“Mathematical mysticism”. The idea of the fourth dimension in European thought at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries Cover Image

„Mistycyzm matematyczny”. Idea czwartego wymiaru w myśli europejskiej przełomu XIX i XX wieku
“Mathematical mysticism”. The idea of the fourth dimension in European thought at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries

Author(s): Piotr Koprowski
Subject(s): Fine Arts / Performing Arts, Recent History (1900 till today), Philosophy of Science
Published by: Warszawska Prowincja Redemptorystów
Keywords: idea of the fourth dimension; hyperspace; Euclidian geometry; perspective; non-Euclidean geometry; mathematical mysticism; multidimensionality of space;

Summary/Abstract: The article presents a few comments on the origin of interest in Europe in the so-called fourth dimension and the way of presenting its phenomenon in European thought at the turn of the 19th and 20th century. The turn of the 19th and 20th centuries is in Europe (and in the United States) the time of the greatest popularity of the idea of the fourth dimension, i.e. a kind of hyperspace. The authors of many scholarly, popularizing and literary works, as well as artists, philosophers and theologians asked the question: is it possible to see and present the fourth dimension of space, and give them answers. The epiphany experience of admiration for this novelty was combined with the conviction of the possibility of solving – with the help of mathematics tools – various “mysteries of existence”. From about 1915 to the description of space, the notion of time began to be added more and more often. There has been a peculiar blurring of the difference between the fourth dimension of space and time as the fourth dimension. Albert Einstein’s concepts contributed to changing the perception of the fourth dimension. Until now, the fourth dimension was the deepening of space, the total spread, but it had no connection with the determination of time. The model of Einstein’s inseparable space-time space has changed the center of gravity. It turned out that the fourth dimension is nothing but the identification of the object and subject, time and space, matter and energy. These parallelities of the physical continuum, for the scientist being a hypothesis, are realized in the “miracle” of art.

  • Issue Year: 2018
  • Issue No: 16
  • Page Range: 115-124
  • Page Count: 10
  • Language: Polish