, Volume 125, Issue 3, pp 317-332

First online:

Mathematical Intuition Vs. Mathematical Monsters*

  • Solomon FefermanAffiliated withDepartment of Mathematics, Stanford University Stanford

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Geometrical and physical intuition, both untutored andcultivated, is ubiquitous in the research, teaching,and development of mathematics. A number ofmathematical ``monsters'', or pathological objects, havebeen produced which – according to somemathematicians – seriously challenge the reliability ofintuition. We examine several famous geometrical,topological and set-theoretical examples of suchmonsters in order to see to what extent, if at all,intuition is undermined in its everyday roles.