The Organisation of Knowledge


    DR. HOFFMAN'S charge against the mathematicians was not that they lack imagination but that they set before them as the ideal of their science the getting rid of it. The quotation from Prof. Whitehead, who certainly is not lacking in that faculty, makes the meaning clear. There is, however, a drawback in our language in the fact that we use the same word for imagination when we mean æsthetic creation, what the Italians call fantasia, as we do when we mean the anticipation which is pure reproduction, what the Italians call immaginazione. It is of course the æsthetic creation the mathematician aims at dispensing with in order to preserve the purely logical character of his ideas. Even Kant represented it as a kind of handicap that mathematical concepts should require sensuous intuition for their expression.

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    The Organisation of Knowledge. Nature 109, 716 (1922).

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