Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Thinking Allegory Otherwise$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Brenda Machosky

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804763806

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804763806.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use.date: 20 February 2020

Allegory and Science

Allegory and Science

From Euclid to the Search for Fundamental Structures in Modern Physics

(p.249) Eleven Allegory and Science
Thinking Allegory Otherwise

James J. Paxson

Stanford University Press

In his 1993 study of Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz's monadology and baroque aesthetics entitled The Fold, Gilles Deleuze argues that mathematics is the inscription of the literal, indeed, that mathematics—and science—are the literal. For Deleuze, science should not be taken as a discourse or system of semiosis in which the relationships of representation could be corrupted and threatened by figurality. This sort of figurality is what constitutes allegory, which seems to be the discourse that would be most threatening to science. This chapter insists that most of the advancements in mathematical thinking, including physics, are linked to an implicit allegorical structure. By acknowledging the role of allegory in scientific discourse instead of seeing it as a “threat” to a scientific way of thinking, the chapter contends that it is possible to gain a better understanding of modern science. It also claims that science itself will benefit by allowing for and realizing the presence of allegory in its theories and its evolution. In presenting its arguments, the chapter uses the geometry of Euclid as an example.

Keywords:   allegory, science, physics, geometry, Euclid, figurality, mathematics, Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, Gilles Deleuze

Stanford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.