September: Lecture 5

Space Is The Place

Josh Howie

Journey into the fourth dimension and beyond! There we will meet the objects of topology, where distance and angle are meaningless, yet there is still a rich mathematical theory of shape. But how and where do these objects exist, and what is the difference between mathematical reality and physical reality? There will be lots of pictures, hyperbolic ranting, a demonstration of the classic topological magic trick of turning a coffee cup into a doughnut, and an attempt to reconcile philosophy of mathematics with the actual experience of the working mathematician. And someone is bound to ask, but yes! topology is useful for something, so as an application, we will discuss the open question of finding the shape of the universe.

The Magical Powers of Language

Bernard Wojcik

Could god create a stone that he couldn’t lift? Philosophy has struggled with many apparently strange problems. As someone once said sometime somewhere- no view is so strange that a philosopher hasn’t held it to be true at some point. I will be demostrating a way to resolve some traditional problems in philosophy by analysis of the medium through which these problems are presented: language. On the way I will prove to you that god exists, that there are numbers which cannot be measured and that there are different sizes of infinity- all of these to show you the both the powers and limits of language.

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