University of Calgary

# All LogBlog Posts

## Summer School at MCMP for Women Formal Philosophy Students

Submitted by Richard Zach on Wed, 12/04/2013 - 9:13am

Wow, awesome. Lecturers include Rachael Briggs, Sonja Smets, and Florian Steinberger.

The Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP) is organizing the first Summer School on Mathematical Philosophy for Female Students, which will be held from July 27 to August 2, 2014 in Munich, Germany. The summer school is open to excellent female students who want to specialize in mathematical philosophy.

## Maria Reichenbach (1909-2013)

Submitted by Richard Zach on Mon, 12/02/2013 - 9:07pm

Alan Richardson writes on HOPOS-L:

## Help sought for a biography of Richard Montague

Submitted by Richard Zach on Fri, 11/29/2013 - 5:06pm

Ivano Caponigro at UCSD writes:

I'm working on a biography of Richard Montague (1930-1971) that aims to reconstruct his intellectual and personal life, his contributions, and his legacy.  Please contact me if you knew him personally (or just met him a few times) or have any material from him or about him (letters, manuscripts, pictures, audio recordings, etc.) or if you know anybody who knew him or may have material about it.

Thanks!

ivano@ucsd.edu

## Mancosu on Pasternak (!)

Submitted by Richard Zach on Fri, 11/15/2013 - 2:12pm

My Doktorvater Paolo Mancosu has a new book: Inside the Zhivago Storm, on the publication history of Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago.

That's the kind of scholar Paolo is: write a 400-page literary thriller because his duties as department chair at Berkeley keep him from doing his "real" work as a logician and philosopher of mathematics.

From the publisher:

In Inside the Zhivago Storm. The Editorial Adventures of Pasternak’s Masterpiece, Paolo Mancosu, Professor of Philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley, provides a riveting account of the story of the first publication of Doctor Zhivago and of the subsequent Russian editions in the West. Exploiting with scholarly and philological rigor the untapped resources of the Feltrinelli archives in Milan as well as several other private and public archives in Europe, Russia, and the USA, Mancosu reconstructs the relationship between Pasternak and Feltrinelli, the story of the Italian publication, and the pressure exercised on Feltrinelli by the Soviets and the Italian Communist Party to stop publication of the novel in Italy and in other countries.

Doctor Zhivago, the masterpiece that won Boris Pasternak the Nobel Prize in 1958, had its first worldwide edition in 1957 in Italian. The events surrounding its publication, whose protagonists were Boris Pasternak and the publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, undoubtedly count as one of the most fascinating stories of the twentieth century. It is a story that saw the involvement of governments, political parties, secret services, and publishers. In Inside the Zhivago Storm. The Editorial Adventures of Pasternak’s Masterpiece, Paolo Mancosu, Professor of Philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley, provides a riveting account of the story of the first publication of Doctor Zhivago and of the subsequent Russian editions in the West. Exploiting with scholarly and philological rigor the untapped resources of the Feltrinelli archives in Milan as well as several other private and public archives in Europe, Russia, and the USA, Mancosu reconstructs the relationship between Pasternak and Feltrinelli, the story of the Italian publication, and the pressure exercised on Feltrinelli by the Soviets and the Italian Communist Party to stop publication of the novel in Italy and in other countries. Situating the story in the historical context of the Cold War, Mancosu describes the hidden roles of the KGB and the CIA in the vicissitudes of the publication of the novel both in Italian and in the original Russian language. The full correspondence between Boris Pasternak and Giangiacomo Feltrinelli (spanning from 1956 to 1960) is also published here for the first time in the original and in English translation. Doctor Zhivago is a classic of world literature and the story of its publication, as it is recounted in this book, is the story of the courage and of the intellectual freedom of a great writer and of a great publisher.

