Skip to main content

Ever since mid-1970s, the History and Philosophy of Science have taken an interest in the study of scientific practices [1]. Practice-based approaches of science are now well represented in the literature. The situation is different for the study of mathematical practices (MP). The last few decades the philosophy of mathematics, which traditionally focusses on foundational issues, has been supplemented by a number of converging approaches that promote the study of MP [2].

When studying MP, philosophers of mathematics attempt to explicate not how mathematics should be done according to some preconceived philosophical idea but how mathematics is (or has) actually (been) done. As a result of this, contemporary scholars of MP have focused not only on contemporary MP but they have also shown interest in the history of mathematics as a tool to gauge the development of MP [3].

As it currently stands, Philosophy of MP (PMP) is an emerging discipline that is steadily advancing at the dawn of this century as the growing number of conferences, edited volumes and monographs dedicated to it, and the establishment in 2009 of the Association of PMP (APMP), which was in fact co-founded by Jean Paul Van Bendegem, the director of the Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science at the VUB, illustrate.

As is to be expected from an emerging discipline, PMP now needs to reflect upon its own theoretical perspective, methods and theoretical concepts. Recently, a practicebased approach has been proposed in the Philosophy of Logic that studies logical practices (PLP) [4]. This approach is explicitly developed in close dialogue with the PMP.

The theme of this international conference is scientific, mathematical and logical practices and the commonalities and dissimilarities between them, on the one hand, and between the History and Philosophy of Scientific Practice, the PMP, and the PLP, on the other.


[1] See e.g. Pickering, Andrew (ed.) (1992). Science as Practice and Culture (University of Chicago Press) and Soler, Léna, Sjoerd Zwart, Michael Lynch and Vincent Israel Jost (eds.) (2014). Science after the Practice Turn in the Philosophy, History and Social Studies of Science (Routledge).

[2] For instance — in chronological order: Azzouni, Jody (1994). Metaphysical Myths, Mathematical Practice (Cambridge University Press); Van Kerkhove, Bart and Jean Paul van Bendegem (eds.) (2007). Perspectives on Mathematical Practices (Springer); Van Kerkhove, Bart (2009). New Perspectives on Mathematical Practice: Essays in Philosophy and History of Mathematics (World Scientific); Van Kerkhove, Bart, Jonas De Vuyst and Jean Paul van Bendegem (eds.) (2010). Philosophical Perspectives on Mathematical Practice (College Publications); Löwe, Benedikt and Thomas Müller (eds.) (2010). Philosophy of Mathematics: Sociological Aspects of Mathematical Practice (College Publications); Mancosu, Paolo (ed.) (2012). The Philosophy of Mathematical Practice (Oxford University Press); Ferreirós, José (2016). Mathematical Knowledge and the Interplay of Practices (Princeton University Press); Wagner, Roi (2017). Making and Breaking Mathematical Sense: Histories and Philosophies of Mathematical Practice (Princeton University Press).

[3] E.g. Mancosu, Paolo (1996). Philosophy of Mathematics and Mathematical Practice in the Seventeenth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[4] Dutilh Novaes, Catherina (2012a). Towards a Practice-based Philosophy of Logic: Formal Languages as a Case-study. Philosophia Scientiae 16.1: 71-102 and id. (2012b). Formal Languages from a Cognitive Perspective (Cambridge University Press).

This conference is supported by FWO-Vlaanderen.


Egmontstraat 11 Rue d'Egmont
B-1000 Brussel

How can you reach us?

This conference will take place in the University Foundation, downtown Brussels.

From 28 September 2018 at 9:00 to 29 September 2018 at 17:00 Add to personal calendar

Organised by Steffen Ducheyne