CFP: 31st Novembertagung on the History and Philosophy of Mathematics

Submission deadline: July 1, 2020

Conference date(s):
November 26, 2020 - November 28, 2020

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Research Training Group Philosophy, Science and the Sciences, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Berlin, Germany

Topic areas


31st Novembertagung on the History and Philosophy of Mathematics

November 26th–28th 2020
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

The Novembertagung is an international graduate conference on the history and philosophy of mathematics and neighbouring fields. It aims to provide an opportunity for graduate students at all levels to present and discuss their research in an informal and safe environment. It also allows young researchers to share experiences, get advice and establish new contacts.

Keynotes will be given by Juliette Kennedy (Helsinki), Dirk Schlimm (McGill), and Tinne Hoff Kjeldsen (Copenhagen).

On the theme: While Euclid (c. 3rd century BC) is usually celebrated as the beginning of axiomatic science, many features that are nowadays taken to be essential to axiomatics - such as the explicit statement of inference rules and the requirement of primitive, undefined notions - appear to be alien to ancient mathematics. A major contemporary change in the view on axiomatics was initiated by the adoption of the set-theoretic axiomatic framework as a foundation of mathematics in the first half of the 20th century. Proof theory and model theory subsequently developed as independent research fields and had a wide impact on philosophical thought. On the other hand, some philosophers also argue that the axiomatic view on mathematics may be harmful in that it omits fundamental aspects of mathematical practice and idealizes mathematical reasoning in an unfaithful way.

Suggested topics include, but are not restricted to the following: 

  • Axiomatics in ancient Greek philosophy and mathematics
  • Pre-Euclidean axiomatics
  • Criticism of ancient Greek mathematics from an axiomatic viewpoint
  • Historical case studies of the development of axiomatics after Greek antiquity
  • Axiomatics in contemporary mathematics
  • The use of axiomatic tools in disciplines besides mathematics
  • Axiomatics in actual mathematical practice
  • The scope and limits of axiomatization

Note that the theme of axiomatics is meant to be a guideline and will not serve as an exclusionary factor for the selection of submissions.

Deadline for submission: 1st July, 2020. Abstracts should be submitted using our form: (in English, around 250-350 words, prepared for blind review). Notifications will be sent out in August. Submissions by graduate student members of an underrepresented group in History of Mathematics or Philosophy of Mathematics are particularly encouraged.

Bursaries: For those who are unable to obtain funding for travel and accommodation from their home institutions, every effort will be made to cover travel and accommodation costs at least in part, if not fully. Please indicate in your application whether you intend to apply for such a grant. There is no conference registration fee.

Organization: Paul Hasselkuß (Universität Düsseldorf), Tiago Hirth (ULisboa), Deborah Kant (Universität Konstanz), Deniz Sarikaya (Universität Hamburg), Tobias Schütz (Universität Mainz), Anna Kiel Steensen (ETH Zurich), and Benjamin Wilck (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin).

This event is hosted by the Research Training Group Philosophy, Science and the Sciences of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and generously supported by the Chair for Logic and Philosophy of Language of the Department of Philosophy of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the GDR 3398 “Histoire des mathématiques”, the German Society for Philosophy of Science (GWP), the International Commission on the History of Mathematics (ICHM), the British Society for the History of Mathematics (BSHM), and the Ludus association.

Contact: For any query, do not hesitate to send us an e-mail at novembertagung2020 [at] gmail [dot] com. Further information can also be found on our website.

On Covid-19: We are monitoring the pandemic which might make it necessary to postpone the event or to opt for alternatives.

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