Tagore – Einstein Conversations – What is the Problem of The Logic of Continuity?

Einstein Tagore | Courtesy of the Leo Baeck Institute

Tagore – Einstein Conversations

A critical evaluation

(Image Credits: Courtesy of the Leo Baeck Institute)

  • On The Nature Of Reality  – Chapter 1
  • On the nature of reality – Chapter 2
  • What is the Pythagorean argument?
  • What Is The Problem Of The Logic of Continuity?
  • On the nature of reality – Chapter 3
  • Looking from a different perspective
  • Truth is dependent or independent of human beings
  • On the nature of reality – Chapter 4

Previous | Tagore – Einstein Conversations – What is the Pythagorean Argument?

What Is The Problem Of The Logic of Continuity?

(Problem der Kontinuität)

 

What is continuity? The unbroken and consistent existence or operation of something over time.

This question might be related to the question “Is the space we live in continuous (as mathematically defined) or quantized?” but asking over the edge: Are we able to tell? As my understatement of all senses are discrete, as they are detectors based on electrical signals, I wonder if our representation of the world is a natural limit to understand continuity itself? Or posed in another way: can we explain or understand something, that we cannot experience?

Avoiding microphysics, let’s say that a wall is a continuous surface. Let’s also take for granted your suggestion that our senses are discrete, in that a neuron either fires or does not when stimulated by something like touching a wall.

Now, your problem is that a wall is continuous, while our experience of it is only ever a series of on-or-off neuron firings when we encounter it. Well, we continue sampling things, and then generalize from the samples to wholes. We see one side of a tomato from one angle and we make an “inductive inference” to there being a full tomato in front of me, with many sides, filling in what we have not experienced by reasoning that there is probably a full tomato there. Similarly, if you touch a wall at a number of different points, you might infer that it is continuous. It is an inductive inference (rather than deductive) because you might be wrong. You are concluding something that goes beyond the evidence you have.

So, we arrive at our next problem: when we claim that a wall is continuous, but have only ever experienced parts of it, do we know what that means? Well, this is a problem only if our understanding of continuity could only come through such experiences. But we can also understand it by thinking about Euclid’s definition of a line: a continuous series of points. We can understand that, without ever having any experiences at all. And we use that concept to make sense of the wall being continuous, even though we know about it just based on a few points.

So new arrive at a conclusion:

Pythagorean theorem is independent of human beings and he says that this is the problem of the logic of continuity. 

This means that the problem of logic shows that our experience about the wall is not continuous, which is not a matter of fact. It contains a series of lines and holes. So, here the truth is a non-continuous wall yet by premise we know it is a continuous wall. Through inductive reasoning we only that. However, through deductive reasoning (which is based on a general premise, like All men are mortal) we find that the wall is continuous.

The School of Athens by Raphael
The School of Athens by Raphael

 

In the above picture, we could see Plato and Aristotle. Plato is pointing his finger towards the Heavens and he is holding the book Timaeus, while Aristotle, a little bit younger, is holding his book Nicomachean Ethics.

The book Timaeus actually reveals in a summary about the creation of the Universe, the different elements of the universe and it tells that everything in the Universe is happening because of some reason and that reason is God, the demiurge.

Hence, using the eternal and perfect world of “forms” or ideals as a template, He set about creating our world, which formerly only existed in a state of disorder. The creator decided also to make the perceptible body of the universe by four elements. This is something analogous to what Einstein told.
On the other hand, Aristotle in his book Nicomachean Ethics. begins by saying that the highest good for humans, the highest aim of all human practical thinking, is eudaimonia, a Greek word often translated as well-being or happiness.

This is something that Tagore says. Tagore says that the nature of reality, the universe is in harmony with humanity. There cannot be any beauty that is devoid of humanity.

From this starting point, Aristotle goes into a discussion on ethics. Aristotelian Ethics is about what makes a virtuous character ενάρετο χαρακτήρα (enáretocharaktíra) possible, which is, in turn, necessary if happiness is to be possible.

Tagore says:

“Thus is your happiness with me
Therefore have you come down to see
Without me My Lord! High above
Futile would have been your love” – (5)

Tagore unites humanity with the supreme being, into beauty and happiness just as Aristotle did in his explanation of Nicomachean Ethics.

“Such is your love Oh Lord !!” –(6)

 

References:

  1. On The Nature Of Reality Part 2 | Sean B – Academia.edu

 

 

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