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Philosophy and Mathematics

DATE: OCTOBER 5-6, 2018; START: 9:00 AM

The Academia Europaea Wrocław Knowledge Hub in cooperation with the Academy of Young Scholars and Artists and the International Centre for Formal Ontology co-organised a seminar on philosophy and mathematics. During the seminar, four members of Academia Europaea delivered talks.


What do philosophy and mathematics have in common?
The answer might not be obvious at first glance. After all, common knowledge states that mathematicians are experts in the exact sciences, while philosophers are skilled in the humanities. Mathematicians scoff at the arts, while philosophers brag about not knowing mathematics. But is this image of the two disciplines accurate? Not in the slightest! Many great mathematicians were philosophers and vice-versa, many of the most famous philosophers dabbled in the mathematical sciences. At the intersection of these two disciplines, there is always logic. Logicians use mathematical tools (such as set theory or model theory) to tackle philosophical problems. Other topics that bridge philosophy with mathematics include debates on the philosophical status of mathematical objects and ways of knowing mathematics (topics that belong to the philosophy of mathematics). All of these topics were discussed during the Philosophy and Mathematics seminar organised in Wroclaw on October 5-6. The main organisers of the event were the Wrocław Academic Hub (Academia Europaea, The Academy of Young Scholars and Artists) and the International Centre for Formal Ontology at the Warsaw University of Technology. The patrons of the event included the City of Wrocław and the popular philosophy magazine „Filozofuj!”. The seminar was held at the Wrocław Academic Hub at Rynek 13 (first floor).

A less obvious intersection between the disciplines is mathematical philosophy, a field that has been present in Western tradition from at least Plato’s time, and continued through the era of Leibniz to Gödel’s time and the modern age. Mathematical philosophy is also known under the names of formal philosophy or logical philosophy. It uses mathematics as a tool to model philosophical problems, in a way similar to how modern physics uses maths. Mathematics is crucial in advanced philosophical meditation. The Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, one of the most rapidly developing hubs of the discipline in the world, is headed by Prof. Hannes Leitgeb, a member of Academia Europaea. Prof. Leitgeb will take part in the seminar both as a speaker and a panellist during the debate entitled „Mathematics, Philosophy, and Mathematical Philosophy”. The seminar also included other members of Academia Europea: Prof. Jan Woleński (philosopher, logician) and Prof. Marek Kuś (physicist, philosopher of physics). The seminar was opened by Prof. Tadeusz Luty (chemist). Other speakers included Prof. Roman Murawski (mathematician, philosopher of mathematics), Prof. Krzysztof Wójtowicz (philosopher of mathematics), Dr Jakub Jernajczyk (artist, philosopher), Dr Bartłomiej Skowron (philosopher), and Prof. Ludomir Newelski (mathematician, logician).

The seminar was open to the public.