Gödel Year 2006

2005 is Einstein Year. 2006 will be Gödel Year: on April 28, 2006, Kurt Gödel would have been 100 years old. So next year will be hectic if you want to hit all the Gödel-related events:

Gödel’s Philosophy, a session of the Boston Colloquium for Philosophy of Science, on February 27. Speakers: Juliette Kennedy, Palle Yourgrau, and Mark van Atten.

Truth and Proof: Kurt Gödel and the Foundations of Mathematics, a two-day conference at the University of Edinburgh, March 25 & 26. Speakers: John Dawson, Stewart Shapiro, Harvey Friedman, Torkel Franzén, Hannes Leitgeb, Panu Raatikainen, Philip Welch, Richard Zach

A symposium on Gödel in Brno, CZ, where Gödel was born, during the week of April 22-28. (No program yet.)

Horizons of Truth: Gödel Centenary 2006
, on April 27-29, which promises to be the highlight of the Gödel Year. This is a three-day affair in Vienna with a long list of speakers, including Gary Kasparov (!) at the conference banquet. Some of the invited speakers are: Paul Cohen, Sol Feferman, Harvey Friedman, Georg Kreisel, Roger Penrose, Hilary Putnam, Dana Scott, and Hugh Woodin.

Gödel Centenary: His Legacy for Computability, a special session at Computability in Europe, June 30-July 5, with speakers Torkel Franzén, Wilfried Sieg, and Richard Zach.

PS: This looks like a fun Einstein-related online event, happens tomorrow.

History of Logic Graduate Courses

I was looking around the Internets for courses in history of logic. I thought something like it would be hard to find–kind of an obscure and specialized topic. But then it turns out that Amsterdam’s ILLC requires such a course (Core Logic), and at Oxford it’s a history option (you can chose between The Rise of Logic and Modern Philosophy for your M.Litt., apparently). I hope this catches on. Do other grad programs offer such courses? I don’t think even CMU, Irvine, Notre Dame, or Berkeley do.

Master Class in Mathematical Logic, 2006/07

Gillian has already posted about it, but it can’t hurt to point to it again:


In the academic year 2006-2007 a year-long program of courses in Mathematical Logic is organized by MRI (Mathematical Research Institute) in The Netherlands (a cooperation of Dutch Universities).

The program is intended for advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students, and aims to provide them with a solid preparation for a possible Ph.D. studentship in the area. There are possibilities for fellowships for students. Students interested in fellowships should apply before January 15, 2006. The three basic concepts that are at the basis of Mathematical Logic (and which obtained a rigorous formulation roughly at the same time, in the twenties-thirties of the past century) are “proof”, “truth” and “computation”. Logicians defined a formal language and gave a precise meaning to the statement that a sentence of this formal language is “true” in an appropriate model. A formal “proof” is a structure of such sentences with a definite conclusion and premises. Gödel’s Completeness Theorem (the start of Logic as a scientific discipline) says that a sentence is true in every appropriate model, precisely if it is the conclusion of some proof. Around the same time (1930), the concept of an “algorithm” was defined, and the question whether certain problems could be effectively solved, could be studied. A famous example is Hilbert’s 10th problem: give an algorithm by which one can decide whether a given Diophantine equation has a solution in the integers. It could be shown in 1970 that such an algorithm cannot exist. Work on similar problems continues to this day.

In the second half of the twentieth century, Logic became prominent in several developments. The geometrically motivated notion of a “topos” turned out to have strong connections to Logic, and led to a revival of the study of Brouwer’s “intuitionism”. Another development for which Logic proved useful was the advent of Computer Science. The use of computers, not only to do calculations or to verify proofs, but even to construct proofs, has become a major research area. These are just two examples of areas in which Logic is important. In both these areas, the universities of Utrecht and Nijmegen are international centers of research.

The Master Class in Mathematical Logic aims to provide the student with a thorough introduction to the general field, as well as to introduce her/him to research, in advanced, specialized courses. The courses are all given by lecturers who are active researchers. Interaction and enthusiasm are the key words.

This Master Class is affiliated to the research cluster Diamant, supported by NWO, and is organized in collaboration with the Department of Computer Science in Nijmegen and the Department of Philosophy in Utrecht.

Details can be found at http://www.math.uu.nl/people/jvoosten/mclogic

In particular, a brochure and a poster (in pdf format) can be downloaded there; one also finds a list of the courses that will be given.

The courses include: Recursion Theory/Proof Theory by Andreas Weiermann, Model Theory by W. Veldman, Typed Lambda Calculus by Henk Barendregt, a Seminar on Category Theory led by Ieke Moerdijk and Jaap van Oosten (in the first semester, September to December 2006), Arithmetic by Albert Visser, Type theory and Proof Assistants by Herman Geuvers and Bas Spitters, Topos Theory by Ieke Moerdijk and Jaap van Oosten, and a Seminar on Constructivism by W. Veldman and Bas Spitters (in the second semester, January to May 2007).