## Post Doc in History of Geometry/Epistemology of Math at MPI Berlin

Submitted by Richard Zach on Tue, 11/12/2013 - 11:06am

A postdoc in history of geometry is being advertised at Vincenzo de Risi's group at the MPI for History of Science,Berlin!

https://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=47973

## Philosophy in the SSHRC Insight Grant Competition

Submitted by Richard Zach on Mon, 11/11/2013 - 5:22pm

The Insight Grant Adjudication Committee (Committee 1C) for the 2013 Insight Grant competition of SSHRC, on which I served, prepared the following statement when the results of the competition were announced in April. We sent it to the CPA to distribute, but somehow it fell throught the cracks.  They did post an excerpt of an earlier letter which was sent to all Canadian philosophy departments inApril on their forum a month ago though.  I'm posting it here and now for the record.

(La version française suit)

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) funds research projects by Canadian philosophers through its Insight Grant program. This program replaced the Standard Research Grant program in 2011. In the 2012 competition, the results of which were just announced, 13 applications were funded.  This represents a success rate of 21%, down from last year’s 18 applications funded (success rate: 26.5%).

This is bad news. But Canadian philosophers should understand some hidden factors driving the trend. Under SSHRC's old system, each disciplinary committee was allocated a separate pot of money, where the size of the pot was determined by a formula involving the number of applicants to that committee and the total budget requested in each application. After ranking applications on their merits, committees were at liberty to trim the budgets of successful applicants in order to fund more applications (but to a lesser degree), and Philosophy was quite aggressive about doing so (resulting in a higher success rate for our committee than for some others).

Under the new Insight Grant system, the application success rate is standardized to be the same across all committees.  For the 2012 competition, committees in all disciplines (Economics, Linguistics, etc.) had the same 21% application success rate.  Instead of tinkering with individual budgets, the appropriateness of an applicant's budget was factored into the "feasibility" score, so applicants whose budgets were sharply out of line with the norms (median request: $23k per year) tended to suffer numerically. It remained possible for the committee to make a rough budget cut on an excellent proposal (say, funding just 50% or 75% of what someone asked), but it was hard to do this while still allocating that proposal the near-perfect score on feasibility needed to make the top-of-the-list position that was necessary for funding. Some large projects were certainly funded, but they needed excellent justifications for their large budget requests. It is important to understand that the drop in the national success rate was driven not primarily by increased stringency on SSHRC’s part, or a decrease in overall funding, or any bias against Philosophy, but by an increase in the number of applications across all committees: the Insight Grant went from 1,821 applications in 2011 to 2,220 applications in 2012, an increase of 399 applications (21.9%). Meanwhile, Philosophy marked an exception to this general trend: we went from 68 applications in 2011 to 62 applications in 2012, a decrease of 8.8%. If Philosophy had increased on a par with other disciplines, we would have had 83 applications, and with this year’s standardized success rate of 21% we would have been able to fund 17 of them, very close to last year's 18 applications funded. One factor for the decrease in Philosophy applications may have been that last year’s success rate was lower for Philosophy than it has been in the past, and applicants may have been discouraged from even trying. This is exactly the wrong thing to do, especially in a climate in which disciplines other than Philosophy are responding to the fixed success rate by sharply increasing their number of applications. In many departments, SSHRC grants are vital both to the support and to the training of graduate students. It is in the interest of Canadian Philosophy and our graduate programs that as many eligible faculty members as possible apply. It may be a pain, and discouraging not to be funded. But it can be useful to prepare a research plan, and it’s not much work to do some small revisions to research plans that were unsuccessful in the past. The very same proposal can pass from an insufficient ranking in one year to being funded in the next, for a number of reasons (budget appropriateness, different letters of assessment, different adjudication committee, different fields of applications). There were many excellent proposals this year that very narrowly missed being funded. Le Conseil de recherches en sciences humaines du Canada (CRSH) subventionne les projets de recherche des philosophes canadiens par son programme des subventions Savoir. Ce programme a remplacé en 2011 le programme des subventions ordinaires de recherche. Au concours de 2012, dont les résultats viennent tout juste d’être annoncés, 13 subventions ont été approuvées. Cela représente un taux de succès de 21%, alors que l’année dernière, 18 projets avaient été financés pour un taux de succès de 26,5%. Ce résultat est une mauvaise nouvelle. Les philosophes canadiens doivent comprendre que certains facteurs peu apparents ont joué. Sous l'ancien régime, chaque comité disciplinaire disposait d'une somme donnée, déterminée par une formule qui tenait compte du nombre de demandes reçues par le comité, ainsi que du total des budgets demandés. Après avoir classé les demandes au mérite, les comités pouvaient à leur gré réduire la somme accordée aux candidats retenus pour subvention afin de financer plus de projets (de façon un peu moins généreuse). Le comité de philosophie usait assez largement de cette possibilité, ce qui assurait à ce comité un taux de succès plus élevé qu’à d’autres comités. Dans le nouveau système des subventions Savoir, le taux de succès est normalisé de façon à être identique pour tous les comités. Donc, en 2012, toutes les disciplines ont eu le même taux de succès de 21%. Il n’est plus question d’ajuster les budgets de façon détaillée, mais seulement de vérifier s’ils sont globalement adéquats, en notant la « faisabilité » du projet : ainsi toute demande dont le budget s’écarte significativement de ce qui apparaît raisonnable (compte tenu d’un budget moyen demandé de quelque 23K$) tend à être numériquement défavorisé dans l’évaluation. Quoiqu'il demeure possible de réduire (par exemple de 25% ou même 50%) un budget jugé excessif pour un excellent projet de recherche, le fait d'avoir à le faire fait perdre des points au chapitre de la faisabilité, alors qu’une note quasi maximale est requise pour figurer en tête de liste et être financé. Certains projets au budget élevé ont été certes approuvés, mais seulement moyennant d’excellents justifications.

