Saturday, 18 October 2014

FINAL CFP and *EXTENDED DEADLINE*: SoTFoM II 'Competing Foundations?', 12-13 January 2015, London.

The focus of this conference is on different approaches to the foundations of mathematics. The interaction between set-theoretic and category-theoretic foundations has had significant philosophical impact, and represents a shift in attitudes towards the philosophy of mathematics. This conference will bring together leading scholars in these areas to showcase contemporary philosophical research on different approaches to the foundations of mathematics. To accomplish this, the conference has the following general aims and objectives. First, to bring to a wider philosophical audience the different approaches that one can take to the foundations of mathematics. Second, to elucidate the pressing issues of meaning and truth that turn on these different approaches. And third, to address philosophical questions concerning the need for a foundation of mathematics, and whether or not either of these approaches can provide the necessary foundation.

Date and Venue: 12-13 January 2015 - Birkbeck College, University of London.

Confirmed Speakers: Sy David Friedman (Kurt Goedel Research Center, Vienna),
Victoria Gitman (CUNY), James Ladyman (Bristol), Toby Meadows (Aberdeen).

Call for Papers: We welcome submissions from scholars (in particular, young scholars, i.e. early career researchers or post-graduate students) on any area of the foundations of mathematics (broadly construed). While we welcome submissions from all areas concerned with foundations, particularly desired are submissions that address the role of and compare different foundational approaches. Applicants should prepare an extended abstract (maximum 1,500 words) for blind review, and send it to sotfom [at] gmail [dot] com, with subject `SOTFOM II Submission'.

Submission Deadline: 31 October 2014

Notification of Acceptance: Late November 2014

Scientific Committee: Philip Welch (University of Bristol), Sy-David Friedman (Kurt Goedel Research Center), Ian Rumfitt (University of Birmigham), Carolin Antos-Kuby (Kurt Goedel Research Center), John Wigglesworth (London School of Economics), Claudio Ternullo (Kurt Goedel
Research Center), Neil Barton (Birkbeck College), Chris Scambler (Birkbeck College), Jonathan Payne (Institute of Philosophy), Andrea Sereni (Universita Vita-Salute S. Raffaele), Giorgio Venturi (CLE, Universidade Estadual de Campinas)

Organisers: Sy-David Friedman (Kurt Goedel Research Center), John Wigglesworth (London School of Economics), Claudio Ternullo (Kurt Goedel Research Center), Neil Barton (Birkbeck College), Carolin Antos-Kuby (Kurt Goedel Research Center)

Conference Website: sotfom [dot] wordpress [dot] com

Further Inquiries: please contact
Carolin Antos-Kuby (carolin [dot] antos-kuby [at] univie [dot] ac [dot] at)
Neil Barton (bartonna [at] gmail [dot] com)
Claudio Ternullo (ternulc7 [at] univie [dot] ac [dot] at)
John Wigglesworth (jmwigglesworth [at] gmail [dot] com)

The conference is generously supported by the Mind Association, the Institute of Philosophy, British Logic Colloquium, and Birkbeck College.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Visiting Fellowships at the MCMP (Academic Year 2015/2016)

The Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy invites applications for visiting fellowships for one to three months in the academic year 2015/16 (15 October 2015 to 15 February 2016 or 15 April to 15 July 2016) intended for advanced Ph.D. students (“Junior Fellowships") and postdocs or faculty (“Senior Fellowships"). Candidates should work in general philosophy of science, the philosophy of one of the special sciences, formal epistemology, or social epistemology and have a commitment to interdisciplinary and collaborative work. To apply, send your application (ideally everything in one pdf file) to with the subject “Junior Fellowship Application” or “Senior Fellowship Application”. Candidates should include a letter of interest (which also indicates the period of the planned stay), a CV, and a project outline of no more than 1000 words. Candidates for a Junior Fellowship should additionally supply one letter of recommendation. We offer a tax-free stipend of 800 Euro/month for junior fellows and 1200 Euro/month for senior fellows to partly cover additional expenses such as housing and transportation to and from Munich. It is also possible to stay for a longer period (e.g. if you are on a sabbatical), but stipends will be for maximally three months.

We also encourage groups of two to four researchers, which may also include scientists, to jointly apply for fellowships (“Research Group Fellowships") to work on an innovative collaborative project from the above-mentioned fields which is of relevance for the research done at the MCMP and which ideally includes a member of the MCMP as a collaborator. To apply, send your application (if possible everything in one pdf file) to with the subject “Research Group Fellowship Application”. Interested groups should include a letter of interest (which also indicates the period of the planned stay), a CV of each group member, and a project outline of no more than 2000 words that also includes information about the intended output of the project. We offer a tax-free stipend of 800 Euro/month for junior group members and 1200 Euro/month for senior group members to partly cover additional expenses such as housing and transportation to and from Munich. It is also possible to stay for a longer period, but stipends will be for maximally three months.

The deadline for applications is 15 February 2015. Decisions will be made by 1 March 2015. For further information, please contact

3-year Doctoral Fellowship on “The Evolution of Unpopular Norms and Bullying"

The Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy seeks applications for a Doctoral Fellowship. The successful candidate will work on the project "The Evolution of Unpopular Norms and Bullying” (project summary below), which is funded by the German Research Council (DFG) and part of the DFG Priority Programme “New Frameworks of Rationality”. The fellowship is open for candidates with a masters degree in philosophy or a related social science. The funding is for three years, and the fellowship should be taken up by January 1, 2015. However, a later starting date is also possible. (Please let us know if you wish to start at a later date.)