Logic and Philosophy Graduate Programs Open Thread

I didn’t want to just push Berkeley, so why don’t y’all post your opinions about what other departments and programs would be good places for graduate study for someone interested in logic and philosophy? Anyone from Amsterdam reading this? CMU? Irvine? SFU? It would be interesting to find out about non-English speaking programs, too. Where should you go in Germany? France? Spain? South America? Post away, but remember: the emphasis is on logic (and related formal approaches) and philosophy. Feel free to comment in your native language if you want.

Another Plug for the Berkeley Logic Group

Since application deadlines for graduate school are nearing, I’ll link to my post from last year where I pointed out that it’s indefensible (in my mind, in any case) not to rank the Group in Logic and the Methodology of Science at UC Berkeley in the mathematical logic category in the Gourmet Report. I argued there that it is still one of the top places to study logic especially if you’re interested in a career doing logic in philosophy departments, and pointed out that most of the departments ranked for logic have Berkeley PhDs teaching there. Let me add that, conversely, most of the Berkeley graduates now teaching at top-ranked philosophy departments were former students in the Logic Group. So if you’re looking to get a PhD doing some techy philosophy, consider applying to L&M.

Logic Memory

Via Theorème, (which, by the way, now includes Jacques Dubucs in the list of contributors!) a link to a logic-themed online memory game. According to Theorème, the author is one Nicolas Le Thierry d’Ennequin. Thanks, Nick!

Just in case you forgot the rules to Memory: Turn over two cards. If they match, remove them from the game, and go again. Otherwise, cover the cards. Next player goes. Whoever removed the most pairs of cards wins.

Formal Philosophy online

Formal Philosophy, a collection of interviews with 21 logicians and philosophers edited by Vincent Hendricks and John Symons is now available. The website contains a number of interesting excerpts.

Interviews with

Johan van Benthem, Brian F. Chellas, Anne Fagot-Largeault, Melvin Fitting, Dagfinn Føllesdal, Haim Gaifman, Clark Nøren Glymour, Adolf Grünbaum, Susan Haack, Sven Ove Hansson, Jaakko Hintikka, H. Jerome Keisler, Isaac Levi, Ruth Barcan Marcus, Rohit Parikh, Jeff Paris, Gabriel Sandu, Krister Segerberg, Wolfgang Spohn, Patrick Suppes, Timothy Williamson.

Formal Philosophy is a collection of short interviews based on 5 questions presented to some of the most influential and prominent scholars in formal philosophy. We hear their views on formal philosophy, its aim, scope and how their work fits in these respects.

This is a fabulous collection. Hendricks and Symons have performed an important service to the entire philosophical community. The interviews are not only rewarding in and of themselves but they will help the reader understand what has been going on and has been achieved in the past fifty years.

Ernie Lepore, Rutgers, NJ, USA

Why do you do philosophy that way? Do you believe all philosophy could be done that way? Do you think it should be done that way? These are questions one seldom asks, except perhaps at dinner. Yet there is a lot one could learn from the answers, especially when they come from philosophers who do have a distinguished way of doing their job. Formal Philosophy identifies one such way and collects the answers of its eminent practitioners—not the quick answers one might give over an entrecôte, but the answers one gives when seriously prompted to reflect upon their daily profession. An enticing, provocative, completely novel way of surveying the landscape of contemporary philosophy.

Achille Varzi, Columbia University, NY, USA

(Anti-)Realisms, Logic and Metaphysics

There will be a conference on (Anti-)Realisms, Logic and Metaphysics, at the University of Nancy, 28 June to 1 July 2006. The call for papers is here (deadline December 15, but they only want abstracts); for more information follow the links on the sidebar on the site. Speakers include Michael Lynch, Peter van Inwagen, Mathieu Marion, Goran Sundholm, and Heinrich Wansing. Perfect if you want to go to HOPOS 2006 and then hang out in France for a little. (Thanks to Varia)

Scientific American Special Issue on Logic

Yes, that would be nice if the Scientific American did a special issue on logic. But it’s actually a special issue of Pour la Science, the French edition of the Scientific American. Pour la Science Dossier N° 49 (October 2005) is on “Les chemins de la logique”. It looks really exciting, and I wish I could just go out and pick it up at the newsstand (and that my French was better).

It has sections on “history of logic” (including Mark van Atten on Brouwer and Gödel, Jean-Paul Delahaye on proof and certainty in mathematics), “language and meaning” (Paul Égré on logical analysis of natural language, Pascal Engel on free logic, Gabriel Sandu on truth and meaning, Patrice Bailhache on alethic and deontic logics), “knowledge and exchange” (Johan van Benthem on logic of information flow, Jacques Dubucs on knowledge and belief), and “psychological mechanisms” (Hannes Leitgeb on reasoning with neural nets, and Didier Dubois and Henri Prade on reasoning with uncertainty). These are just the names I recognize, do have a look at the rest of the stuff. The issue is edited by Dubucs and Sandu, unfortunately their introduction is the only one of the texts available online.

Hat tip: Varia.

[Update: I had carefully added links to all the topics, but the Pour la Science website just doesn’t let you do that. So you’ll have to click on the “Dossier” link from the PlS main page, and then perhaps select issue 49.]