Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Talk@UGent: Model-theoretic constructions without actual infinity (M. Czarnecki)

At 5 p.m. on January 7, Marek Czarnecki (Warsaw University) will give a talk at the Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science (room 2.30). If you're around, feel free to drop by.

We base on the notion of FM-representability introduced by M. Mostowski as an explication of representability without actual infinity.  By Mostowski’s FM-representability theorem and Shoenfield’s Limit Lemma FM-representable notions  are  exactly  those  which  uniformly  computable  limits  of  computable notions  i.e.   which  are  constructible  in  finitistic  sense  (by  true  constructions, not constructions relative to some uncomputable oracle).
We introduce the notion of concrete models - FM-representable models - and consider the feasibility of classical model-theoretic constructions in concrete models framework.  The aim is to identify the finitistic content of model theory - the part that has a computational meaning.
More philosophically - studying concrete models provides with a better understanding of mathematical structures that are cognitively accessible and can be algorithmically learned.  They can also be used for representing epistemologically feasible approximated representations of reality and cognitively accessible semantics.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Gender, logic events, public transport

As is well known, the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy organizes a summer school on mathematical philosophy for female students. I deeply admire the work and organizational skills of the members of MCMP. Organizing a logic event for female students turned out to be somewhat controversial - so I just wanted to briefly comment on standard reactions I've encountered (I'll use some examples I've seen/heard).


On one hand, some people think that the implicature is that women are somehow worse in logic and therefore need extra tutoring. I don't think this criticism is viable. Logic needs to be promoted more among women not because they are worse in logic, but rather because there are not enough women in logic, despite them being perfectly capable of doing the research (I recall a logician saying that nowadays being a logician is like being in a barrel full of dicks. Wording aside, the person who made this comment did have a point.) There are also good methodological reasons to exclude males from the participation in the summer school - their presence tends to have detrimental impact on the performance of female students (see the summary here, or the relevant section of this survey paper).

On the other hand, some argue that when you organize a workshop, you have the right to select participants so that you think it's fun to hang out with them. I'll quote anonymously:
I just think that any logic related event is just fun. I like to learn it in any circumstances. It is like partying, I like to go out with my boyfriends and girlfriends, and I like ladies nights.

Now, I  don't think this is a viable strategy either. (I have already written about closed workshops, but I'll elaborate on this one.) Of course, you are more than welcome to hang out and have fun with anyone you prefer to have fun with, in your spare time and at your own expense. If you organize a scientific workshop, you are paid salary with public money to spend a bunch of public money to organize a scientific event - and therefore, your goals should be aligned with the academic goals of the institution you work for.

Now, this doesn't mean the sole criterion for participation should be research performance. For instance, excluding some jerks from the participation in a conference just because you know them to be jerks is rather okay, because their presence would hurt the academic quality of the conference (for instance, younger researchers could be afraid to disagree or to vote their concerns, or could be caused to give up on a line of research not because of good arguments they heard but because of hurtful comments by some (in?)competent asshole).

Yet, deciding on a ladies' night just because it sounds fun and you want to hang out with girls would be too much. Because then you would be excluding participants clearly for personal reasons that have nothing to do with the spirit of academia. If the summer school for female students was organized for this reason, I think it would be a pretty bad motivation.

But I don't think this is the reason. Rather, the ultimate goal is not for anyone to have fun at a ladies' night (albeit, this probably will be a nice side-effect), but to improve the situation in the field gender-wise, and it seems to me that at this point organizing this summer school will contribute to this academically desirable goal.

This doesn't mean that the ultimate ideal is to have separate logic events for women. I can't stop thinking that organizing such events is a bit like having separate train compartments for women only  in places where they don't feel safe or comfortable travelling with men. To some extent, this improves on the existing situation and is needed, but on the other hand, the very need of such compartments is a sign of  deeper problems that have to be handled.

