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[This paper attempts to analyze the philosophical connections that PoincaréPoincaré established between the domains of physics and mathematics, both explicitly in his philosophical work, and implicitly in his original solutions in mathematics. Particular emphasis will be placed on the signs of coherence or incoherence between what is explicit and what is implicit, that is, between his thought in general and his scientific practicescientific practice. In Poincaré’s early work on the groupgroup-theoretical approach to differential equationsdifferential equations, we see the beginnings of an original way of connecting geometrygeometry with physics. Similarly, in his attack on the three-body problemthree-body problem in celestial mechanicscelestial mechanics, and his study of the stability of the solar system, we see a geometrical approach replacing the analytical one. His group-theoretic approach to geometry later became the basis for his approach to the “dynamics of the electron” between 1904 and 1906, an important part of the history of relativity theory. These are examples of the ways in which, according to Poincaré, “l’esprit mathématique” leads to the “true, profound analogies,” that is, the deep structural forms, at the foundations of our physical theories. The understanding of these connections in practice will illuminate Poincaré’s philosophical view of the connection between mathematics and physics. But we can say that, on the other hand, Poincaré’s philosophical views also influenced his scientific work.]
Published: Mar 12, 2014
Keywords: Lorentz Transformation; Lorentz Group; Group Group; Philosophical Thought; Mathematical Unity
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