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Title: William Kingdon Clifford: An unconventional mind
Contributor(s): Gilbody, Robert (author); Forrest, Peter (supervisor); Blinov, Arcady (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2015
Copyright Date: 2014
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: This thesis seeks to show that the recorded thought of William Kingdon Clifford in the third quarter of the 19th C was not only relevant to scientific advancement but removed absolute certainty from any posited model of reality. The period during which Clifford worked was a turning point in humanity's understanding of the world. The two most significant developments of his time that Clifford used in his speculative metaphysic were the possibility of non-Euclidean geometries being abstract as opposed to abstruse, and the evolutionary theory of Darwin. Clifford was foremost a geometer. However he had an insatiable desire to understand his world, which led to him becoming fluent in several languages, applying his geometrical skills to contemporary unsolved problems of physics, involving himself in speculative metaphysics. Clifford is recognised as being a highly gifted geometer. His thought was taken up by John Archibald Wheeler in the mid 20th C. Likewise Ernst Mach recognised the thought of Clifford. Although the thesis involves mathematics I make no claim to being a mathematician. It is Clifford's speculative metaphysic and how it relates to our understanding of consciousness and the nature of languages both formal and natural that is my particular interest. Because of this I explore the relationship between Clifford, Gottlob Frege and Ludwig Wittgenstein in most detail. However the understanding of the world must take into consideration the world in its entirety.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Field of Research Codes: 220399 Philosophy not elsewhere classified
Rights Statement: Copyright 2014 - Robert Gilbody
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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