Another observation that some people make is that the most of the instructors at the summer school are male. [Thanks Nicole for correcting me about the current list of speakers. It's 4 women, 3 men.] But [even if there were more men than women], I don't think that this is an objection. The very problem to be handled is how dominated by males logic is, and so it is no surprise that NOW there are more male instructors (as long as the ratio of women instructors at least corresponds to the ratio of women researchers in the field - which it clearly is in this case is something I didn't check for this event). And there is nothing wrong with male instructors trying to change the situation (and the ratio) by teaching at this summer school.




Monday, December 2, 2013

Applications of Logic in Philosophy and Foundations of Mathematics XIX

Traditionally, Janusz Czelakowski, Tomasz Połacik and Marcin Selinger will organize another in this wonderful series of conferences in Szklarska Poręba, a small town in Polish mountains (which is slightly annoying to get to, but quite beautiful once you're there). It will take place May 5-9, 2014. The information isn't on the conference website but I guess it will be there soon(er or later). If you feel like hanging out with Polish logicians in a place like that, talking about the foundations of mathematics and other geeky things, I highly recommend going.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

TiL XIV reminder


This is just a reminder that the submission deadline for Trends in Logic XIV (The road less travelled. Off-stream applications of formal methods), January 6, is approaching.

More details about the conference:

Please observe that there will be TWO Trends in Logic conferences next year, the other one being Trends in Logic XIII (Gentzen's and Jaśkowski's heritage; 80 years of natural deduction and sequent calculi).  More details about TiL XIII can be found here: http://filozof.uni.lodz.pl/trends/


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cons and cons of closed workshops

In Europe (at least in logic and/or philosophy) the dominant model of a conference involves:
  • a few invited speakers,
  • some contributed papers (acceptance is usually based on abstracts).
Some conferences diverge from this model. Sometimes, there are no invited speakers (e.g. EetN 2013). Sometimes, full contributions are required and reviewed (e.g. EetN 2010, EetN 2011, EetN 2013, TiL XIV). Sometimes, there are no contributed papers (on purpose, I won't give any example) and the only speakers are those who were invited by the organizers. 

On the face of it, closed workshops/conferences are kinda cool:
  • If you're the organizer:
    • You don't have to prepare and distribute your CFP.
    • You don't have to collect and manage the submissions.
    • You don't have to find referees to review the submissions.
    • You don't have to message the contributors with the results.
    • Some of the speakers might later invite you to their closed event.
  • If you're an invited speaker, you might feel a bit better about yourself because you were chosen for a closed workshop (although, if you're not too insane, it's rather unlikely; I think the fact that the event is closed shouldn't add any value to your being invited).
  • If you're a participant, there are some options:
    • You're one of the organizers and then you have fun because you get to spend some research money on hanging out with good old friends without the uneasiness of meeting new people, making sure they're comfortable and whatnot. 
    • You're the invited speaker and then you have fun because you hang out with the crowd you know and like.
    • You're a graduate student: either from the institution that organizes the workshop, or you're one of those lucky people who study under the supervision of one of the speakers who decided to use their research grant to help you cover the trip costs and convinced the organizers to allow you to come. Then you're sort of happy because you get to do some networking and attend a (hopefully) interesting workshop.
A moment of reflection should lead you to the observation that none of these supposed advantages is academically relevant. Actually, closing your workshop to external submissions makes things worse:
  • Since the organizers are only going to invite people they know or they know of, the extent to which the selection of participants is going to be gender-biased is only up to them. And we've seen quite a few workshops where most (or all) speakers were male - not because the organizers are evil, not because women are not good logicians or philosophers, but rather because whoever you are, your own picture of people in the field is going to be limited by various factors that shouldn't be relevant and it seems that currently some of those factors make male researchers more likely to be invited. If, on the other hand, your conference is open to submissions and those are blind-refereed, you have a higher change of discovering female researchers you haven't heard of even though they're pretty awesome.
  • The point generalizes. Your view of people in the field is limited. By closing your workshop to submissions you miss out on meeting researchers doing interesting stuff whom you've never heard of.
  • Also, as a consequence, you're especially discriminating against young researchers: if they're not in your field of vision, they're not even allowed to compete for the right to present their views and to participate in the discussions. Senior scholars are likely to be invited here and there, but younger scholars have pretty low chances of becoming members of your in-crowd, unless their supervisor is in a position to help them. This is far from meritocratic.
  • You might think that by hand-picking the speakers you ensure that the level of the workshop is high. But you really don't:
    • Sometimes invited speakers make less effort preparing their presentations. Why the hell would they make the extra effort? They get invited anyway and they are usually more torn between various events they have to go to and they have to prepare for each of them. Many times I've seen an invited speaker doing a poor or only decent job or just reading their paper aloud without being properly prepared.
    • The person having the most impact on the quality of accepted contributed papers is you. The point of the review procedure is to select good submissions. Of course, if the selection is based on abstracts only, there's a chance of getting a bad talk. But it's still trumped by the chance of getting a good talk you wouldn't hear if there were no contributed papers. (Also, if you worry about the quality of contributed talks, require full papers rather than abstracts.) 
  • Another problem is that you not only prevent young scholars from presenting their work relying on non-meritocratic factors, but also prevent most of them from being in the audience. Even if in principle anyone can come to the talks, quite rarely a scholar from out of town will be able to have their trip covered if they don't give a presentation, not to mention the case of coming from abroad.
  • Also, if all you do is give a talk to the organizers and  invited speakers whom you've known for a while,  giving a talk at a closed workshop won't contribute to popularizing your views and getting useful feedback you didn't think of as much as giving a talk at a standard workshop/conference would.
  • Perhaps, you could argue that organizing a closed workshop is better than not doing anything and that it requires less effort on the part of the organizers. Still, I think the additional effort of going out of your comfort zone and having contributed presentations isn't that great when compared to the advantages mentioned above.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A general audience paper on Lesniewski's Mereology

