The introduction of topology into analytic philosophy: two movements and a coda

Samuel C. Fletcher, Nathan Lackey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Both early analytic philosophy and the branch of mathematics now known as topology were gestated and born in the early part of the 20th century. It is not well recognized that there was early interaction between the communities practicing and developing these fields. We trace the history of how topological ideas entered into analytic philosophy through two migrations, an earlier one conceiving of topology geometrically and a later one conceiving of topology algebraically. This allows us to reassess the influence and significance of topological methods for philosophy, including the possible fruitfulness of a third conception of topology as a structure determining similarity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number197
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge support from the Office of the Vice President for Research, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.


  • Geometry
  • Logic
  • Similarity
  • Topology


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