Thursday, February 17, 2011


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 4:16 PM

"These passages suggest that the Form is a character or set of characters
common to a number of things, i.e. the feature in reality which corresponds
to a general word. But Plato also uses language which suggests not only
that the forms exist separately (χωριστά ) from all the particulars, but also
that each form is a peculiarly accurate or good particular of its own kind,
i.e. the standard particular of the kind in question or the model (παράδειγμα )
[i.e. paradigm ] to which other particulars approximate….

… Both in the Republic  and in the Sophist  there is a strong suggestion
that correct thinking is following out the connexions between Forms.
The model is mathematical thinking, e.g. the proof given in the Meno
that the square on the diagonal is double the original square in area."

— William and Martha Kneale, The Development of Logic,
Oxford University Press paperback, 1985

Plato's paradigm in the Meno


Changed paradigm in the diamond theorem (2×2 case) —


Aspects of the paradigm change* —

Monochrome figures to
colored figures

Areas to

Continuous transformations to
non-continuous transformations

Euclidean geometry to
finite geometry

Euclidean quantities to
finite fields

Some pedagogues may find handling all of these
conceptual changes simultaneously somewhat difficult.

* "Paradigm shift " is a phrase that, as John Baez has rightly pointed out,
should be used with caution. The related phrase here was suggested by Plato's
term παράδειγμα  above, along with the commentators' specific reference to
the Meno  figure that serves as a model. (For "model" in a different sense,
see Burkard Polster.) But note that Baez's own beloved category theory
has been called a paradigm shift.

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