Mathematical and Physical Continuity

Mark Colyvan, Kenny Easwaran

Abstract


There is general agreement in mathematics about what continuity is. In this paper we examine how well the mathematical definition lines up with common sense notions. We use a recent paper by Hud Hudson as a point of departure. Hudson argues that two objects moving continuously can coincide for all but the last moment of their histories and yet be separated in space at the end of this last moment. It turns out that Hudson’s construction does not deliver mathematically continuous motion, but the natural question then is whether there is any merit in the alternative definition of continuity that he implicitly invokes.

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