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Abstraction and Intuition in Peano's Axiomatizations of Geometry

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Abstract:

Peano's axiomatizations of geometry are abstract and non-intuitive in character, whereas Peano stresses his appeal to concrete spatial intuition in the choice of the axioms. This poses the problem of understanding the interrelationship between abstraction and intuition in his geometrical works. In this article I argue that axiomatization is, for Peano, a methodology to restructure geometry and isolate its organizing principles. The restructuring produces a more abstract presentation of geometry, which does not contradict its intuitive content but only puts it into a particular form.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01445340903250489

Affiliations: School of Philosophy, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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