UCL Division of Biosciences


Paper from Prof Semir Zeki addresses the necessity of importing neurobiology into mathematics

4 February 2022

In collaboration with Dr. Mikhail Filippov (National University of Singapore), Prof Semir Zeki (UCL CDB) addresses the question of axiomatic statements that are perceived (or known) to be correct but which mathematics, as presently constituted, cannot prove.

image of visual illusions

The concept of mathematical axioms refers to statements which the logical system of the brain accepts without proof; these statements constitute the building blocks which allow us to construct mathematical theories. In this paper, published in PsyCh Journal, the authors (Dr. Mikhail Filippov, National University of Singapore) and Prof Semir Zeki, UCL CDB) propose the concept of another axiomatic system, and introduce the term perceptual axiomatic system to do so; this is also universally accepted by the human brain and works in parallel, but independently, of the logical system of the brain underlying mathematics.

Article link: On the necessity of importing neurobiology into mathematics Psych J . 2022 Jan 30. doi: 10.1002/pchj.524

Image: Muller Lyer Illusion (left), Hering Illusion (centre) and a modified (achromatic) version of Isia Leviant’s Enigma (right)