
Simon Saunders
Philosophy, Oxford University
What is it for a hand to be a left hand rather than a right hand?  can it
be put into words? Is there a distinct mathematical concept here? Simple
as the question is, it tormented one of the greatest philosophers of the
modern period, Immanuel Kant, and precipitated his rejection of Leibniz's
metaphysics (his "critical turn"). Strangely, it is still relevant today,
and not only to philosophers: given parity violation of the weak
interaction (the reason the universe is lefthanded!), the equations
concerned must single out one sort of handed process, rather than the
other. How? Mathematicians typically deny that "lefthanded" is a
mathematical concept: the mystery deepens. Is Kant's solution still
germane today? Is "lefthanded" a concept that cannot be expressed, that
can only be shown?
For more information about Simon Saunders, visit his
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