A novel methodology (with examples): investigating objects from outside. 

Tozzi A.  2022.  To Know them, Remove their Information: An Outer Methodological Approach to Biophysics and Humanities. Philosophia.    


 Set theory faces two difficulties: formal definitions of sets/subsets are incapable of assessing biophysical issues; formal axiomatic systems are complete/inconsistent or incomplete/consistent, due to the Godel’s theorems. To overtake these problems reminiscent of the old-fashioned principle of individuation, we provide formal treatment/validation/operationalization of a methodological weapon termed “outer approach” (OA). The observer’s attention shifts from the system under evaluation to its surroundings, so that objects are investigated from outside. Subsets become just “holes” devoid of information inside larger sets. Sets are no longer passive containers, rather active structures enabling their content’s examination. Consequences/applications of OA include: a) operationalization of paraconsistent logics, anticipated by unexpected forerunners such as Nicholas od Autrecourt and Richard Avenarius, in terms of advanced truth theories of natural language, anthropic principle and quantum dynamics; b) assessment of Hirschsprung’s disease and embryonic craniocaudal migration in terms of Turing’s spots; c) evaluation of hominids’ social behaviors in terms of evolutionary modifications of facial expression’s musculature; d) treatment of cortical action potentials in terms of collective movements of extracellular currents, leaving apart what happens inside the neurons; e) a critique of Shannon’s information in terms of the Arabic thinkers’ active/potential intellect; f) novel interpretation of medical issues such as the use of oral propranolol in infantile hemangioma. Also, OA provides an outer view of a) humanistic issues such as the enigmatic Celestino of Verona’s letter, Dante Alighieri’s Vth Chant of “Hell” and the puzzling Voynich manuscript; b) historical issues such as Aldo Moro’s death and the Liston/Clay boxing fight. Summarizing, the safest methodology to quantify phenomena is to remove them from our observation and tackle an outer view, since mathematical/logical issues such as selective information deletion and set complement rescue incompleteness/inconsistency of biophysical systems.


This paper collects articles about various topics:

Muscles of facial expression in extinct species of the genus Homo.

Turing spots and Hirschsprung Disease: an unusual theoretical relationship.

Extracellular flows in the brain.

The 1599 letter by Giordano Bruno’s accuser, Celestino of Verona: all is not as it seems.

Dante Aligheri’s “amor, ch’a nullo amato…”: an “ex nihilo” account of “a nullo”.

The mysteries of the Voynich manuscript.

Aldo Moro’s death: new insights. 





Against the Ockham's razor.  The Multiple before the One: what if Alain Badiou was right ? 

Tozzi, A. Why Should Natural Principles Be Simple?. Philosophia (2021).


One of the criteria to a strong principle in natural sciences is simplicity. The conventional view holds that the world is provided with natural laws that must be simple. This common-sense approach is a modern rewording of the medieval philosophical/theological concept of the Multiple arising from (and generated by) the One. Humans need to pursue unifying frameworks, classificatory criteria and theories of everything. Still, the fact that our cognitive abilities tend towards simplification and groupings does not necessarily entail that this is the way the world works. Here we ask: what if singularity does not pave the way to multiplicity? How will we be sure if the Ockham’s razor holds in real life? We will show in the sequel that the propensity to reduce to simplicity the relationships among the events leads to misleading interpretations of scientific issues. We are not going to take a full sceptic turn: we will engage in active outreach, suggesting examples from biology and physics to demonstrate how a novel methodological antiunitary approach might help to improve our scientific attitude towards world affairs. We will provide examples from aggregation of SARS-Cov-2 particles, unclassified extinct creatures, pathological brain stiffness. Further, we will describe how antiunitary strategies, plagiarising medieval concepts from William od Ockham and Gregory of Rimini, help to explain novel relational approaches to quantum mechanics and the epistemological role of our mind in building the real world.    







Not just 1 and 0 in logic: historical survey and future scientific developments, including globular sets in neuroscience.  