This material is intended for a general audience. The paper is  forthcoming in European Review (special issue on Logic and Philosophy in Poland). I would like to express my gratitude to Dagfinn Follesdal for his comments.

It's not going to be terribly surprising if phil of math is your thing, but for an exposition it's almost bearable (he said proudly).

Also, p. 7 par. 5 from the bottom and fn. 13 give you an example of what logician's revenge looks like (and how harmless it is).

[EDIT: Thanks to Paweł Pawłowski for his correction.]
[EDIT 2: Thanks to Jack MacIntosh (this one, not this one) for his comments and a pointer to Lowe's paper.]

Monday, October 28, 2013

Nominalistic plural quantification paper is out...

...in Synthese (Open Access). Thanks to Oystein Linnebo for discussion and comments.


Title: Plural quantifiers: a modal interpretation

Abstract: One of the standard views on plural quantification is that its use commits one to the existence of abstract objects–sets. On this view claims like ‘some logicians admire only each other’ involve ineliminable quantification over subsets of a salient domain. The main motivation for this view is that plural quantification has to be given some sort of semantics, and among the two main candidates—substitutional and set-theoretic—only the latter can provide the language of plurals with the desired expressive power (given that the nominalist seems committed to the assumption that there can be at most countably many names). To counter this approach I develop a modal-substitutional semantics of plural quantification (on which plural variables, roughly speaking, range over ways names could be) and argue for its nominalistic acceptability.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Hellman on mereology in mathematics

I generally admire the work of Geoffrey Hellman, so I was excited to read his preprint titled Mereology in Philosophy of Mathematics, to be included in Handbook of Mereology. While the paper is well-written and quite informative, I find it highly disappointing in terms of whom it gives credit to.

When talking about using mereology in metatheory in order to describe the syntax of a given system, Hellman writes:
In their "Steps Toward a Constructive Nominalism", Goodman and Quine used mereology along with a short list of syntactic primitive predicates of concrete marks or inscriptions intended to reconstruct enough formal syntax of mathematical language to serve as the basis of a formalist, nominalistic account of mathematics as a symbolic, rule-governed activity...
thus crediting Goodman and Quine with this approach. (Goodman and Quine are also often wrongly credited with the formulation of Mereology). Nowhere in his paper does Hellman mention Stanislaw Lesniewski, a Polish logician who actually formulated Mereology and applied it in his metatheoretic description of the syntax of his logical systems motivated by nominalism some, I don't know,  thirty years before Goodman and Quine's  Steps towards constructive nominalism.

