Points & lines, skepticism & infinity in the brain: a physical answer to ancient questions

Tozzi A, Peters JF.  Points and lines inside our brains.  Cognitive Neurodynamics.  DOI: 10.1007/s11571-019-09539-8. 

Starting from the tenets of human imagination, i.e., the concepts of lines, points and infinity, we provide a biological demonstration that the skeptical claim ‘‘human beings cannot attain knowledge of the world’’ holds true. We show that the Euclidean account of the point as ‘‘that of which there is no part’’ is just a conceptual device produced by our brain, untenable in our physical/biological realm: currently used terms like ‘‘lines, surfaces and volumes’’ label non-existent, arbitrary properties. We elucidate the psychological and neuroscientific features hardwired in our brain that lead us humans to think to points and lines as truly occurring in our environment. Therefore, our current scientific descriptions of objects’ shapes, graphs and biological trajectories in phase spaces need to be revisited, leading to a proper portrayal of the real world’s events: miniscule bounded physical surface regions stand for the basic objects in a traversal of spacetime, instead of the usual Euclidean points. Our account makes it possible to erase of a painstaking problem that causes many theories to break down and/or being incapable of describing extreme events: the unwanted occurrence of infinite values in equations. We propose a novel approach, based on point-free geometrical standpoints, that banishes infinitesimals, leads to a tenable physical/biological geometry compatible with human reasoning and provides a region-based topological account of the power laws endowed in nervous activities. We conclude that points, lines, volumes and infinity do not describe the world, rather they are fictions introduced by ancient surveyors of land surfacesPDF



“The same”: the principle of identity reloaded

Tozzi A, Peters JF. 2018.  What it is like to be “the same”? Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology.  133, 30-35.

A unifying principle underlies the organization of physical and biological systems. It relates to a well-known topological theorem which succinctly states that an activity on a planar circumference projects to two activities with “matching description” into a sphere. Here we ask: what does “matching description” mean?  Has it something to do with “identity”? Going through different formulations of the principle of identity, we describe diverse possible meanings of the term “matching description”.  We demonstrate that the concepts of “sameness”, “equality”, “belonging together” stand for intertwined levels with mutual interactions. By showing that “matching” description is a very general and malleable concept, we provide a novel testable approach to “identity” that yields helpful insights into physical and biological matters. Indeed, we illustrate how a novel mathematical approach derived from the Borsuk-Ulam theorem, termed bio-BUT, might explain the astonishing biological “multiplicity from identity” of evolving living beings as well as their biochemical arrangements.   PDF


How to solve decision limit problems... with holes

Tozzi A, Peters JF.  2019.  Topological Assessment of Unidentified Moving Objects. Preprints, 2019020160

<span lang="EN-US" style="font-size:10.0pt; font-family:" times="" new="" roman","serif";times="" roman";="" "="">Tozzi A, Peters JF.  2020 Removing uncertainty in neural networks. Cognitive Neurodynamics.


Starting from unidentified objects moving inside a two-dimensional Euclidean manifold, we propose a method to detect the topological changes that occur during their reciprocal interactions and shape morphing.  This method, which allows the detection of topological holes development and disappearance, makes it possible to solve the uncertainty due to disconnectedness, lack of information and absence of objects’ sharp boundaries, i.e., the three troubling issues which prevent scientists to select the required proper sets/subsets during their experimental assessment of natural and artificial dynamical phenomena, such as fire propagation, wireless sensor networks, migration flows, neural networks’ and cosmic bodies’ analysis.   PDF


Deformation is not a topological invariant: a critique to topology

Tozzi A.  2019.  Is shape deformation a topological invariant? (electronic response to: Kawabata K, Higashikawa S, Gong Z, Ashida Y, Ueda M.  2019. Topological unification of time-reversal and particle-hole symmetries in non-Hermitian physics.   Nature Communications 10: 297). 

It is well-known that topology deals with the properties of space preserved under continuous deformations, such as stretching, twisting, bending and so on.  This means that two shapes of genus zero (or one, or two, and so on) are topologically invariant under homeomorphisms, i.e., they share matching topological description. Here we ask: is this tenet true?Take a positive-curvature active surface, such as a spherical soap bubble.   Due to the Borsuk-Ulam theorem, the bubble’s surface displays at least two antipodal points with the same description (e.g., two antipodal points with the same value of surface tension, the latter standing for a continuous function on the 2D surface of the 3D bubble).  When a spontaneous or a mechanical stress (e.g., an internal or external force, or a torque) is applied within and onto the surface, the subsequent instability leads to the production of a deformed bubble.  The formation of this bubble’s nontrivial surface shape leads to the loss of the above-mentioned antipodal points with matching description.  Therefore, once a spherical manifold’s curvature is modified, an algebraic topological feature gets lost, i.e., the two antipodal points with matching description.  


