Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Zeeman conducts: Mathematics & Human Action. Inner Circle Seminar 169 (6 November 2011)

Mathematics and Human Action

Professor Sir Christopher Zeeman FRS
Portrait by Peter Edwards 2007
‘Reducing the arbitrariness of the metaphor’ in the human sciences

Professor Sir Christopher Zeeman FRS
Inner Circle Seminar No. 169
introduced by
Anthony Stadlen
Sunday 6 November 2011

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Professor Sir Christopher Zeeman FRS is one of the world’s greatest mathematicians. He spun knots in 4 dimensions, unknotted spheres in 5 dimensions, proved the Poincaré Conjecture in 5 dimensions, and derived special relativity from causality. He also applied René Thom’s catastrophe theory to human activities: ideologies, committee behaviour, economics, drama, and psychotherapy of ‘anorexia nervosa’. Today, he will show how this creative use of mathematics to clarify the ‘human sciences’, including psychotherapy, ‘reduces the arbitrariness of the metaphor’ (Thom), while the pseudo-scientific use of mathematics obscures, mystifies, and compounds arbitrariness. Lacanian analysts will have the opportunity to hear this great topologist’s evaluation of the applications of topology by Lacan. Sir Christopher is renowned as a great teacher, who explains deep mathematical concepts simply to those who thought they would never understand them. Your contribution to the dialogue will be welcome.

Venue: Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ (http://www.durrantshotel.co.uk/)
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees and mathematics students £50, others £135, some bursaries; mineral water and liquorice allsorts included; payable in advance; no refunds unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra Avenue, London N22 7XE
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8888 6857 E-mail: stadlen@aol.com
For further information on seminars, visit:
The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools and colleges.

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