I understand that being educated in English-speaking institutions only will result in some bias, but I do fail to understand why a survey on mereology in philosophy of mathematics completely fails to mention the guy who formulated mereology with the intention of constructing foundations of mathematics and spent most of his research working on this stuff.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Logic Conference Spree (Ghent, July 2014)

So the dates are now settled! Next summer Ghent will host three fun logic-and-philosophy-of-science-related events in a row!

  • First, we'll host HOPOS 2014 (History and Philosophy of Science), July 3-6. (The local organizer is Maarten Van Dyck. There's a chance he won't dress like that, but still, HOPOS might be worth your time.)
  • Then, we'll have Trends in Logic XIV (aka Entia et Nomina IV), July 8-11. The conference is titled: The road less travelled. Off-stream applications of formal methods. (I am the local organizer, but I'll be just slacking around and delegating most of the work to other organizers, Gillman Payette, Agnieszka Rostalska and Inge De Bal.)
  • Next, we'll host DEON conference, July 12-14, focused on deontic logics. (The local organizer is Joke Meheus.)
For now, the only event fancy enough to have a webpage is HOPOS, but we're on it (well, you should see a tab devoted to TiL above, but the page has no content yet). Stay tuned!

[EDIT: don't forget about Vienna Summer of Logic, especially the Logic Colloquium, July 14-19.]

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Recent stats about Polish academia, some hasty remarks

Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education has recently published this year's report on higher education in Poland. While the topic doesn't have much to do with logic, here are some points that caught my attention, together with my (sociologically incompetent) remarks.
  • FACT The number of students: 390 409 in 1990, peaking at 1 953 832 in 2005, now dropping and reaching 1 764 060 in 2011. While in 1990 the ratio of students among citizens aged 19-24 was 9,8% in 1990, it peaked at 40,9 in 2009 and is slowly dropping, having reached 40,6 in 2011.
    REMARK This shouldn't be taken as a direct measure of how educated the Polish society is. There are many factors which make (say) a Master's from 1990 in principle more valuable than that from 2010.
    - While there is a bunch of public higher education institutions (including 19 universities), there were practically no private higher education institutions in 1990 - so 100% of full time university students studied at public universities. In contrast, in 2006 there were 1 329 000 students at public institutions and 593000 at private institutions. While some of the private institutions are famously awesome, most of them provide education of somewhat lower quality than the one you can get at a public university and sometimes going to a private school is a contingency plan for a public institution applicant (cf. table 69, where 86% graduates from a public university would have chosen it again, compared to 76% graduates from a private institution - but even that is not an adequate measure of the quality of education, for many reasons).
    - The salaries at universities in Poland aren't always terribly exciting. In fact, more than 20% university professors in Poland hold at least two positions at different institutions (table 38). This means that the average time and effort they devote to a student is less than what you'd wish it to be (and also, that the amount of time they can devote to research is lower). In fact, I am surprised the table shows only 20% - I suspect they haven't registered many faculty members who teach at other institutions only part-time. (By the way, I don't think the Polish database of academic staff which they relied on is a reliable source of information - just a month ago I had to correct their information by explaining I got a PhD in 2008). This, of course, has some bearing on how to read the information in table 34 in a section titled "Availability of faculty to students". Table 34 tells us that there are around 15 students per a faculty member at a public institution, comparing it to around 16 in USA and 19 in Belgium. Given that 20% of faculty members work at at least two institutions, they're counted at least twice. Not to mention that the ratio itself is not a good measure of availability of faculty to students, which should be assessed in a definitely more complicated manner. (For instance, relatively strong hierarchization of academia in Poland is bound to make students spend less time asking extra questions, attending office hours etc.)
    - Nowadays, some public university faculties have to struggle to maintain a certain number of students (especially given the raise of private competition and the decrease in the number of young people in general). University senates often put minima on the number of students you have to have to keep the program running (for instance, I think at UGdansk, at least at my faculty, you have to have at least 25 BA full-time students in year one to start a new academic year with and you have to have at least 15 students who sign up for an optional course to start it) - in effect the faculty feels somewhat pressed to let some people pass the exams even if they shouldn't, just to make sure there is enough students to keep things going. 
  • FACT At universities there are around 1.8 PhD students per a professor (table 45).
    REMARK For one thing, some of the departments and schools have no PhD program, so faculty members do not supervise PhD students there. Also, usually, only a certain selected number of professors actually supervise PhD students, so from my experience it is more common to have one or two profs at a department in Poland who supervise 5-20 PhD students and quite a few who supervise no PhD students. It would be much more interesting to see how many PhD students there are per a professor who actually supervises at least one PhD student.
That's it for now, comments welcome.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Two jobs at Warsaw University (logic, phil of sci)

