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Advice for (not just) mathematicians

Submitted by Richard Zach on Thu, 04/19/2007 - 7:28am

As Shawn said, much of Terence Tao's advice applies not just to mathematician, but also to philosophers (especially the "be considerate to your audience" and "talks are not the same as papers" parts, although disciplinary culture in philosophy seems still to deny at least the latter). I sometimes wish more people would use the wastebasket, too.

Logic job at Auckland, NZ

Submitted by Richard Zach on Thu, 04/19/2007 - 7:19am

The Department of Philosophy, University of Auckland, seeks to appoint a Lecturer in Logic. (Vacancy number: A248-07O. The position is a continuing one.) The successful applicant will be expected to undertake research, and to teach at introductory undergraduate, advanced undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and to supervise research students for the MA and PhD degrees. Applicants will be expected to have a PhD or equivalent in Philosophy, some research publications and some teaching experience.

Early Development of Set Theory

Submitted by Richard Zach on Wed, 04/11/2007 - 1:15am

Another one of the SEP entries commissioned by Paolo and me: The Early Development of Set Theory, by José Ferreirós, author of Labyrinth of Thought.


Submitted by Richard Zach on Fri, 03/30/2007 - 8:36pm

Ok, by popular demand, here's a list of the books in the new banner image:

Ramsey, The Foundations of Mathematics
Hilbert and Bernays, Grundlagen der Mathematik I & II (2nd ed)
Carnap, Logical Syntax of Language
Kneale and Kneale, The Development of Logic
Tarski, Einführung in die mathematische Logik

Changes II

Submitted by Richard Zach on Fri, 03/30/2007 - 1:48pm

Ok, it looks like the move worked. Please let me know if you notice anything broken. And, if you're reading this on a feed reader, check out the new site design for a second.


Submitted by Richard Zach on Thu, 03/29/2007 - 5:07pm

The University of Calgary is moving its websites to a Content Management System (Drupal, to be specific). My homepage is scheduled to be migrated tonight. Now, I've tried very hard to not break any URLs or links (the IT people probably hate me by now), but there will be some changes. For instance, all the PDFs of my papers will be in But maybe something goes wrong, and my site and LogBlog won't be accessible tomorrow.

TYPES Summer School 2007

Submitted by Richard Zach on Thu, 03/29/2007 - 4:59pm
TYPES Summer School 2007
Proofs of Programs and Formalisation of Mathematics

August 19-31 2007, Bertinoro, Italy

Paul Cohen, 1934-2007

Submitted by Richard Zach on Sun, 03/25/2007 - 8:22am

Paul Cohen died on Friday of a rare lung disease. This came over FOM today:

We are very sorry to tell you that Paul Cohen has suddenly passed away.

He has had a rare lung disease for maybe two years now, but symptoms only began to really manifest about a year ago. We did not know that the disease had progressed nearly as much as it clearly had.

Philosophy Spin-offs

Submitted by Richard Zach on Wed, 03/21/2007 - 2:26pm

Mark Lance posted this insightful message to FOM yesterday, in response to this thread on "progress in philosophy":

Icosidodecahedral prismatohexacosihecatonicosachoron

Submitted by Richard Zach on Tue, 03/20/2007 - 3:55pm

Alasdair Urquhart was nice enough to identify the model that's dominating the lounge at BIRS. It's an icosidodecahedral prismatohexacosihecatonicosachoron, and is made of 120 icosidodecahedra, 600 cuboctahedra, 720 pentagonal prisms, its faces are 3600 triangles, 3600 squares, 1440 pentagons, and it has 10,800 edges.

Species/the Reasoner

Submitted by Richard Zach on Sat, 03/17/2007 - 10:24am

My colleague Marc has updated his SEP entry on Species. Jon Willimason is starting a new online thing called The Reasoner.

The Reasoner is a monthly digest highlighting exciting new research on reasoning and interesting new arguments. It is interdisciplinary, covering research in, e.g., philosophy, logic, AI, statistics, cognitive science, law, psychology, mathematics and the sciences.

The Reasoner welcomes submissions:

Logician attacked by Alligator at ASL Meeting

Submitted by Richard Zach on Tue, 03/13/2007 - 6:01am

Ok, I wasn't really attacked so much as passed by. Anyway, the slides for my talk at the Annual Meeting are here.

Greg blogs the Banff Workshop

Submitted by Richard Zach on Fri, 02/23/2007 - 9:30am

Thanks to Greg for (almost) liveblogging the Banff workshop on Mathematical Methods in Philosophy. So go to Greg's blog to find out what happened!

The Nature of Mathematical Proof

Submitted by Richard Zach on Thu, 02/22/2007 - 8:05pm

In his talk this morning, Grisha Mints referred to a paper by Paul Cohen. He didn't have the reference handy, so I tracked it down:

Paul J. Cohen, Skolem and pessimism about proof in mathematics. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A (2005) 363, 2407–2418.

