Spatial Reasoning (Editorial)

Avi Kak

Abstract


A guest editorial describing the special issue on spatial reasoning: "We conceive of space as a completely empty, infinite, three-dimensional, isotropic, disembodied receptacle distinct from the earth or any object that might be located on the earth, one that is capable of housing not only things but also such incorporeal mathematical entities as points and infinite straight lines. Such a strange idea -especially if it were taken to describe something that exists in this world-was unthinkable before the seventeenth century; yet not even Galileo fully accepted the idea of such a world as real. For him, a "straight line" was still bound to the earth's surface. Not until Newton was the task of "geometrization of the world" ... completed. The transformation that led to the reification of geometry, though basically one of attitude and perception rather than of empirical observation, profoundly affected the course of science."

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1609/aimag.v9i2.673

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