There are two jobs at the level of Adjunct Professor (but I think they're fixed-term). One in logic and one in philosophy of science. The postings are in Polish, but from what I gather, they actually need someone who would teach in English, and none of the postings literally require that the applicant should speak Polish. The calls are available here:

http://www.uw.edu.pl/strony/praca/nauk/adiunkt_logika.pdf
http://www.uw.edu.pl/strony/praca/nauk/wfis_a.pdf

The deadline is June 14, the decisions are  to be made on June 25.

The calls don't mention who you should contact with informal inquiries, but the chair of logic is directed by Prof. Anna Wójtowicz and the chair of philosophy of science is directed by Prof. Krzysztof Wójtowicz

Leśniewski book

My book on Leśniewski, Leśniewski's Systems of Logic and Foundations of Mathematics, is coming out soon (it's already available on Springer's website). It is not my PhD dissertation. I wrote the whole book pretty much anew and only part of the material overlaps with my dissertation. And even the stuff that I already included in my dissertation is different: I re-worked the material to make it more accessible and slightly less boring (probably failing at least at the latter task). HT to Severi Hamari, who co-authored one of the chapters.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Two logic research jobs in Warsaw

Joanna Golińska-Pilarek's project "Logics for Qualitative Reasoning" requires some staff. One postdoc and one predoc position available. More details:
http://www.logicsforqr.uw.edu.pl/positions.html

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cfp: phil of information and intensionality in mathematics



New: Deadline Extended to Monday, March 11th

The Department of Philosophy at Lund University, Sweden, hosts two back-to-back workshops on:
The Philosophy of Information and Information Quality
Friday, May 10, 2013
http://www.fil.lu.se/index.php?id=18880
and
Intensionality in Mathematics
Saturday and Sunday, May 11-12, 2013
http://www.fil.lu.se/index.php?id=18879

INVITED SPEAKERS

Friday
Luciano Floridi (University of Hertfordshire, UK, www.philosophyofinformation.net)
Phyllis Illari (University College London, UK, www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/staff/illari)
Kevin Korb (Monash University, Australia, www.csse.monash.edu.au/~korb/)

Saturday and Sunday
Francesca Boccuni (University Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy, http://francescaboccuni.wordpress.com/)
Walter Dean (University of Warwick, http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/philosophy/people/faculty/dean/)
Fredrik Engström (University of Gothenburg, http://engstrom.morot.org/)
Janet Folina (Macalester College, USA, http://www.macalester.edu/academics/philosophy/facultystaff/janetfolina/)
Leon Horsten (Bristol University, UK, http://www.bristol.ac.uk/school-of-arts/people/leon-f-horsten/index.html)
Martin Kåsa (University of Gothenburg, http://www.flov.gu.se/english/contact/staff/martin-kasa/)
Øystein Linnebo (University of Oslo, Norway, http://oysteinlinnebo.org/)
Sara Negri (Helsinki, http://www.helsinki.fi/~negri/)
Barbara Sarnecka (University of California, Irvine, USA, http://www.cogsci.uci.edu/cogdev/Sarnecka/index.html)
Gila Sher (UC Saint Diego, USA, http://philosophyfaculty.ucsd.edu/faculty/gsher/)

CALL FOR PAPERS
For each workshop, there are at least two slots for contributed papers. Please submit your abstract of max. 2000 words, prepared for blind review, to frank.zenker@fil.lu.se (Philosophy of Information) or to paula.quinon@fil.lu.se (Intensionality in Mathematics) no later than Monday MARCH 11 (Lund time). Please add separate author information, and see the above websites for background on these workshops. Travel cost, hotel, and board covered/subsidized. Budgetary approval pending, speakers may participate in (parts of) both workshops.

