Sunday, 29 March 2009

Dan Sperber: Guru Effect

I am sorry I am not around at lot. Among all the things I do, one might interest you. I am currently translating, for a french journal, a quite famous essay written by Dan Sperber: "The Guru Effect". It is a really nice approach of all recondite manner of thinking, including Postmodernism, through a relevantist point of view. Really worth reading.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Philosophy and Foundations of Mathematics : Epistemological and Ontological Aspects

SCAS, Uppsala, May 5-8, 2009. A conference dedicated to Per Martin-Löf on the occasion of his retirement.

Speakers include:

*Peter Aczel
*Mark van Atten
*Steve Awodey
*Thierry Coquand
*Peter Dybjer
*Juliet Floyd
*Jean-Yves Girard
*Sten Lindström
*Colin McLarty
*Per Martin-Löf
*Peter Pagin
*Erik Palmgren
*Jan von Plato
*Dag Prawitz
*Christine Paulin
*Aarne Ranta
*Michael Rathjen
*Giovanni Sambin
*Anton Setzer
*Stewart Shapiro
*Wilfried Sieg
*Sören Stenlund
*Göran Sundholm
*William Tait
*Jouko Väänänen

Scope and aim

The aim of the conference is to bring together philosophers, mathematicians, and logicians to penetrate current and historically important problems in the philosophy and foundations of mathematics. Swedish logicians and philosophers have made important contributions to the foundations and philosophy of mathematics, at least since the end of the 1960s. In philosophy, one has been concerned with the opposition between constructivism and classical mathematics and the different ontological and epistemological views that are reflected in this opposition. A central philosophical question concerns the nature of the abstract entities of mathematics: do they exist independently of our epistemic acts (realism, or Platonism) or are they somehow constituted by these acts (idealism)? Significant contributions have been made to the foundations of mathematics, for example in proof theory, proof-theoretic semantics and constructive type theory. These contributions have had a strong impact on areas of computer science, e.g. through Martin-Löf's type theory.

Two important alternative foundational programmes that are actively pursued today are predicativistic constructivism and category-theoretic foundations. Predicativistic constructivism can be based on Martin-Löf constructive type theory, Aczel's constructive set theory, or similar systems. The practice of the Bishop school of constructive mathematics fits well into this framework. Associated philosophical foundations are meaning theories in the tradition of Wittgenstein, Dummett, Prawitz and Martin-Löf. What is the relation between proof-theoretical semantics in the tradition of Gentzen, Prawitz, and Martin-Löf and Wittgensteinian or other accounts of meaning-as-use? What can proof-theoretical analysis tell us about the scope and limits of constructive and (generalized) predicative mathematics? To what extent is it possible to reduce classical mathematical frameworks to constructive ones? Such reductions often reveal computational content of classical existence proofs. Is computational content enough to solve the epistemological questions?

A central concern for the conference will be to compare the different foundational frameworks - classical set theory, constructive type theory, and category theory - both from a philosophical and a logical point of view. The general theme of the conference, however, will be broader and encompass different areas of philosophy and foundations of mathematics, in particular the interplay between ontological and epistemological considerations.


The workshop will take place at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS), Linneanum, Thunbergsvägen 2, Uppsala, Sweden. Map of Uppsala with a walking path from the Central Station indicated.

Organization and programme committee

Peter Dybjer, Sten Lindström, Erik Palmgren (Chair), Dag Prawitz, Sören Stenlund, Viggo Stoltenberg-Hansen.


The scientific programme starts at 10.00 on Tuesday, May 5 and ends at 16.00 on Friday, May 8. A conference dinner is planned for Friday evening. More details about the programme will appear in a few weeks.


Attendance is open, and there is no registration fee. However, anyone planning to attend should preregister by emailing PFM[at] no later than April 5, 2009.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Conversations with Quine

In this program, Professor Quine (1908-2000) is questioned about his views on some of the major topics in philosophy of mind. His linguistic behaviorism is carefully examined and compared with programs in linguistics and neuroscience, and he gives his opinions on the field of cognitive science. The program concludes with Quine's views on the topics of mental causation and consciousness.

This video is distributed by LSE. Many thanks to Flame0430 who shares his collection.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

SOPHA: International congress

The "Société de Philosophie Analytique" (SOPHA) organises an international congress every three years. This year, the congress will be held for the first time in Switzerland.

