First off, for those who aren’t reading this blog through an RSS reader, you’ll notice some major design changes on the blog. We’ve got some other changes coming up as well and there’ll be a post in the near future about it all.
This post is to highlight an upcoming event featuring Fernando Zalamea, who appears to be one of the most unique philosophers of mathematics around. More information about the event (including readings) can be found here, but here’s a preview of what to expect:
The point of this seminar is not only to acquaint us with the vibrant landscape of contemporary mathematics – and the field of sheaf logic and category theory, in particular – but to show us how this landscape’s powerful new concepts can be deployed in the fields of philosophy and cultural production. Its aim is nothing less than to ignite a new way of thinking about universality and synthesis in the absence of any absolute foundation or stable, pre-given totality – a problem that mathematics has spent the better part of the last fifty years thinking its way through, and which it has traversed by means remarkable series of conceptual inventions – a problem which has also animated philosophical modernity and its contemporary horizon. This marks something of a variation on the theme of antagonism and technique that Versus has taken as its focus for the coming year: rather than seek to fragment philosophical concepts through the prism of non-philosophical disciplines – understood as something like “conditions for philosophy” – we will mobilize mathematical concepts and techniques to synthesize and render continuous what philosophy has fragmented. The crisp dichtomies of realism versus idealism, form versus content, the static versus the dynamic, and so on, are skillfully woven into a complex oscillating fabric that, far from obscuring the polarities in a night in which all cows are black, unleashes a living swarm of powerful conceptual nuances and distinctions from what was, in retrospect, a lazy taxonomy. This labour of synthesis, itself, demonstrates how far real mathematics – the living mathematical practice of the present age – outstrips anything dreamt of in our philosophy.