This is just a quick shout-out to my friend and colleague, Ronny Desmet, for putting together the papers that were presented at the 2015 International Whitehead conference in the new book, Intuition in Mathematics and Physics: A Whiteheadian Approach, in which yours truly is a contributor.
The articles within are from Section IV, Track 2 of the conference. The table of contents is not yet available at Amazon, so the contributions are as follows:
- Integral Philosophy – An Essay on Speculative Philosophy – Ronald Preston Phipps
- Reflection on Intuition, Physics, and Speculative Philosophy – Timothy E. Eastman
- Whitehead on Intuition – Implications for Science and Civilization – Farzad Mahootian
- Whitehead’s Notion of Intuitive Recognition – Ronny Desmet
- The Beauty of the Two-Color Sphere Problem – Ronny Desmet
- The Complementary Faces of Mathematical Beauty – Jean Paul van Bendegam and Ronny Desmet
- Creating a New Mathematics – Aran Gare
- Whitehead, Intuition, and Radical Empiricism – Gary Herstein
- What Does a Particle Know? Information and Entaglement – Robert J. Valenza
- A Neurobiological Basis of Intuition – Jesse Bettinger
There’s a false dichotomy which supposedly stands between aesthetics and analysis. But art and emotion do not stand in opposition to logic and reason. This nonsense is, in many ways, the bastard offspring of the “two cultures” story we’ve inherited since before C. P. Snow gave it a name, and which we’ve variously integrated into our teaching programs for almost all levels of education. Back in the “good old days” of classical education (by which I mean the ancient Greeks) mathematics and music were treated as much the same thing. Even today, we have not quite lost all sight of those connections, and if one takes the time to listen to mathematicians, one will notice that the issues of whether a proof or a theorem is beautiful or not takes on primary importance.
Careful, meticulous reasoning is not cold; quite the contrary, it is a fire that will consume you without mercy. I’ve touched on the idea of mathematics and the beautiful before, but wish to revisit the idea again because it can bear the company, even in this Thanksgiving season. This time around, however, I wish to approach matters from a more “musical” perspective that specifically highlights some ideas around “rhythm.” I mean to tackle these ideas from what I take to be a very Whiteheadian point of view. Whitehead was, of course, an accomplished mathematician and educator, and well attuned to the subtleties of mathematical aesthetics. But as he began to worry about the philosophical underpinnings of our physical sciences, his inquiries began to lead him from issues of organization (of thought) to organism itself. Rhythm became one of Whitehead’s central concepts. Continue reading