Tozzi A.  2022.  Bipolar reasoning in feedback pathways. Biosystems.  Volumes 215–216, June 2022, 104652 


Instead of the conventional 0 and 1 values, bipolar reasoning uses −1, 0, +1 to describe double-sided judgements in which neutral elements are halfway between positive and negative evaluations (e.g., “uncertain” lies between “impossible” and “totally sure”). We discuss the state-of-the-art in bipolar logics and recall two medieval forerunners, i.e., William of Ockham and Nicholas of Autrecourt, who embodied a bipolar mode of thought that is eminently modern. Starting from the trivial observation that “once a wheat sheaf is sealed and tied up, the packed down straws display the same orientation”, we work up a new theory of the bipolar nature of networks, suggesting that orthodromic (i.e., feedforward, bottom-up) projections might be functionally coupled with antidromic (i.e., feedback, top-down) projections via the mathematical apparatus of presheaves/globular sets. When an entrained oscillation such as a neuronal spike propagates from A to B, changes in B might lead to changes in A, providing unexpected antidromic effects. Our account points towards the methodological feasibility of novel neural networks in which message feedback is guaranteed by backpropagation mechanisms endowed in the same feedforward circuits. Bottom-up/top-down transmission at various coarse-grained network levels provides fresh insights in far-flung scientific fields such as object persistence, memory reinforcement, visual recognition, Bayesian inferential circuits and multidimensional activity of the brain. Implying that axonal stimulation by external sources might backpropagate and modify neuronal electric oscillations, our theory also suggests testable previsions concerning the optimal location of transcranial magnetic stimulation's coils in patients affected by drug-resistant epilepsy.







Tozzi A.  2020.  Random walks are not so random, after all…


Physical and biological phenomena are often portrayed in terms of random walks, white noise, Markov paths, stochastic

trajectories with subsequent symmetry breaks. Here we show that this approach from dynamical systems theory is not

profitable when random walks occur in phase spaces of dimensions higher than two. The more the dimensions, the

more the (seemingly) stochastic paths are constrained, because their trajectories cannot resume to the starting point.

This means that high-dimensional tracks, ubiquitous in real world physical/biological phenomena, cannot be

operationally treated in terms of closed paths, symplectic manifolds, Betti numbers, Jordan theorem, topological

vortexes. This also means that memoryless events disconnected from the past such as Markov chains cannot exist in

high dimensions. Once expunged the operational role of random walks in the assessment of experimental phenomena,

we take aim to somewhat “redeem” stochasticity. We suggest two methodological accounts alternative to random

walks that partially rescue the operational role of white noise and Markov chains. The first option is to assess

multidimensional systems in lower dimensions, the second option is to establish a different role for random walks. We

diffusely describe the two alternatives and provide heterogeneous examples from boosting chemistry, tunneling

nanotubes, backward entropy, chaotic attractors.                                  PDF





Tozzi, A., Peters, J.F. Information-devoid routes for scale-free neurodynamics. Synthese (2020).  


Neuroscientists are able to detect physical changes in information entropy in the available neurodata. However, the

information paradigm is inadequate to describe fully nervous dynamics and mental activities such as perception. This paper suggests explanations to neural dynamics that provide an alternative to thermodynamic and information accounts. We recall the Banach–Tarski paradox (BTP), which informally states that when pieces of a ball are moved and rotated without changing their shape, a synergy between two balls of the same volume is achieved instead of the original one. We show how and why BTP might display this physical and biological synergy meaningfully, making it possible to model nervous activities. The anatomical and functional structure of the central nervous system’s nodes and edges makes it possible to perform a sequence of moves inside the connectome that doubles the amount of available cortical oscillations. In particular, a BTP-based mechanism permits scale-invariant nervous oscillations to amplify and propagate towards widely separated brain areas. Paraphrasing the BTP’s definition, we could state that: when a few components of a self-similar nervous oscillation are moved and rotated throughout the cortical connectome, two self-similar oscillations are achieved instead of the original one. Furthermore, based on topological structures, we illustrate how, counterintuitively, the amplification of scale-free oscillations does not require information transfer.

download here the pdf





Tozzi A.  2020. Are Borders Inside or Outside? Found Sci.


