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AISB event Bulletin Item

CF Participation: Symposium on Mathematical Practice and Cognition


Call for participation

Symposium on Mathematical Practice and Cognition

29th - 30th March, 2010, De Montfort University, Leicester

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 Nez (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.

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

Professor Andrew Aberdein, Department of Humanities and Communication, Florida Institute of Technology

See here for programme of talks:


Key dates:

Early registration - 1st March

Symposium - 29th - 30th March, 2010

Programme Committee:

Andrew Aberdein, Florida Institute of Technology
Alan Bundy, University of Edinburgh
Brian Butterworth, University College London
John Charnley, Imperial College London
Simon Colton, Imperial College London
David Corfield, University of Kent
Martin Fischer, University of Dundee
Markus Guhe, University of Edinburgh
Thomas Joyce, University of Edinburgh
Brendan Larvor, University of Hertfordshire
Benedikt Lwe, Universiteit van Amsterdam
Rafael Nez, University of California, San Diego
Alison Pease, University of Edinburgh
Dirk Schlimm, McGill University
Aaron Sloman, University of Birmingham
Alan Smaill, University of Edinburgh
Alexander Svanevik, University of Edinburgh
Pedro Torres, Imperial College London


Alan Smaill, School of Informatics
University of Edinburgh

Markus Guhe, School of Informatics
University of Edinburgh

Alison Pease, School of Informatics
University of Edinburgh

Symposium details available at:

We would very much appreciate it if you could forward this email to
other interested parties.