Jean Cavaillès and his intellectual milieu

January 20, 2023 - January 21, 2023
Institute of Philosophy, KU Leuven


This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


  • Ghent University


KU Leuven
Catholic University of Louvain
Ghent University

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The last decade has witnessed a renewed interest in the work of Jean Cavaillès (1903-1944). Cavaillès specialized in philosophy of mathematics and philosophy of science, though his oeuvre was cut short due to his death in the French Resistance. Nonetheless, his work proved to be very influential in France, impacting the work of, among others, Gaston Bachelard, Georges Canguilhem, Jean-Toussaint Desanti, Michel Foucault, Louis Althusser, Jules Vuillemin, Gilles-Gaston Granger and Jacques Bouveressse.  Hence, this interest goes hand in hand with a revival of studies on ‘French epistemology’ or historical epistemology. In the case of Cavaillès, the new focus is not only on his philosophy of mathematics but also on his broader program for a theory of science based on a conceptual dynamics. In this process of rediscovery the intellectual milieu of French philosophy and history of science between 1920 and 1950 plays its role and gets its share. The exchanges between Cavaillès and Albert Lautman, the connection with Gaston and Suzanne Bachelard, the Dialectica movement around Ferdinand Gonseth, the relations with the founders of Bourbaki, the formation of the new generation of students (Granger, Vuillemin, Desanti), the friendship with Georges Canguilhem, etc. all deserve to be highlighted.

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January 18, 2023, 9:00am CET

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