Il est important de comprendre que la baisse constatée du taux de succès général n'a été due ni à un resserrement des critères de la part du CRSH, ni à une baisse du financement disponible, ni à un quelconque préjugé contre la philosophie. Elle résulte uniquement de l'augmentation du nombre total des demandes pour l’ensemble des comités, nombre qui est passé de 1821 en 2011 à 2200 en 2012, soit 399 demandes ou 21,9% de plus. La philosophie a fait exception à cette tendance générale, avec 62 demandes en 2012, 8,8% de moins qu’en 2011 où il y en avait eu 68. Si les philosophes avaient fait comme les chercheurs des autres disciplines, nous aurions eu 83 demandes, ce qui, compte tenu du taux de succès normalisé de 21% aurait vraisemblablement donné 17 subventions octroyées, soit presque le même nombre que les 18 de l'an passé.

Le nombre décroissant des demandes en philosophie pourrait s’expliquer du moins en partie par le fait que le taux de succès, l’année dernière, avait été plus faible qu’antérieurement, ce qui pourrait avoir dissuadé certains philosophes de tenter leur chance. Or il faudrait réagir de manière exactement contraire, surtout dans un contexte où les autres disciplines s’ajustent au taux de succès fixe en augmentant nettement le nombre de leurs demandes.

Les subventions du CRSH jouent un rôle essentiel dans le financement et la formation de nos étudiants gradués. Il est de l’intérêt de la philosophie au Canada et de nos programmes d’études supérieures que le plus grand nombre de professeurs et chercheurs éligibles se portent candidats. Il peut être pénible, voire décourageant de ne pas être financé. Mais il peut être profitable d’élaborer un programme de recherche et le modeste effort requis pour réviser un projet, précédemment refusé, peut valoir amplement la peine : il semble bien établi, en effet, qu’un programme similaire de recherche peut recevoir une note insuffisante une année et se voir financer l'année suivante, pour diverses raisons (ajustement du budget, lettres d’évaluation différentes, changement dans la composition du comité, autres champs d’application). Cette année, plusieurs excellentes demandes ont manqué de très peu d'être financées.