Pairwise comparison and the infinity problem

Koczkodaj WW, Magnot J-P, Mazurek J, Peters JF, Rakhshani H, Soltys M, Strzałka D, Szybowski J, Tozzi A.  2017.  On normalization of inconsistency indicators in pairwise comparisons.  International Journal of Approximate Reasoning.86, 73–79.

In this study, we provide mathematical and practice-driven justification for using [0, 1] normalization of inconsistency indicators in pairwise comparisons. The need for normalization, as well as problems with the lack of normalization, is presented. A new type of paradox of infinity is described.  PDF16 Kolkodz - pairwise comparison.pdf (303,7 kB)


Debunking Poppers’s falsifiability

Tozzi A.  2019.  The myth of falsifiability in the assessment of scientific theories.  (electronic response to: Bellmund JLS, Gärdenfors P, Moser1EI, Doeller CF.  2018.  Navigating cognition: Spatial codes for human thinking.  Science,  362(6415):eaat6766.  DOI: 10.1126/science.aat6766. 

It has been stated that "a founding principle in science is the ability to falsify your theory". This logical, Popperian tenet, dating back to the first half of the 20th Century, has been fully discarded, in particular by Lakatos, and then by Sokal, Bartley III, and so on.  A scientific theory does not need to be falsifiable, rather simply requires experimentally testable, quantifiable previsions that must be treated with statistic methods to evaluate their probability.  To give an example related to the scientific (not philosophical!) theory of the multidimensional brain, the "geometric codes that map information domains" can be tested by looking at the required hidden symmetries, possibly endowed in the real neurodata provided by currently-available techniques, such as EEG, fMRI.


Novel versions of the Borsuk-Ulam theorem

Borsuk-Ulam theorem on concave manifolds: Tozzi A. 2016.  Borsuk-Ulam Theorem Extended to Hyperbolic Spaces.  In Computational Proximity. Excursions in the Topology of Digital Images, edited by J F Peters, 169–171. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-30262-1.    PDF


Re-BUT: Peters JF, Tozzi A. 2016.  Region-Based Borsuk-Ulam Theorem.  arXiv.1605.02987. 

This paper introduces a region-based extension of the Borsuk-Ulam Theorem (denoted by reBUT). A region is a subset of a surface on a finite-dimensional n-sphere. In topology, an n-sphere is a generalization of the circle. For a continuous function on an n-sphere into n-dimensional Euclidean space, there exists a pair of antipodal n-sphere regions with matching descriptions that map into Euclidean space Rn. The main results include a number of different region-based forms of the classical Borsuk-Ulam Theorem as well as the Straecker digital Borsuk-Ulam Theorem and the Burak-Karaca digital Borsuk-Ulam Theorem. Applications of reBUT are given in the evaluation of brain activity and quantum entanglement.


String-BUT: Peters JF, Tozzi A.  2016.  String-Based Borsuk-Ulam Theorem. arXiv:1606.04031.  

This paper introduces a string-based extension of the Borsuk-Ulam Theorem (denoted by strBUT). A string is a region with zero width and either bounded or unbounded length on the surface of an n-sphere or a region of a normed linear space. In this work, an n-sphere surface is covered by a collection of strings. For a strongly proximal continuous function on an n-sphere into n-dimensional Euclidean space, there exists a pair of antipodal n-sphere strings with matching descriptions that map into Euclidean space Rn. Each region M of a string-covered n-sphere is a worldsheet (denoted by wshM). For a strongly proximal continuous mapping from a worldsheet covered n-sphere to Rn, strongly near antipodal worldsheets map into the same region in Rn. An application of strBUT is given in terms of the evaluation of Electroencephalography (EEG) patterns.




In order to avoid the inconsistencies that undermine the (otherwise good) legitimacy of scientific claims and to make them as accurate as possible, here we provide a few suggestions concerning the very structure of scientific propositions.