ORGANIZERS
Marianna Antonutti (Bristol University)
Carlo Proietti (Lund University)
Paula Quinon (Lund University)
Frank Zenker (Lund University)

Monday, February 18, 2013

This sentence is refutable (dualizing Goedel)

While the standard informal interpretation of Goedel's sentence:
[G]   I am (/This sentence is) not provable.
is quite well-known, it's dual sentence:
[DG] I am (/This sentence is) refutable.
studied, for instance, by Smullyan, isn't. Yet, pretty much like you can run an argument for incompleteness using the former, you can also run a parallel argument using the latter. Just because it's fun to see how this works (if you're geeky enough), here's how it goes (it's quite easy). 

For simplicity let's assume the background theory is sound (it proves only truths) and sufficiently expressive.

One of the easiest arguments for incompleteness using [G] goes like this.

  1. Suppose [G] is false. Then (because of what it says) it is provable, which contradicts soundness. So [G] is true.
  2. If [G] is true, it is not provable, so we have the first half of incompleteness.
  3. Given that [G] is true, its negation is false.
  4. If ~[G] is false, it cannot be provable, given soundness. This is the second half of incompleteness.
An analogous argument for [DG] is:

  1. Suppose [DG] is true. Then, by what it says, its negation is provable.
  2. If ~[DG] is provable, it is true (by soundness), so [DG] is false. 
  3. Assuming [DG] is true we inferred that it is false. So, unconditionally, [DG] is false.
  4. If [DG] is false, then (by soundness) it is not provable.
  5. If [DG] is false, ~[DG] is true, which means [DG] is not refutable. That is, ~[DG] is not provable either. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

CFP: Entia et Nomina III


The third conference within a series of logico-philosophical workshops I've been organizing is coming up. It will take place in Gdańsk, Poland (July 15-17, 2013). Accordingly, a call for papers is due. (The fourth one will take place in 2014 undercover as a Trends in Logic conference.) So here it is. Please distribute this information among your potentially interested colleagues.
(PDF version here.) 

Gdańsk University (Poland) and Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science at Ghent University (Belgium) invite submissions of papers related to the application of formal methods in philosophy, especially outside the narrow field of philosophy of logic and language. 

DETAILS

  • We plan around 12 presentation slots.
  • Each speaker will be given 30-60 minutes to present, depending on the length of the paper.
  • Each paper will be sent ahead of time to a participant who isn't its author with a request for a commentary.
  • Each presentation will be followed by 10-15 minutes of a commentary by another participant.
  • Each commentary will be followed by 15 minutes of discussion.
  • Each paper will be blind-reviewed by two referees, comments will be sent ahead of time to the author with (possible) request to revise the paper before forwarding it to the commentator.
  • Depending on the number of submissions, we might be unable to provide comments on rejected papers.
  • The language used is English.

As we think it is better to submit a paper  to a good journal than to a proceedings volume, there will be no proceedings volume.

SUBMISSION

Full papers, prepared for blind-review (accompanied by an email providing author details) should be sent in PDF format to entiaetnomina2013@gmail.com by April 1, 2013.


Rafal Urbaniak
Agnieszka Rostalska
Aleksandra Szulc

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Polish" student evening in Ghent

This is quite off-topic, but please bear with me.

After some moving around I am back in Belgium (Ghent). I discovered that while I was away, the local "student association which promotes active European citizenship and European integration" (this is from their description) organized a Polish evening. [Click on any of the images to enlarge.]

