CSHPM Online Colloquium: Valérie Lynn Therrien

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Nicolas Fillion

Sep 19, 2020, 11:13:37 PM9/19/20
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***CSHPM Online Colloquium: Valérie Lynn Therrien ***

In those isolated times, the Canadian Society for History and Philosophy of Mathematics
(http://www.cshpm.org/) is organizing an online colloquium series via Zoom.
Sessions are open to CSHPM members as well as the broader scholarly community. Participants
are encouraged to become members (for as little as $10-$30/year, depending on your
employment status), but it is not required. Non-members can get regular updates on our
activities by liking us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/cshpmschpm). The talk will
last 30 minutes, followed by a Q&A.

VALÉRIE LYNN THERRIEN, PhD Candidate in Philosophy at McGill University, will deliver the
fifth talk of the CSHPM Online Colloquium series.

DATE: September 25th
TIME: UTC 18:00; Vancouver 11:00; Edmonton/Regina 12:00; Winnipeg 13:00; Montreal/Toronto 14:00; Halifax 15:00; St. John's 15:30

TITLE: On Counting as Mathematical Progress: Kuratowski-Zorn's Lemma and the Path Not Taken
ABSTRACT: In her "Naturalism in Mathematics," Maddy claims that historical case studies
give us sufficient reason to exclude extra-mathematical considerations from our account
of mathematical progress. Indeed, she vouches that historical case studies can be
tested against the predictions of a reconstructed means-end analysis. In this
paper, we will take up this formidable challenge. We aim to do so via a carefully
chosen case study designed to test the limits of a rational reconstruction's ability
to predict not only the path taken by mathematics, but also the path not taken by
mathematics: the case of the Kuratowski-Zorn Lemma. Can Maddy's framework
account for why Zorn’s Lemma counts as mathematical progress, but Kuratowski's
prior equivalent maximal and minimal principle does not? While Maddy has done
ground-breaking work in rationally reconstructing the path taken by set theory, it
is not clear that her account can provide a convincing rationale for the path not
taken. Our conclusion is that, while Maddy's account provides a razor-thin margin
of success, it also does not take into account salient extra-mathematical considerations.
Ultimately, it is unlikely to be convincing to anyone not epistemologically
committed to mathematical naturalism.

Please distribute this information to all who might be interested. The information to join
the session via Zoom is as follows:

Topic: CSHPM Online Colloquium: Valérie Lynn Therrien
Time: Sep 25, 2020 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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