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Accueil du site > Archives > Journées et colloques des années précédentes > Journées et colloques 2014-2015 > Case Studies in Mathematical Practice

Case Studies in Mathematical Practice


du 29 juin au 4 juillet 2015
Université Paris Diderot

The primary goal of this workshop is to shed light on mathematical thought and understanding by developing a rich collection of case studies drawn from the historical and current practice of mathematicians. A secondary goal is to examine the methodology of case studies with an eye towards determining which questions in the philosophy of mathematics are amenable to solution by case study methods, and which questions are not. One recurring theme of the workshop concerns the ways in which the development of new conceptual and representational resources can contribute to an increase in the intelligibility of a mathematical domain.

Organisation : Kenneth Manders, University of Pittsburgh

Participants :

For information on funding available for graduate students and recent PhDs to attend the workshop, as well as further scheduling and logistical information, please visit the workshop website at
While this event is open to the public, all who attend the workshop must register for the workshop by sending an e-mail to We ask that everyone who plans to attend register by no later than Friday, June 19, 2015.
Case Studies in Mathematical Practice is organized in collaboration with SΦHERE


Programme à télécharger
Mathematics is a strikingly powerful but strange intellectual form of Understand- ing. The seminar presents an approach, comparative case studies, to locating philo- sophical ideas that help explain how powerful intellectual understanding is achieved ; ideas beyond —well-understood— formal proof and axiomatic systematization. We present examples in depth, notably the contrast between Euclidean-style synthetic plane geometry and Descartes’ analytic geometry.
Such studies have, so far, led to a focus on how representations function. That is, primarily expressive-usage (not : metaphysical) differences directly address differences in power of contrasting approaches to problems, where we pre-theoretically recognize conceptual re-structuring.

My presentation/discussions on Monday-Thursday and Sat AM form one connected, many case-study based, argument for a representation-based functional-role perspective on mathematical thought. (Some of the headers may be mysterious to the uninitiate.) The Friday session aims to initiate an exploration of non-exact rep- resentations in mathematical thought, of course taking off from geometrical diagrams and the notion (if there be one) of geometricality.
Saturday afternoon is devoted to overall responses to the seminar (presumably, including push-back from Fregeian-analytic/logical and historian’s perspectives).

The other presentations (precise titles not yet available) :
Tues PM : Jeremy Heis on : Early moderns on the ancient constructability of conics through 5 given points. Davide Crippa comments.
Wed PM : Marco Panza on his paper “From Velocities to Fluxions”, in A. Janiak and E. Schliesser (d.), Interpreting Newton : Critical Essays, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, etc., 2012, pp. 219-254. Shay Logan comments.
Thurs PM : Jessica Carter on Mathematical Representation and Understanding. Irina Starikova comments.
Fri AM (2) : Andy Arana and Jemma Lorenat on Diagrammaticality in 19th C Projective geometry.
Fri PM : Douglas Marshall on Wedderburn’s theorem and the Pappus condition in projective geometry. Josh Hunt comments.
Sat PM : Karine Chemla’s critical response to the seminar.


10:00–11:20 Intro PhilMath
11:20–12:30 Case study method
14:30–15:30 Euclidean Diagram (basic)
15:40–17:00 Euclidean Diagram (adv)


10:00–11:20 Descartes’ geometrical Method (example)
11:20–12:30 Descartes’ geometrical Method (general)
14:30–15:30 Modularity (stages)
15:40–17:00 J. Heis : Descartes/Newton


10:00–11:20 Representation & Responsiveness Control
11:20–12:30 Representation & Responsiveness Control
14:30–15:30 lin. repr. groups
15:40–17:00 Marco Panza : Newton


10:00–11:20 Knots Over-specification
11:20–12:30 Knots Over-specification
14:30–15:30 Invariance Strategies
15:40–17:00 J.Carter : repres/underst


10:00–11:20 Geometricality, Intro
11:20–12:30 A.Arana, J.Lorenat : 19c Projective
14:30–15:30 GeomGpThy
15:40–17:00 D. Marshall : Wedderburn


10:00–11:20 Mathematical Intellibility/Enhancements Completions
11:20–12:30 Mathematical Intellibility/Enhancements Completions Conclusion
14:30–17:00 Roundtable
3:40–17:00 K. Chemla response

Salle 366A, Université Paris Diderot – CNRS
Laboratoire SPHERE – UMR 7219, bâtiment Condorcet, 10 rue Alice Domon et Léonie Duquet, 75013 Paris