Mathematics and the USSR: organising a discipline
This thesis aspires to establish a new research direction in STS. In the first chapter a literature review is conducted and the research questions are being formulated. The second chapter is devoted to presenting research findings from the archaeological, biological and brain sciences in a unified form. The various stone tool technologies are analysed, and a brief introduction follows into human evolution and the effects that artefacts had on it; then recent neurobiological research on the deeper relationships between consciousness, artefacts and the brain is presented. In the third chapter, after an introduction in the deeper neurological relationships between language and gestures, a gestural analysis of mathematical speech follows, based on visual data generated from an interview with a working mathematician; the last section examines recent research on gesture and mathematics as special cases of Roman Ingarden’s aesthetic theory. In the fourth chapter, four approaches to the social history of mathematics in the USSR are presented, based on data generated from interviews with former professional Soviet mathematicians. Following a Maussian approach, the Soviet mathematical community is presented as a gift economy of scientific articles. Then, in line with a Marxian approach, the Soviet university mathematical school is presented as a factory with its own mode of self-production. In the following section, based on a Parsonian systemic approach, the Soviet mathematical community is presented as a banking system, with the scientific journals as the banking institutions. In the next section of the fourth chapter, following a Weberian approach, the mathematical community in the USSR is presented as a social estate, as separate and distinct from other Soviet social estates. The final section integrates the previous approaches and presents the Soviet mathematics research community as a modern version of an ancient city-state. In the fifth chapter Hilbert spaces are briefly presented, as an example of the fictional universe of modern mathematics, along with some conjectured differences between Soviet and Western mathematics research. In the final chapter, the conclusions of this research project are summarised, and this thesis is presented as an instance of a proposed revised version of David Bloor’s Strong Programme.
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