The Continuous and the Discrete: Ancient Physical Theories from a Contemporary Perspective

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byMichael J. White

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The Continuous and the Discrete presents a detailed analysis of three ancient models of spatial magnitude, time, and local motion.Professor White connects the Aristotelian model, which represents spatial magnitude, time, and motion as infinitely divisible and continuous, with the standard ancient geometrical conception of extended magnitude: it is a model which represents the marriage of physical theory and mathematicalorthodoxy. In the second half of the book the author discusses two ancient alternatives to the Aristotelian model: `quantum' models, and a Stoic model according to which limit entities such as points, (one-dimensional) edges, and (two-dimensional) surfaces do not exist in (physical) reality. Boththese alternative models deny the applicability of standard `Euclidean' ancient geometry to the physical world. A unique feature of the book is the discussion of these ancient models within the context of later philosophical, scientific, and mathematical developments. A basic assumption of theauthor's approach is that such a contemporary perspective can deepen our understanding not only of ancient philosophy, physics, and mathematics, but also of later developments in the content and methodology of these disciplines.

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The Continuous and the Discrete presents a detailed analysis of three ancient models of spatial magnitude, time, and local motion.Professor White connects the Aristotelian model, which represents spatial magnitude, time, and motion as infinitely divisible and continuous, with the standard ancient geometrical conception of extended magn...

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The Continuous and the Discrete presents a detailed analysis of three ancient models of spatial magnitude, time, and local motion. Professor White connects the Aristotelian model, which represents spatial magnitude, time, and motion as infinitely divisible and continuous, with the standard ancient geometrical conception of extended mag...

Michael J. White is a Professor of Philosophy at Arizona State University, Tempe.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:360 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 1.02 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198239521

ISBN - 13:9780198239529

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'His discussion reveals the conceptual assumptions underlying each position, and his conjectures ... are thought-provoking.'S. Leggatt, University of Reading, The Classical Review, Vol. XLIII, No. 2, 1993