## SEP Entry on Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem

Submitted by Richard Zach on Mon, 11/11/2013 - 4:59pm

The Stanford Encyclopedia finally has an entry on Gödel's incompleteness theorem (by Panu Raatikainen).

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/goedel-incompleteness/

## LaTeX for Philosophers

Submitted by Richard Zach on Sat, 11/09/2013 - 11:49am

This last Thursday I held a little workshop to tell our graduate students about LaTeX.  Since LaTeX is fairly commonly used by philosophers, I thought they should at least know what it's all about.  I made a presentation (the handout version contains additional info).  I didn't have time to provide a list of documents/sites to check out or detailed instructions (and wouldn't really know how to do that, as e.g., I haven't installed TeX on a Windows machine in at least a decade, and never on a Mac).  We did play around with a few packages and experiment with BibTeX as a group.  Nice that WriteLaTeX lets you do that without even signing up for a free account!

PDFs of the presentation are attached to this post if you want to have a look, and the source code is on my GitHub.  I unlicense'd it, so feel free to use it for your own workshops on LaTeX for Philosophers (or other non-techy acedemics).  Suggestions for additions, requests for changes, typos, etc.: comment and/or file an issue on GitHub.

## Gillian Russell Interviewed on 3:AM

Submitted by Richard Zach on Fri, 09/27/2013 - 9:12am

## Awodey Explains Significance of Homotopy Type Theory to Philosophy of Mathematics

Submitted by Richard Zach on Thu, 07/25/2013 - 12:12pm

Steve Awodey (CMU) explains the relevance of the foundational program of homotopy type theory and the univalence axiom to the philosophy of mathematics in a new preprint, "Structuralism, Invariance, and Univalence."

## Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems Formally Verified

Submitted by Richard Zach on Fri, 07/12/2013 - 6:24am

Going through old emails, I found the following announcement by Larry Paulson, posted to the FOM list by Jeremy Avigad.  Good stuff, including the link to Stanis?aw ?wierczkowski's monograph in Dissertationes Mathematicae where he carries out the proof of the incompleteness theorems in HF, the theory of hereditarily finite sets.

## Ergo, An Open Access Journal of Philosophy

Submitted by Richard Zach on Thu, 07/11/2013 - 6:30am

http://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/ergo

Ergo is a general, open access philosophy journal accepting submissions on all philosophical topics and from all philosophical traditions. This includes, among other things: history of philosophy, work in both the analytic and continental traditions, as well as formal and empirically informed philosophy.

Ergo uses a triple-anonymous peer review process and aims to return decisions within two months on average.

## PBS: Math Might Not Actually Exist

Submitted by Richard Zach on Thu, 06/06/2013 - 2:31am

The online Youtube channel PBS Ideas is doing a segment on the realism/antirealism debate in the philosophy of mathematics as one of "10 Unanswered Questions of Science".

## LaTeX Package for Typesetting Fitch Proofs LPL-Style

Submitted by Richard Zach on Thu, 05/16/2013 - 11:07am

You probably already know about the two packages that you can use to typeset Fitch-style natural deducation proofs in LaTeX.  Here's another, which you may be interested in if you use Barker-Plummer, Barwise, and Etchemendy's popular logic text Language, Proof, and Logic. It makes proofs like this:

## Formal Epistemology and the Legacy of Logical Empiricism

Submitted by Richard Zach on Wed, 04/24/2013 - 11:54pm

If you're in Austin, you probably know this already. If you're not, it's probably too late. But this is what I'll be doing this weekend:

## Running Beamer Presentations from Your Phone

Submitted by Richard Zach on Wed, 04/17/2013 - 1:27pm

Have you ever given a presentation at a conference using your laptop, and then were annoyed that you had to carry aroudn the thing for the entire rest of the evening?  It happens to me all the time. By which I mean, once in a great while, but I nevertheless though it would be cool if I could give my presentation just from my phone (a Samsung Nexus).  Just in case I can help other mathematicians/philosophers/scientists with either a bad back or a tendency to leave bags in restaurants, here's how I did it:

