CFP: Mathematical and Numerical Inspirations in Philosophy

Submission deadline: January 31, 2020

Conference date(s):
April 1, 2020

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Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy, Stanford University
Stanford, United States

Topic areas


We invite papers from young intellectuals across America and the world who would like to reflect with us on the following (meta)philosophical issue: what is there in the realm of mathematics, or in the realm of quantitative thinking, that makes its influence on philosophy so significant and varying? From Aristotle to Russell, developments in mathematical thinking have shaped the nature of philosophical discourse. From Pythagoras’s employment of measure to Lacan’s use of topology, philosophers of wildly disparate eras and schools of thought have relied on mathematical concepts to elaborate their ideas.

The formal requirements for submissions are minimal. We will, of course, appreciate submissions that excel both in terms of their form and content. However, there is no particular school or manner of writing and arguing to which we would like the authors to adhere to (such as analytic philosophy, twentieth-century phenomenology, or Hegelian speculation). Because the conference wants to travel to the very nerve of what constitutes philosophical cognition, we decided not to prefer one manner of philosophizing over another. But we would like authors to stick to some strategy of thought that is consistent and self-conscious; rigorous and robust; in that sense, one could think of the requirements as, in fact, maximalist, in terms of form and content.

We will list here some anticipated topics not to limit the topics we would consider, but to show the diversity of topics that we are open to. Some of the possible topics include: 

  • mathematical expositions within formal logic, 

  • logical innovations in formal epistemology, 

  • historical cases of cooperation or conflict between mathematics and philosophy, 

  • and the role of numbers and other mathematical concepts in inspiring gnosis or political change.

We ask you only to submit a prospectus of the argument you want to share with us. More conventionally, such a prospectus is called an abstract. However, because we do not ask for actual papers, we cannot really ask you for an abstract, for we assume that you have not yet written the paper that you could then summarize and thus abstract from. Therefore, we will appreciate if you submit to us a piece of writing of around 500 words that will show both an engagement with the theme of the conference and your own philosophical individuality; some original element you want to bring to the conference. This text should be an anticipation of the argument you want to make in your actual talk (which we would expect to be around 20-minute long), as well as a personal statement of intellectual purpose.

The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2020, and the conference will be held at Stanford University on April 1, 2020. You can expect the notice of acceptance by mid-February. Note that unfortunately, we will not be able to cover travel costs.

Please send the submissions to [email protected]

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