Reading over my previous post, I was wondering if a group of scholars can be referred to as a “gaggle”. So I did some research (i.e., I asked google) and happened upon this wiki page, which lists the appropriate collective noun for logicians as “sequitur”, and attributes this to Bertrand Russell. Anyone got a reference for this? (It doesn’t list a special collective noun for scholars, though–maybe “a school of scholars” would be appropriate?)
UPDATE: The wikipedia page for Quine has him saying it, but maybe he got it from Russell?
I mentioned it in comments on the other post already, but I thought of a few solutions to my question: how do you keep a gaggle of scholars jointly working on a publication project organized? They are outlined in a wiki page. Comments welcome (you can edit the wiki, of course, or write something on the talk page).
Greg is reporting from the Realism/Anti-Realism Workshop in Nancy, and Yarden from the CMU Summer School in Logic. Stay tuned for reports from Computability in Europe next week from yours truly.
Friendster reminded me that today is Alan Turing’s birthday.
If you’ve ever coauthored a paper, you know what a hassle it is to send versions back and forth, keep track of changes, avoid conflicts when you’re simultaneously changing things, and so on. Now software engineers have the same problems when working on large development projects and have developed very sophisticated Revision Control Systems. I’ve used the most well-known of these, CVS, for collaborating on a couple of papers. But CVS is not exactly easy to use, and for a larger project with more people who all use different systems (Linux, Mac, Windows) and who aren’t as geeky as I, CVS is not a good choice. So: I’m looking for an easy way to collaborate on editing text documents. It should work cross-platform, it should have version control (keeping track of changes, ways of telling what parts of a document were edited by whom and when, reverting to previous versions), it should be easy to use (graphical user interface), it should be easy to install (preferably it should be completely distributed with the client programs doing all the work). It doesn’t have to have fancy security, support for branching and merging projects, include a build environment, and all the other stuff that’s important to programmers. I also don’t want to have to set up a server or persuade my university’s IT people to give accounts to my collaborators. Anyone have any ideas?
On June 22, 1936, Moritz Schlick, influential philosopher and center of the Vienna Circle of logical empiricists, was gunned down on the steps of the University of Vienna. The Institute Vienna Circle is holding a small memorial event at the University of Vienna today, which will include the presentation of the first two volumes of Schlick’s Collected Works.
There will be two interesting workshops following GAP 6 in Berlin (September 14 & 15): one on Carnap, and one with the promising title “Towards a New Epistemology of Mathematics“.
I’m at HOPOS, which is loads of fun. All my history of analytic/history of logic buddies are here. But more to the point:
Paolo Mancosu just gave the most amazing talk about the debate within the Vienna Circle about Tarski’s theory of truth, in particular, the opposition that Neurath had voiced against it from the mid 1930s onward. I had always thought that the Vienna Circle wholeheartedly accepted Tarski’s theory, and that Tarski’s paper made truth an “acceptable” notion (from a logical empiricist standpoint). What Paolo showed, using correspondence between Carnap, Neurath, Tarski and others from 1935 and later, was that there was a debate raging over it. Neurath was opposed not, as one might suppose, because of the set theoretic metalanguage in which Tarski’s theory was couched, but because he feared that people would use Tarski’s theory in areas where it wasn’t applicable, i.e., in non-formalized languages, and that it would lead people to return to “metaphysics”. (I guess, that has actually happened decades later in the whole thing about deflationary conceptions of truth!) Moreover, we now know why no-one is aware about the tensions within the Vienna Circle around the theory of truth: at the Congrès Descartes in Paris in 1937, there was a private meeting with Carnap, Tarski, Neurath, Naess, Lutman-Kokoszynska, Hempel, and others where the proponents and opponents of Tarski’s theory put forward their arguments. It was agreed (or, decreed by Carnap) that noone was to bring up the differences within the Circle regarding this issue in print.
Paolo’s talk was followed by Johannes Hafner on the origins of model theory in Hilbert and Tarski. Johannes’ main point was that whereas Tarski’s notion of interpretation of an axiom system was a lot clearer about the syntax of the language (precise recursive definition of syntax in meta-language), Hilbert’s notion of interpretation was a lot closer to the modern one–Tarski’s notion of truth in the 1935 paper did not allow for varying domains. It wasn’t until the 1950s in Tarski’s and Vaught’s work on model theory that the modern notion of truth in a structure emerged.
SciBlog, a blog project of a bunch of science writers in Vienna, goes live tomorrow with an event at Depot. If you’re in Vienna, come on by.
Peter has posted a new version of the first 22 chapters of his Gödel Book.
The new issue of Philosophia Mathematica is devoted to Gödel. There are essays by Sol Feferman, Peter Koellner, Wilfried Sieg, Bill Tait, Rick Tieszen, and Mark van Atten, as well as a review of Torkel Franzén’s Gödel’s Theorem: An Incomplete Guide to its Use and Abuse.
After a week in Singapore and a week in Melbourne, I’m back in cold and rainy Vienna, nursing a cold and trying to finish two papers. Thanks to John and Belle, who I got to hang out with in Singapore, and to Allen, Conrad, Graham, Greg, Kate, Maren, Tama, and Zach for making it a thoroughly enjoyable visit to Melbourne.