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      Wittgenstein and Tufte on Thinking in 3D: ‘Escaping Flatland’


      Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2012) (EVA)

      Electronic Visualisation and the Arts

      10 - 12 July 2012

      Wittgenstein, Tufte, Visualisation, Tractatus

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          Before the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein became Bertrand Russell’s protégé at Cambridge, his formal education was directed towards shaping the mind of a sophisticated research engineer. The engineer’s ability to visualise inventions and solve design problems by creatively altering configurations of their elements calls for constructive, spatial, synthetic thinking. Training in engineering drawing builds visual thinking skills and teaches engineers how to represent visualised three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface. Visualisation involves seeing projective relations in the mind’s eye, which plays a critical role in the Bild theory of the Tractatus, Wittgenstein’s early philosophical classic. He asked himself ‘What is the ground of our---certainly well-founded---confidence that we shall be able to express any sense that we like in our two-dimensional script?’ As Edward Tufte says, ‘Even though we navigate daily through a perceptual world of three dimensions…the world displayed on our information displays is caught up in the two dimensionality of the endless flatlands of paper and video screens…Escaping this flatland is the essential task of envisioning information.’ I will explore how Wittgenstein’s Tractatus relates to Tufte’s theories of envisioning information and could contribute to understanding the principles underlying three-dimensional visualisation.

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          Author and article information

          July 2012
          July 2012
          : 107-118
          Saint Mary’s College

          Notre Dame, IN 46556
          © Kelly Hamilton. Published by BCS Learning and Development Ltd. Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2012), London, UK

          This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

          Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2012)
          London, UK
          10 - 12 July 2012
          Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
          Electronic Visualisation and the Arts
          Product Information: 1477-9358BCS Learning & Development
          Self URI (journal page): https://ewic.bcs.org/
          Electronic Workshops in Computing


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