## Gillian Russell on Logical Pluralism

Submitted by Richard Zach on Wed, 04/17/2013 - 10:11am

New entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia:
Logical Pluralism

## How To Get A Job Outside Academia With a Ph.D. in Philosophy

Submitted by Richard Zach on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 9:27am

We train professional philosophers. Sadly, there aren't enough philosophy jobs to go around, and it's hard to pursue a career in philosophy if you can't move to wherever you find a job.  Fortunately, philosophers have transferable skills that are in high demand. Prospective employers just don't associate these skills with "Ph.D. in philosophy".  The challenge is to overcome this.

## Logic in the Philosophy Undergraduate Curriculum

Submitted by Richard Zach on Thu, 02/21/2013 - 12:33pm

The ASL Committee in Logic Education organized a thought-provoking session this morning at the APA Central Division in New Orleans.  There were four presentations and a lively discussion.  What are your thoughts?

## Turing Centenary Lectures

Submitted by Richard Zach on Mon, 01/21/2013 - 7:49pm

All six of last year's lectures we had at Calgary's Turing Year series are now available for you to watch on mathtube.org. Thanks again to PIMS for videotaping, editing, and hosting them!  The full list:

## Alan Turing Centenary Videos on Mathtube

Submitted by Richard Zach on Mon, 04/16/2012 - 7:12pm

The first half of our Alan Turing Centenary lecture series is over, and we've got all three of our talks up on mathtube.org.  You can skip the first one, it's pretty boring, but Mike Williams on early computers and John Ferris on Turing and WWII codebreaking are well worth your time!

## Alan Turing Year in Calgary

Submitted by Richard Zach on Thu, 03/15/2012 - 10:00am

It's Alan Turing's centenary, and we've been celebrating it at the University of Calgary with a series of lectures.  This term, we've had a talk on the decision problem, one (by Mike Williams) on Turing and early electronic comupters, and one coming up on March 27, by John Ferris, on Alan Turing and codebreaking in WWII.  Yesterday, we screened the biopic Breaking the Code, with Derek Jacobi as Alan Turing (which you can watch on YouTube in its entirety!).

## Senior Position in Logic and Philosophy of Science at Calgary!

Submitted by Richard Zach on Wed, 03/14/2012 - 10:04am

Been waiting a while for this to become official, which it now is: we're hiring. In case you don't know, the CRC program is Canada's effort to attract outstanding foreigntalent to Canada. So there is no preference for Canadians, you get atop-up to your salary, and the teaching load is 1-1.

## Ruth Barcan Marcus, 1921-2012

Submitted by Richard Zach on Wed, 03/14/2012 - 9:49am

Ruth Barcan Marcus died February 19. She was a towering figure in philosophical logic in the latter half of the 20th century.  She initiated the study of quantified modal logic in her 1946 JSL paper, "A functional calculus of first order based on strict implication".  Facing strong opposition from Quine, who thought quantified modal logic was incoherent, her work was only taken up years later.  It is now recognized as the seminal contribution that it was.

## Postdoc in Logic or Philosophy of Science

Submitted by Richard Zach on Mon, 02/06/2012 - 11:11pm

We got a 1-year job for you!

Submitted by Richard Zach on Sat, 01/07/2012 - 7:54pm

The title essay of Quine's The Ways of Paradox was originally published in the Scientific American 206 (April 1962).

## Easly Digestible 2nd Incompleteness Theorem

Submitted by Richard Zach on Mon, 12/19/2011 - 5:25pm

## Ernst Specker, 1920-2011

Submitted by Richard Zach on Sat, 12/17/2011 - 10:12am

Ernst Specker died on December 10, in Zurich.  He is most well-known for his work on Quine's New Foundations and the Kochen-Specker Theorem in quantum mechanics. He made significant contributions to many other areas of logic, as well as algebra, topology, and combinatorics.

## Possibly the Best xkcd Ever

Submitted by Richard Zach on Sat, 11/26/2011 - 4:02pm