Centre for Logic and
Philosophy of Science
Perspectives on Mathematical Practices

W here you find this site has been thoroughly changed
in 2005 and/or 2006

International Conference on the Philosophy of Mathematics

Thursday 24 - Saturday 26 October, 2002
Brussels University (VUB), Belgium
Chair: Jean Paul Van Bendegem

Declaration of Intent

The twentieth-century research in philosophy of mathematics was mainly focused on foundational studies. Either specific mathematical theories were proposed as ultimate foundations (set theory, category theory, …), or mathematics was imbedded in specific philosophical theories (naturalism, realism, neo-platonism, structuralism, …). All these approaches were focused on the outcomes or "products" of mathematical practice.

Since the seminal work of Imre Lakatos, Proofs and Refutations, however, it became clear that to fully understand mathematics, must also involve an understanding of the mathematical activity itself, as a process.

What is it that mathematicians do when they do mathematics? This conference is aimed at bringing together all kinds of contributions relevant to this question. They include both discussions about the large-scale structure of mathematics (Are there revolutions in mathematics? Is a Popperian, a Lakatosian or some other framework best suited? How does the mathematical community fit into society?), and reflections on the micro-practice of mathematics (What exactly turns a piece of text into a proof? What role do analogies and metaphors play in mathematical practice? What role does mathematical beauty play?).

It has been the aim of the organizers to search for a balance between, on the one hand, theoretical considerations on these issues, and, on the other hand, case studies of specific mathematical problems.

Organizing Committee Jean Paul Van Bendegem, Gustaaf C. Cornelis, Erik Weber, Erik Myin, Sonja Smets, Bart Van Kerkhove

Scientific Committee /
Invited Speakers
Jill Adler (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, SA)
Jody Azzouni (Tufts University, Medford / Somerville, MA)
Paul Ernest (School of Education, University of Exeter, UK) - did not participate
Eduard Glas (Technische Universiteit Delft, NL)
Reuben Hersh (Prof. Emeritus, The University of New Mexico)
Sal Restivo (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY)
Robert Thomas (University of Manitoba, CA; editor Philosophia Mathematica)

Program Click here for the final schedule (in pdf-format).
Click here to download a zip-file containing the abstracts of all papers presented (in MS-Word format).

Participants Click here for a list of all participants with their e-mail addresses (in MS-Excell format).

Part of the proceedings of this conference is now available as a double issue of the quarterly Logique et Analyse (vol.45, nos.179-180). Another part is due to appear in the autumn of 2006 in the series Logic, Epistemology and the Unity of Science edited by S. Rahman and J. Symons for the renowned academic publisher Springer.

Mailing Group
Plans to start a "Mathematical Practice" mailing group, have been made concrete. We have opted for the ongoing virtual workshop format developed by VUB's Alex Riegler. To participate, go to http://www.vub.ac.be/CLWF/mathprac/ and register. Further instructions for convenient use can also be found at this page.

Follow-up Conference
The organizers of PMP2002 have decided to organize a follow-up event at the same location. The dates are Monday 26 to Wednesday 28 March 2007. There now is a PMP2007 website including more details on the invited speakers and a call for contributions, which ends at 15 November 2006.

Contact Address Perspectives on Mathematical Practices (PMP2002)
c/o Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science (CLWF)
Brussels University (VUB)
Pleinlaan 2 - Room 5B425
B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
Fax: +32-2-629-2374