Sunday, December 20, 2009

Symposium on Mathematical Practice and Cognition

Symposium on Mathematical Practice and Cognition

29th - 30th March, 2010, De Montfort University, Leicester
Held on the first and second days of AISB 2010.

The belief that what mathematicians think and do is important to the
philosophy of mathematics is a relatively recent position, held by,
for example, Lakatos (1976, 1978), Davis and Hersh (1980), Kitcher
(1983), Tymoczko (1986) and Corfield (2003), and discussed in
symposia such as Two Streams in the Philosophy of Mathematics: Rival
Conceptions of Mathematical Proof (University of Hertfordshire,
2009). This focus on mathematical practice suggests that research
into how mathematical definitions or axioms are motivated,
representations changed, problems discovered and explained, analogies
formed between different mathematical fields, etc., and how these
processes grow out of biologically important competences in dealing
effectively with rich and complex environments, is relevant and
necessary. This contrasts the traditional focus in philosophy on how
mathematics should be done, or the epistemological status of
mathematical theorems. The new direction is complemented by recent
work in cognitive science on the origin and development of
mathematical ideas, for example Lakoff and Núñez (2000). Researchers
are now working at all levels to investigate how people, from young
babies up to professionals and geniuses are able to perform different
mathematical tasks.

With the new approach in the philosophy of mathematics, and
developments in cognitive science of mathematics and embodied
cognition, we feel that the time is ripe for interaction between the
fields. We hope to promote a sharing of ideas and enable an
atmosphere in which new connections and collaborations are forged.

We aim to bring together researchers in different fields, to promote
discussion between, for example, people working on the neurological
level and those building models of mathematical theory formation,
people thinking about aesthetics in mathematics and those focused on
visual and diagrammatic reasoning, psychologists of mathematics
education, sociologists of mathematics and researchers in embodied
cognition, or studying relevant aspects of animal cognition, and
biological evolution.

We welcome submissions from anyone interested in themes listed here, and especially encourage interdisciplinary submissions which link previously unassociated fields.

We welcome full papers and short papers, where a full paper comprises a completed piece of work and a short paper describes ongoing work. Full papers should be between six and eight pages in length and short papers two pages. Accepted papers will be published in the AISB 2010

We are very pleased to announce our invited speakers:
  • Dr. Brendan Larvor, Principal Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Hertfordshire.
  • Professor Ivor Grattan-Guinness, Emeritus Professor of the History of Mathematics and Logic at Middlesex University, and a Visiting Research Associate at the London School of Economics.
  • Professor Alexandre Borovik, School of Mathematics, University of Manchester.
  • Dr. Andrew Aberdein, Associate Professor of Logic and Humanities, Florida Institute of Technology
Key dates:
  • Submission - 20th December, 2009
  • Notification - 26th January, 2010
  • Camera-ready version - 26th February, 2010
  • Symposium - 29th - 30th March, 2010
Symposium details available at:

AISB website:

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