Applications (including a cover letter that addresses, amongst others, one's academic background and research interests, a CV, a list of publications (if applicable), a sample of written work of no more than 5000 words (ideally in English, but German is also acceptable), and a description of a planned research project of 1000-1500 words) related to the above mentioned project should be sent by email (ideally everything requested in one PDF document) by November 20, 2014. Hard copy applications are not accepted. Additionally, two confidential letters of reference addressing the applicant's qualifications for academic research should be sent to the same address from the referees directly.

The MCMP hosts a vibrant research community of faculty, postdoctoral fellows, doctoral fellows, master students, and visiting fellows. It organizes at least two weekly colloquia and a weekly internal work in-progress seminar, as well as various other activities such as workshops, conferences, summer schools, and reading groups. Several of our research projects are conducted in collaboration with scientists. The successful candidate will partake in all of MCMP's academic activities and enjoy its administrative facilities and financial support. The official language at the MCMP is English and fluency in German is not mandatory.

We especially encourage female scholars to apply. The LMU in general, and the MCMP in particular, endeavor to raise the percentage of women among its academic personnel. Furthermore, given equal qualification, preference will be given to candidates with disabilities.

Contact for informal inquiries:

Professor Stephan Hartmann (

Abstract: The Evolution of Unpopular Norms and Bullying

Although there is growing research about the relationship between individual and collective rationality, there has been relatively little work investigating the irrational behavior. The purpose of this project is to employ agent-based models to explain the evolution of norms that are collectively irrational. Unpopular social norms (e.g. feet-binding in China) are the most well-known examples, and this project will contribute to the small (but growing) literature on the emergence of unpopular norms. In addition to unpopular norms, the investigators plan to focus on an unexplored application: bullying. The project is jointly led by Stephan Hartmann (MCMP) and Conor Mayo-Wilson (University of Washington and MCMP).

For a more detailed description of the project, click here (PDF, 146 kb).

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Call for Papers: Formal Epistemology Workshop 2015

May 20-22, 2015 (Wednesday to Friday)
Washington University in St. Louis

Keynote speakers:

Tom Kelly (Princeton), Jeff Horty (University of Maryland, College Park)

The Formal Epistemology Workshop will be held in connection with the 2015 meeting of the St. Louis Annual Conference on Reasons and Rationality (SLACRR), which will take place immediately before, from May 17-19, 2015.

There will be conference sessions all day on May 20 & 21, and in the morning on May 22.

Contributors are invited to send full papers as PDF files (suitable for presenting as a 40 minute talk) to by Friday, January 16, 2015. Papers should be accompanied by abstracts of up to 300 words. Identifying information about the author(s) (including obvious self-citations) should be removed from the body of the paper, but the name (and any other relevant information) should be included in the text of the e-mail.

Submissions should be prepared for anonymous review. Initial evaluation will be done anonymously. The final program will be selected with an eye towards maintaining diversity, so graduate students, people outside the tenure track, women, and members of underrepresented minorities are particularly encouraged to submit papers. We also welcome submissions from researchers in related areas, such as economics, computer science, and psychology. Past programs can be viewed here:

Submitting the same paper to both FEW and SLACRR is permitted (though the organizers will coordinate the paper selection in order to ensure that the same paper doesn’t get presented at both conferences).

Final selection of the contributed talks will be made by March 31, 2015.

There will be childcare available for conference participants who bring their children. It will be provided on site by a local certified childcare provider.

Organizers: Kenny Easwaran (Texas A&M), Julia Staffel (Washington University in St. Louis), Mike Titelbaum (UW Madison)

Conference webpage:

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The upside down world paradox

By Catarina Dutilh Novaes
(Cross-posted at NewAPPS)

As most kids (I suspect), my daughters sometimes play ‘upside down world’, especially when I ask them something to which they should say ‘yes’, but instead they say ‘no’ and immediately regret it: ‘Upside down world!’ The upside down world game basically functions as a truth-value flipping operator: if you say yes, you mean no, and if you say no, you mean yes.

My younger daughter recently came across the upside down world paradox: if someone asks you ‘are you playing upside down world?’, all kinds of weird things happen to each of the answers you may give. If you are not playing upside down world, you will say no; but if you are playing upside down world you will also say no. So the ‘no’ answer underdetermines its truth-value, a bit like the no-no paradox. Now for the ‘yes’ answer: if you are playing upside down world and say ‘yes’, then that means ‘no’, and so you are not playing the game after all if you are speaking truthfully. But then your ‘yes’ was a genuine yes in the first place, and so you are playing the game and said yes, which takes us back to the beginning. (In other words, 'no' is the only coherent answer, but it still doesn't say anything about whether you are actually playing the game or not.)

I do not think the upside down paradox is of particular theoretical interest, but what struck me is that it arose in a fairly mundane situation, and was viewed as paradoxical by a 7-year old (who is admittedly the daughter of a philosopher of logic, fair enough…). She didn’t call it a paradox at first; she just said that this was a really difficult question to answer (‘are you playing upside down world?’); whatever you said, strange things happened. So this may well be a modest example of how Liar-like paradoxes may emerge even in everyday situations. (Hum, maybe I should write a paper with her, following the example of Veronique and Peter Eldridge-Smith on Pinocchio’s paradox.)