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:

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:


If you're interested in presenting a paper at this symposium, please upload an abstract in PDF format (between 500 and 1000 words) to: 
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.)

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.
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: