Submitted by Deniz Sarikaya (Vrije Universiteit Brussel).


Masterclass in the Philosophy of Mathematical Practice 2022
with Valeria Giardino (CNRS, Institut Jean Nicod, Paris)

June, 1–3
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Brussels, Belgium

The Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science (CLPS) of the Vrije  
Universiteit Brussel (VUB) will host its Third Masterclass in the  
Philosophy of Mathematical Practice on June, 1–3 with Valeria Giardino  
(CNRS, Institut Jean Nicod, Paris).

We intend the Masterclass to be a fully interactive event, with the  
twofold objective to understand in depth the materials presented in  
the lectures, and to provide early career researchers (PhD students  
and Postdocs) with an opportunity to discuss their ongoing work in a  
helpful and constructive environment. The lectures by Valeria Giardino  
will take place in the mornings, and will be followed by afternoon  
sessions with presentations by early career researchers in the  
Philosophy of Mathematical Practice. The exact titles of the lectures  
will be communicated at a later stage.

Call for Abstracts
We invite early career researchers who would be interested to present  
their work to send us an abstract of at most 250 words by April, 1st.  
Please submit your abstract, including your affiliation information,  
via the following form: or by  
sending it to the following email address: . The  
talks will be of a duration of around 20 minutes (not including  
discussion). Notification of acceptance will be sent out by mid April.  
Notice that submitting an abstract is not mandatory for attending the  

Attendance Fees and Registration
We ask people to register to the Masterclass by May, 1st. There will  
be no attendance fees for the event, and attendance of the Masterclass  
is open to everyone interested. If you are planning to attend the  
Masterclass, please register via the following form: or by sending an email to: if you do not want to use a Google form.

The Masterclass will take place at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel  
(VUB) on the Etterbeek campus, which is situated in Brussels, Belgium.  
In case pandemic regulations require a change of plans, we will inform  
all attendees.

Titles and  abstracts by the invited lecturer Valeria Giardino

Mathematical cognition: core knowledge systems and (more importantly) beyond
The literature in cognitive science shows that humans and other  
animals are born with cognitive systems that are ready to work, for  
example to compare numerosities or shapes, and whose powers improve by  
learning new cognitive strategies. In this first talk, I will focus  
precisely on the practices that have been developed to this aim, which  
involve in many cases cognitive tools having a spatial nature. I will  
discuss to which point these objects are important to establish  
mathematics as we know it.

Cognitive tools for mathematics: anchors or props (or both)?
Edwin Hutchins defined “material anchors” as associating a conceptual  
structure with a material structure in order to stabilize conceptual  
representations. However, in some cases these material objects can be  
used as props to imagine “things” about what they represent. In this  
second talk, I will discuss the functioning of cognitive tools in the  
context of mathematics and the possible tension between these two roles.

The practice of mathematics: “trafficking in heterogeneity”
As Emily Grosholz summed up some years ago in the context of logical  
reasoning, “it is hard for a logician to admit that he is trafficking  
in heterogeneity”. However, this seems to be easily the case for a  
mathematician. In this third talk, I will introduce and discuss the  
more recent literature showing this “traffic” in multi-dimensional  
reasoning in mathematics, and present some new work of mine on the  
same topic.

The Masterclass is organized by Joachim Frans (CLPS, VUB), Yacin  
Hamami (Philosophy Department, ULiège), Colin Rittberg (Department of  
Philosophy, VU Amsterdam & CLPS, VUB), Deniz Sarikaya (CLPS, VUB), and  
Fenner Tanswell (CLPS, VUB).

Contact Information
For any questions, please contact the organizers by sending an email to: .

For up to date information see also the webpage: