Knots in the Fourth Dimension: Mathematics, Spiritualism and Society in Post-Reform Russia
Author: Mannherz, Julia
Source: Cultural and Social History, 1 March 2011, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 31-49(19)
Abstract:The article analyses a debate that preoccupied the Russian press in the winter of 1878/9. Writers, journalists and scientists discussed whether mathematics could explain spiritualist séance phenomena. At its core, this was an assessment of social change and a debate about the ambiguity of modern life. While spiritualists hoped to bridge the divide between science and religion, subjectivity and objectivity, their opponents feared that séance phenomena and modern mathematics undermined a rationalist world-view that was endowed with reliability and universal truth. That no agreement could be reached indicates that the post-reform public sphere had become truly pluralist and modern.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Oriel College, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX1 4EW, UK;, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org