“Unreasonable effectiveness”? Historical origins and philosophical problems for applied mathematics’: research symposium.

Second announcement

All Souls College, Oxford Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 December 2008

This symposium will bring together a group of leading scholars to discuss ‘applied mathematics’ from historical and philosophical perspectives, with the focus of the historical contributions being on the period between the mid-seventeenth and mid-eighteenth centuries. It is hoped that discussion of the historical origins of particular applications of mathematics may help to shed light on the philosophical issues which such applications raise, and vice versa. The sessions will be based as far as is feasible around the discussion of pre-circulated papers.

The symposium is fortunate to have the financial support of the British Society for the History of Mathematics, the British Society for the History of Science, the International Commission on the History of Mathematics, All Souls College, and the British Society for the Philosophy of Science.

Speakers: Kirsti Andersen (Aarhus), Alan Baker (Swarthmore, Pennsylvania), Henk J.M. Bos, (Utrecht), Shelley Costa, Mark Colyvan (Sydney), Niccolò Guicciardini (Bergamo), Antoni Malet (Barcelona), Domenico Bertoloni Meli (Indiana), Michael Nauenberg (California), Jeanne Peiffer (CNRS), Helmut Pulte (Bochum), Benjamin Wardhaugh (Oxford), Mark Wilson (Pittsburgh)

Topics to include: ‘From the Bending of Beams to the Problem of Free Will’ (Wilson); ‘Johann Bernoulli on the mathematization of central force motion’ (Guicciardini); ‘Brook Taylor as an authority on perspective in the British eighteenth-century practical mathematics’ (Andersen); ‘Images as experiments: Steno’s myology, Viviani, and Galileo’ (Meli); ‘Efficiency versus truth: the status of mathematics as “applied” by craftsmen’ (Peiffer); ‘The philosophical problem of applied mathematics’ (Colyvan); ‘The reception and transformation of Newton’s Principia by continental mathematicians and philosophers’ (Pulte); ‘”Analogy” and useful mathematics in Newton’s England’ (Wardhaugh).

Organiser: Benjamin Wardhaugh

A limited number of places are available for observers: these will be allocated on a strictly first-come basis. The cost will be £40, and will cover attendance at the conference sessions, with tea and coffee, and at the conference dinner on 17 December. Unfortunately accommodation cannot be provided for observers.

To reserve a place, or for any enquiries, please contact Benjamin Wardhaugh at:

[email protected]

Dr Benjamin Wardhaugh All Souls College Oxford OX1 4AL UK