The entire issue, on meeting on "The nature of mathmatical proof" organized by Alan Bundy in 2004, is of interest:

LaTeX trick: rising diagonal dots

Submitted by Richard Zach on Tue, 02/20/2007 - 9:24pm

Just in case you ever need it: \ddots going the other direction:


Then you can say: \varepsilon_0= \omega^{\omega^{\Ddots}}


Submitted by Richard Zach on Tue, 02/20/2007 - 6:15pm

For some reason I missed the memo that said that Kenny Easwaran's blog moved from to his Berkeley webspace.

Modality Morning

Submitted by Richard Zach on Tue, 02/20/2007 - 5:44pm

This morning has two talks on modal logic: first up was Marcus Kracht with a survey on the development of modal logic; now Steve Awodey is reporting on joint work with Kishida on topological semantics of first-order modal logic. Marcus talked about some interesting results in the mathematics of modal logic, especially general semantics for first-order modal logic. Steve's talk is old-skool chalkboard math, with pretty drawings. I just learned what sheaf is. He has a beautiful model theory for first-order S4 in terms of sheaves.

Why the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index doesn't mean anything in philosophy

Submitted by Richard Zach on Tue, 02/20/2007 - 7:15am

Ok. Brit posted about it. Apparently some people claim that the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index (FSP) shows something about the rankings produced by the Philosophical Gourmet Report (PGR) (e.g., that they're off). But it doesn't.

Strict Conditional in LaTeX

Submitted by Richard Zach on Wed, 02/14/2007 - 2:42am

I just had occasion to have to typeset Lewis's strict conditional symbol <img src="/rzach/%3Ca%20href%3D""">" alt="- in LaTeX. It turns out it isn't in the standard AMS fonts. Peter Smith's LaTeX for Logicians to the rescue! There I found:

Kurt Gödel in the Stanford Encyclopedia

Submitted by Richard Zach on Tue, 02/13/2007 - 8:42pm

Juliette Kennedy's entry on Kurt Gödel has just been published in in the Stanford Encyclopedia.

(It took a long time to get this done because of all the formulas that needed to be converted into HTML. If you find a mistake, please let Juliette or me know.)

Philosophy Genealogy

Submitted by Richard Zach on Tue, 02/13/2007 - 6:29pm

I just noticed that Josh Dever's Philosophy Family Tree now comes with a little Java applet that gives you a list of your philosophical ancestors (easier to use than the PDF list).

Josh, any plans to make the tree capable of dealing with more than one advisor?

Logic Degree Programs?

Submitted by Richard Zach on Thu, 02/08/2007 - 9:38am

I'm giving a talk on Friday for a general audience, and I thought it would be cute to claim in the little blurb about me that I am "probably the only person in the world who holds both undergraduate and doctoral degrees in logic." Several people have asked me if that's really true, and now I wonder myself. There aren't many programs that offer degrees in logic (and by this I mean: degrees that have "logic" in the name of the degree but not as a specialization of, say, mathematics, and also not a degree in mathematics with a thesis that happened to be in logic).

Help Studia Logica get into ISI

Submitted by Richard Zach on Tue, 02/06/2007 - 3:37pm

Studia Logica is a very good journal, and it should be indexed in ISI. Help us by recommending it!

Stanley's Erdős Number is 5

Submitted by Richard Zach on Sun, 02/04/2007 - 8:08pm

Over dinner yesterday, Jason and I got to talking about Erdős numbers of various people. He didn't know his, so I looked it up--the Mathematical Reviews database MathSciNet has a "compute collaboration distance" function in the author search.

The Mexican Multiplier Trounces Dr. Evil in Large Number Duel

Submitted by Richard Zach on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 7:04pm

Agustín Rayo wins over Adam Elga, uses "googol" and a variant of Berry's paradox in knock-out punch: see here.

Gödel quote

Submitted by Richard Zach on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 6:29pm

Varol Akman kindly sent a link to this picture of the poster advertising the Gödel exhibition in Vienna, with the nice quote: "Today philosophy has arrived, at best, at the point mathematics was at in Babylonian times."

Jason Stanley coming to Calgary

Submitted by Richard Zach on Wed, 01/31/2007 - 9:02pm

Unfortunately, only for a talk: this Friday at 4, "Knowledge and Action," in SS 1253. He hasn't told us what specifically he will be speaking about, but I'm sure it's going to be excellent.

Quantifiers and Claims about the Inferiority of Women

Submitted by Richard Zach on Tue, 01/30/2007 - 4:09am

My colleague Elizabeth Brake pointed out to me a wonderful passage in the "1706 Preface" to Mary Astell's Reflections upon Marriage, in which she's criticizing William Nicholls' claim (in The Duty of Inferiors towards their Superiors, in Five Practical Discourses (London 1701), Discourse IV: The Duty of Wives to their Husbands), that women are naturally inferior to men.


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