Symposium on Philosophy of Geometry

You are cordially invited to the Department of Philosophy’s symposium on topics within Philosophy of Geometry. Monday May 2nd 2016, 5:00pm-7:00pm in LA1-304. (Here is a flyer for the event.)

5:00pm     Nathan Lackey (CSU Long Beach), ‘Interpreting geometry through physics’

Abstract: Current interpretations of geometric knowledge are supported by the successes of general relativity and the assumptions about the geometry that this theory requires. Using a version of the pessimistic meta-induction, I will cast doubt on this interpretation by drawing a comparison between the predominant philosophy of geometry prior to the 20th century and the revised positions popular after the widespread acceptance of general relativity. My goal is to show that geometry remains a purely theoretical aspect of physics despite the empirical success of general relativity and to point the way to an agnosticism about geometric knowledge.

5:30pm     Prof. John Mumma (CSU San Bernardino), ‘Intuitions, axioms, and Euclid’s diagrammatic proof method’

Abstract: The proofs of elementary geometry are commonly described as intuitive. By standard logical analyses, this is a consequence of the intuitive character of the axioms of the subject. Accordingly, once these intuitive axioms are laid down, logic takes over and intuition disappears in the proof of geometric theorems. In my talk I present an alternative formal analysis whereby intuition can be understood to play a role in the reasoning that establishes geometric theorems.