University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > CamPoS (Cambridge Philosophy of Science) seminar > Gestalt switches in the prize paper: inspiration for, but not an instance of, chaos

Gestalt switches in the prize paper: inspiration for, but not an instance of, chaos

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I analyse in detail the construction of asymptotic surfaces in §§16-19 of Poincare (1890), also known as the prize paper. There are two prime reasons for doing so. Firstly, this part of the prize paper contains an interesting argumentative strategy, which I call Poincare’s gestalt switch. Secondly, it has been claimed that the prize paper contains one of the first descriptions of chaotic motion. I will argue that the latter claim is false, although both the gestalt switches and the graphical representation which Poincare (1890) chose for the asymptotic surfaces might well have provided the inspiration for later works in chaos theory.

This talk is part of the CamPoS (Cambridge Philosophy of Science) seminar series.

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