science which in Plato’s time had been formulated and reduced to a system. And we in this country [England] have long acted on the same principle. Our future lawyers, clergy, and statesmen are expected at the University to learn a good deal about curves, and angles, and numbers and proportions; not because these subjects have the smallest relation to the needs of their lives, but because in the very act of learning them they are likely to acquire that habit of steadfast and accurate thinking, which is indispensable to success in all the pursuits of life.“

—  Joshua Girling Fitch British educationalist 1824 - 1903

pp. 291-292
Lectures on Teaching, (1906)

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„The kind of knowledge which is supported only by observations and is not yet proved must be carefully distinguished from the truth; it is gained by induction, as we usually say. Yet we have seen cases in which mere induction led to error.“

—  Leonhard Euler Swiss mathematician 1707 - 1783

Opera Omnia, ser. 1, vol. 2, p. 459 Spcimen de usu observationum in mathesi pura, as quoted by George Pólya, Induction and Analogy in Mathematics Vol. 1, Mathematics and Plausible Reasoning (1954)
Contexto: It will seem a little paradoxical to ascribe a great importance to observations even in that part of the mathematical sciences which is usually called Pure Mathematics, since the current opinion is that observations are restricted to physical objects that make impression on the senses. As we must refer the numbers to the pure intellect alone, we can hardly understand how observations and quasi-experiments can be of use in investigating the nature of numbers. Yet, in fact, as I shall show here with very good reasons, the properties of the numbers known today have been mostly discovered by observation, and discovered long before their truth has been confirmed by rigid demonstrations. There are many properties of the numbers with which we are well acquainted, but which we are not yet able to prove; only observations have led us to their knowledge. Hence we see that in the theory of numbers, which is still very imperfect, we can place our highest hopes in observations; they will lead us continually to new properties which we shall endeavor to prove afterwards. The kind of knowledge which is supported only by observations and is not yet proved must be carefully distinguished from the truth; it is gained by induction, as we usually say. Yet we have seen cases in which mere induction led to error. Therefore, we should take great care not to accept as true such properties of the numbers which we have discovered by observation and which are supported by induction alone. Indeed, we should use such discovery as an opportunity to investigate more exactly the properties discovered and to prove or disprove them; in both cases we may learn something useful.

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„It is remarkable that this generalization of plane geometry to surface geometry is identical with that generalization of geometry which originated from the analysis of the axiom of parallels. …the construction of non-Euclidean geometries could have been equally well based upon the elimination of other axioms. It was perhaps due to an intuitive feeling for theoretical fruitfulness that the criticism always centered around the axiom of parallels. For in this way the axiomatic basis was created for that extension of geometry in which the metric appears as an independent variable. Once the significance of the metric as the characteristic feature of the plane has been recognized from the viewpoint of Gauss' plane theory, it is easy to point out, conversely, its connection with the axiom of parallels. The property of the straight line as being the shortest connection between two points can be transferred to curved surfaces, and leads to the concept of straightest line; on the surface of the sphere the great circles play the role of the shortest line of connection… analogous to that of the straight line on the plane. Yet while the great circles as "straight lines" share the most important property with those of the plane, they are distinct from the latter with respect to the axiom of the parallels: all great circles of the sphere intersect and therefore there are no parallels among these "straight lines". …If this idea is carried through, and all axioms are formulated on the understanding that by "straight lines" are meant the great circles of the sphere and by "plane" is meant the surface of the sphere, it turns out that this system of elements satisfies the system of axioms within two dimensions which is nearly identical in all of it statements with the axiomatic system of Euclidean geometry; the only exception is the formulation of the axiom of the parallels.“

—  Hans Reichenbach American philosopher 1891 - 1953

The geometry of the spherical surface can be viewed as the realization of a two-dimensional non-Euclidean geometry: the denial of the axiom of the parallels singles out that generalization of geometry which occurs in the transition from the plane to the curve surface.
The Philosophy of Space and Time (1928, tr. 1957)

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