Wednesday, March 24, 2010

In Defense of Science (Fiction): Mathematical Concepts in Philosophy

The use of modern scientific concepts in popular culture is often incongruent with the specific context in which they were developed. However, the adaptation of science and mathematical concepts in philosophy can, as we have seen in Deleuze's writings, be very helpful in both expanding the conceptual foundations of science/math as well as work towards moving the reader towards a different understanding of the phenomena that those concepts attempt to describe.

If the modern notions of space-time in popular culture suffer from a fundamental misunderstanding of the proper relationship between Newtonian models and relativistic models, it seems that it is important for philosophy texts to be able to honestly tackle the issue of destabilizing models of a fixed universe from its reader's understanding. This is where the value of Deleuze's writings seem to have a potentially positive impact on the public understanding of modern science. These philosophical discussions should never replace scientific discourse, but they do seem to have their place in enabling a certain mental internalization of difficult and complex models that are perhaps never to be individually experienced by our limited senses.

Deleuze seems to allow us to internalize some of these complex ideas especially well in the area of geometry in his continued attempts to displace a Cartesian frame of existence with a fluid and interrelated plane upon which we would live as nomads. Throughout his writings he speaks of rate, change, vectors, manifolds, and heterogeneous planes. Could this not be a deeply abstract way of clearing our minds in such a way as to be more receptive to the seemingly esoteric developments of modern science?

Bernard Cache takes on the project of explicating the conceptual distinction between a geographic and architectural space in dynamic versus static terms. For Cache, geography and geometry are not merely static coordinates, but "frames of probability" in which possibility can exist (Cache 23-30).

In this sense art and architecture can allow for the experience of abstract concepts that are present in modern science and math. It seems that Delueze would ideally want his three realms of science, art, and philosophy to work to reinforce, challenge, and produce together as opposed to sand boxing themselves apart. What is so crazy about using a microscope to crack a nut? Maybe that nut was always a little to hard to crack without it.


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