ITEM 1: The organization description from their Facebook profile. "Minos Ghent is a student association which promotes active European citizenship and European integration. With us you can attend debates and lectures, cultural evenings and exchange with our partner organizations."



They organized a Polish evening and to introduce people to Polish culture, they decided that people who dress up in typical Polish clothes will get free shots of vodka. Of course, traditional Polish clothes are those of plumbers and cleaning ladies.

ITEM 2: The event posting from their fb profile. The description reads: 
"The moment for all those interested to get to know us better!
We begin at 8 pm with an open meeting about what exactly we are planning this year. Starting at 9 pm we keep the good tradition of having an evening under the flag of the country holding the presidency of the European council. This semester it is Poland!
We fly firmly [we play hard?]! PLUMBERS AND CLEANING LADIES, there are free shots of vodka for those who come dressed up!
[irrelevant stuff]
Everyone is welcome!"



The organization was also kind enough to set up the room properly, so that everyone can see what Polish culture is all about. Apparently, it's sucking dicks:

ITEM 3. A picture from the party. On the wall: "Suck my dick" (misspelled, it should be "zrób mi loda". Next to the logo of Solidarity, the trade union among whose members was Lech Walesa, largely responsible for the fall of communism in Poland. (Google either of those if you don't know what they are.) 


By the way, two years ago, when I was trying to register with the City Hall, I had serious difficulties. One of them was that the City Hall decided that my contract with university is fake because "A Pole couldn't work for a university". Instead of a few days, my registration took around 6 months and required intervention from the Rector, the Polish Ambassador in Belgium and the Complaints section of the City Hall.

Having said this, most of the Belgians I interact with are very friendly and helpful and I wouldn't want to suggest that this is typical behavior.

HT to Celina Gazda for informing me about this. The FB links (I don't know how long they will be up) are here:

https://www.facebook.com/MinosGent/info

https://www.facebook.com/events/271776372844540/

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=233240926734712&set=a.233240856734719.56484.224529020939236&type=3&theater


Thursday, January 10, 2013

CFP (A CLPS13 symposium) - Nominalism and its foes: formal methods

Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science of Ghent University was founded in 1993. On the occasion of its 20th anniversary the Centre organizes an international Conference on Logic and Philosophy of Science (CLPS13). We will schedule parallel sessions with contributed papers and special symposia with a limited number of papers.

I am the organizer of a symposium titled:

NOMINALISM AND ITS FOES: FORMAL METHODS

If you're interested in presenting a paper at this symposium, please upload an abstract in PDF format (between 500 and 1000 words) to:
https://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=clps13 
by April 1, 2013

(You will be asked to choose between one of the following submission categories:
- Logical analysis of scientific reasoning processes
- Methodological and epistemological analysis of scientific reasoning processes
- Symposium submission
Select the last option and mention the symposium number - 7 - in the title of your abstract.)

--------------------
SYMPOSIUM DESCRIPTION
Nominalism denies the existence of abstract (aspatial, atemporal and acausal) entities. To develop a respectable version of nominalism, one has to (a) give arguments for nominalism, (b) develop arguments agains platonism and (c) show that a nominalist can make sense of valuable kinds of discourse which seem to be committed to abstract objects. Since around 1980s various mathematically elaborate nominalistic projects have been undertaken (and criticized) and the discussion concerning their viability is far from over.
In the symposium we will focus on the bearing that formal methods have on tasks (a-c). Formal methods can be used to:
 ▪ develop precise and (perhaps) cogent arguments for (or against) nominalism (or platonism),
 ▪ construct nominalistic accounts of various parts of discourse (in particular: nominalistic versions of certain mathematical or physical theories), and
 ▪ assess attempts to construct such accounts.
We welcome submissions pertaining to these and other applications of formal methods to philosophical questions related to nominalism.
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Important dates: 
Abstract submission deadline: April 1, 2013
Acceptance notification: May 15, 2013
Programme online: July 1, 2013
Conference: September 16-18, 2013
Conference website with more details:
http://www.clps13.ugent.be