When a boat disappears over the horizon, does a distant observer detect the last moment in which the boat is visible, or the first moment in which the boat is not visible? This apparently ludicrous way of reasoning, heritage of long-lasting medieval debates on decision limit problems, paves the way to sophisticated contemporary debates concerning the methodological core of mathematics, physics and biology. These ancient, logically-framed conundrums throw us into the realm of bounded objects with fuzzy edges, where our mind fails to provide responses to plain questions such as: given a closed curve with a boundary (say, a cellular membrane) how do you recognize what is internal and what is external? We show how the choice of an alternative instead of another is not arbitrary, rather points towards entirely different ontological, philosophical and physical commitments. This paves the way to novel interpretations and operational approaches to challenging issues such as black hole singularities, continuous time in quantum dynamics, chaotic nonlinear paths, logarithmic plots, demarcation of living beings. In the sceptical reign where judgements seem to be suspended forever, the contemporary scientist stands for a sort of God equipped with infinite power who is utterly free to dictate the rules of the experimental settings.



Tozzi A, Peters JF.  2020.  A Topological Approach to Infinity in Physics and Biophysics. Found Sci. 
Physical and biological measurements might display range values extending towards infinite. The occurrence of infinity in equations, such as the black hole singularities, is a troublesome issue that causes many theories to break down when assessing extreme events. Different methods, such as re-normalization, have been proposed to avoid detrimental infinity. Here a novel technique is proposed, based on geometrical considerations and the Alexander Horned sphere, that permits to undermine infinity in physical and biophysical equations. In this unconventional approach, a continuous monodimensional line becomes an assembly of countless bidimensional lines that superimpose in quantifiable knots and bifurcations. In other words, we may state that Achilles leaves the straight line and overtakes the turtle.



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



Projections vs cause/effect

Tozzi A, Papo D.  2020.  Projective mechanisms subtending real world phenomena wipe away cause effect relationships.  Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology.  151:1-13.  DOI: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2019.12.002.  

Causal relationships lie at the very core of scientific description of biophysical phenomena. Nevertheless, observable facts involving changes in system shape, dimension and symmetry may elude simple cause and effect inductive explanations. Here we argue that numerous physical and biological phenomena such as chaotic dynamics, symmetry breaking, long-range collisionless neural interactions, zero-valued energy singularities, and particle/wave duality can be accounted for in terms of purely topological mechanisms devoid of causality. We illustrate how simple topological claims, seemingly far away from scientific inquiry (e.g., “given at least some wind on Earth, there must at all times be a cyclone or anticyclone somewhere”; “if one stirs to dissolve a lump of sugar in a cup of coffee, it appears there is always a point without motion”; “at any moment, there is always a pair of antipodal points on the Earth’s surface with equal temperatures and barometric pressures”) reflect the action of non-causal topological rules. To do so, we introduce some fundamental topological tools and illustrate how phenomena such as double slit experiments, cellular mechanisms and some aspects of brain function can be explained in terms of geometric projections and mappings, rather than local physical effects. We conclude that unavoidable, passive, spontaneous topological modifications may lead to novel functional biophysical features, independent of exerted physical forces, thermodynamic constraints, temporal correlations and probabilistic a priori knowledge of previous cases.        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.



A fully novel topological theorem


Tozzi A. 2021.  Disjoint Genus-0 Surfaces in Extremal Graph Theory and Set Theory Lead To a Novel Topological Theorem. Preprints (doi: 10.20944/preprints202109.0082.v1).


Take a balloon, that is a genus-one manifold. If you break the jointness by piercing its surface, the hole gest lost and the punctured balloon becomes a genus-0 manifold. Starting from this trivial claim, we prove a topological theorem which plainly states that “the ends of a donut can meet, whilst the ends of a kidney pie cannot”. We discuss the theorem and its implications in disparate topics such as topological connectedness, gauge theories and the physics of the black holes.





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.