The official languages of the congress are English and French.

More information: click here.

Université de Genève, 2-5 September

Organising committee

The SOPHA 2009 is organised by the following committee : Philipp Keller (Genève) [coordinator], Fabrice Correia (Genève), Michael Esfeld (Lausanne), Richard Glauser (Neuchâtel), Kevin Mulligan (Genève), Martine Nida-Rümelin (Fribourg), Alexandrine Schniewind (Lausanne), Gianfranco Soldati (Fribourg), Daniel Schulthess (Neuchâtel), Jiri Benovsky (Fribourg), Marc-André Weber (Neuchâtel), Alain Zysset (Lausanne)

SOPHA 2009 is organised in close collaboration with the commitee of the SOPHA : Mélika Ouelbani (Univ. Tunis, présidente), Michael Esfeld (Lausanne, vice-président), Françoise Longy (Paris, trésorière), Alain Voizard (Montréal, trésorier), Paul Egré (Institut J.Nicod), Philipp Keller (Genève), Max Kistler (Paris), François Lepage (Montréal), Pascal Ludwig (Paris), Frédéric Pascal (Paris), Gianfranco Soldati (Fribourg).

Local organising committee: Philipp Keller, David Furrer, Loriane Morand

Invited speakers and symposia

There are four invited speakers, one of which is the dialectica lecture:

  • Christine Tappolet, Montréal
  • François Clémentz, Aix-en-Provence
  • Jérôme Dokic, Jean Nicod
  • Penelope Mackie, Nottingham (dialectica lecturer)

There are four invited symposia:

  • Logic and Philosophy [organisers: Fabrice Correia, Philipp Keller] with Paul Egré, Benjamin Spector and Dennis Bonnay
  • Political Philosophy [organisers: Kevin Mulligan, Philipp Keller] with Soumaya Mestiri, Ridha Chennoufi, Mounir Kchaou and Francis Cheneval
  • Dispositions [organiser: Michael Esfeld] with Claudine Tiercelin, Jean-Maurice Monnoyer and Max Kistler
  • Rationality and Norms [organiser: Pascal Engel, with Daniel Laurier, Gianfranco Soldati, NN and NN

Parallel sessions

There are 20 slots for parallel sessions (40 minutes, including discussion), in the following sections:

  • metaphysics
  • epistemology
  • language/logic
  • mind
  • philosophy of science
  • applied ethics, political and social philosophy
  • normative and meta-ethics, action and decision theory
  • aesthetics and philosophy of religion
  • history of philosophy

Selection committees for contributed papers

  • metaphysics: François Clementz, Philipp Keller, Friederike Moltmann, Frédéric Nef, Cyrille Michon, Joëlle Proust
  • epistemology: Yves Bouchard, Pascal Engel
  • language/logic: Fabrice Correia, François Lepage, Pascal Ludwig
  • mind: Filip Buekens, Jérôme Dokic, Luc Faucher, Pierre Poirier, Gianfranco Soldati
  • philosophy of science: Michael Esfeld, Max Kistler, Thierry Martin, Christian Sachse
  • applied ethics, political and social philosophy: Bernard Bärtschi, Ruwen Ogien, Christine Tappolet
  • normative and meta-ethics, action, decision: Daniel Schulthess
  • aesthetics, philosophy of religion: Roger Pouivet
  • history of philosophy: Alexandrine Schniewind

Call for Papers: Deadline 1st of May 2009

The Call for Papers is now open. Please go to our online submission site to submit a 250-word abstract and a one-page summary (presenting the main argument).

Decisions on whether papers have been accepted will be made by the end of May 2009.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Dennett versus Plantingua

There is a very vivid account of a discussion (minute by minute) between Alvin Plantingua and Daniel Dennett at the American Philosophical Association (21/02/2009) about the compatibility of Theism and Science (notably, evolution): here.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Welcome to Maya!

Maya is not a new contributor to Inquiries (well, she might be, but not in the 10 years to come...), but the second daughter of the contributor Florian Cova. She is born the 1/03/2009. She is very cute and very peaceful (well, on the photograph...). We are so happy she is here. We wish the best for her and for the Cova family.

Some photographs of the sleeping beauty: J'ai une petite soeur!