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The Emergence of the Fourth DimensionHigher Spatial Thinking in the Fin de Siècle$
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Mark Blacklock

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198755487

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198755487.001.0001

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Conditions of Emergence

Conditions of Emergence

Kant, Helmholtz, and Analogy

(p.14) 1 Conditions of Emergence
The Emergence of the Fourth Dimension

Mark Blacklock

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 describes the disparate conditions for the emergence of higher-dimensioned space as a cultural object. It gives an account of Immanuel Kant’s original work on space, and particularly his thoughts on the dimensionality of space, considering this formulation ‘foundational’ for the nineteenth-century novel. Reading scholarly discussion in British periodicals it identifies the persistent use of analogy as a rhetorical device for explaining the ideas of dimensionality. It identifies, too, the fact that geometry itself is a model of the more abstract form that is space, alerting us to a structural shift between domains early in the life cycle of the fourth dimension, as it leaves geometry—a domain of pure thought—to enter space, a phenomenon of the physical world. It also considers Henry More’s notion of ‘spissitude’, an earlier iteration of the fourth dimension.

Keywords:   Kant, dimensionality, analogy, spatial philosophy, Henry More, spissitude

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