Workshop Announcement and Call for Papers

The notion of form in 19th and early 20th century logic and mathematics.

International graduate workshop.

Amsterdam, January 20–21, 2011

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Keynote speakers: Michael Beaney (York), Danielle Macbeth (Haverford)

Invited speakers: Catarina Dutilh Novaes (Amsterdam), Anssi Korhonen (Helsinki)

Description & Call for Papers:

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The notion of form played traditionally a central role in logic and its philosophy. On a general level, one can see the notion as being important in two interrelated respects: a demarcational and an epistemological one. The domain of logic was widely supposed to consist of formal properties of and relations among truth-bearers, and the fact that logic was taken to be concerned with ‘merely’ formal properties was taken to account for its epistemological traits, i.e. the apriority of logical truth. Apart from these cornerstones, however, one finds different ways of spelling out these ideas through history. Different understandings of the notion of truth-bearer, for example, led to different ways of demarcating the domain of logic (into thoughts, judgements, propositions, sentences), which consequently led to different epistemological problems. Especially within the 19th century, the notion of form also became increasingly important in mathematics and its philosophy due to the upcoming foundational debates.

The present workshop is devoted to different understandings of the notion of form in the context of logic- and scientifically-oriented philosophy in the 19th and early 20th century, i.e. (roughly) the period from Bolzano over Brentano to Husserl, Frege and early analytic philosophy.

Against this historical background, we aim at bringing together masters of the field with graduate students whose work is connected (but not restricted) to questions such as:

1)        How is the notion of logical form spelled out and which entities have a logical form?

2)        How is the notion of form connected to the generality and the normativity of disciplines such as logic and mathematics?

3)        In how far is mathematics a formal science or a “science of forms”?

4)        What epistemological role is assigned to the notion of form?

5)        What is the connection between formality and apriority?

6)        What is the relation between specific views on the notion of (logical) form and philosophical analysis?

The talks should be historical in character ranging from detailed case studies to broader analyses in the history of ideas. There will be eight slots for presentations of 40 minutes (20 minutes talk and 20 minutes discussion).

Graduate students interested in presenting a paper are encouraged to submit an abstract of not more than 1000 words. The abstracts will be independently reviewed. Please send the abstracts to thenotionofform@gmail.com. They must contain the author’s name, address, institutional affiliation and e-mail-address.

Deadline for submission: September 15th 2010

Notification of acceptance: October 1st 2010

Conference dinner, lunches and accommodation (double rooms, up to two nights) will be provided. Additional budget to cover travel expenses up to a certain amount might become available at a later stage.

The workshop is funded by De Jonge Akademie of the KNAW  and the ERC-project “Tarski’s Revolution — A new History” (principal investigator: Arianna Betti). For additional information on the project see: http://www.axiom.vu.nl

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