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The Constructed Objectivity of Mathematics and the Cognitive Subject
, 2001
"... Introduction This essay concerns the nature and the foundation of mathematical knowledge, broadly construed. The main idea is that mathematics is a human construction, but a very peculiar one, as it is grounded on forms of "invariance" and "conceptual stability" that single out the mathematical con ..."
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Introduction This essay concerns the nature and the foundation of mathematical knowledge, broadly construed. The main idea is that mathematics is a human construction, but a very peculiar one, as it is grounded on forms of "invariance" and "conceptual stability" that single out the mathematical conceptualization from any other form of knowledge, and give unity to it. Yet, this very conceptualization is deeply rooted in our "acts of experience", as Weyl says, beginning with our presence in the world, first in space and time as living beings, up to the most complex attempts we make by language to give an account of it. I will try to sketch the origin of some key steps in organizing perception and knowledge by "mathematical tools", as mathematics is one of the many practical and conceptual instruments by which we categorize, organise and "give a structure" to the world. It is conceived on the "interface" between us and the world, or, to put it in husserlian terminology, it is "de
Mathematics and the Biological Phenomena
"... The first part of this paper highlights some key aspects of the differences in the use of mathematical tools in physics and in biology. Scientific knowledge is viewed as a network of interactions, more than as a hierachically organized structure where mathematics would display the essence of phenome ..."
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The first part of this paper highlights some key aspects of the differences in the use of mathematical tools in physics and in biology. Scientific knowledge is viewed as a network of interactions, more than as a hierachically organized structure where mathematics would display the essence of phenomena. The concept of "unity" in the biological phenomenon is then discussed. In the second part, a foundational issue in mathematics is revisited, following recent perspectives in the physiology of action. The relevance of the historical formation of mathematical concepts is also emphasized. Part I: Reflections on Mathematics in Biology Introduction: hierarchies of disciplines. When hearing biologists about working methods in their discipline, one may often appreciate traces of the emotions of a scientific experience of great 1 In Proceedings of the International Symposium on Foundations in Mathematics and Biology: Problems, Prospects, Interactions, Invited lecture, Pontifical Lateran Univer...