Joint Math Meeetings
January 3-6, 2024
San Francisco, CA

Contributed Paper Session

AMS Special Session on Mathematics and Philosophy
Friday, January 5, 8 am - noon

We encourage anyone who has done some recent work related to the philosophy of mathematics to propose a talk for our session. These should be non-technical talks, aimed at a general mathematical audience (for technical work in foundations, there are ASL sessions, for example) but all topics in the philosophy of mathematics (including philosophical aspects of foundations) are welcome.

8:00 a.m.Donald G Palmer Bridging the Boundary of Applied and Pure Mathematics: A Philosophical Argument for Expanding Mathematics and Scientific Disciplines via a New Numeric System
8:30 a.m. Theodore V Theodosopoulos Some remarks on collective sense-making
9:00 a.m. Thomas L Drucker Lewis Carroll and Mr. B*rtr*nd R*ss*ll: P.E.B. Jourdain on the State of Mathematical Philosophy in 1918
9:30 a.m. Jared M. Ifland Metaontology in Light of the Frege-Hilbert Controversy
10:00 a.m. Martin E Flashman Do We Need a Separate Philosophy of Geometry?
10:30 a.m. Chanwoo Lee Category Theory as an Explanatory Foundation
11:00 a.m. Owen Biesel Sheaves of Probability

Session organizers:

Guest Lecture and Discussion

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics: Dissolving Wigner's Applicability Problem
Arezoo Islami, San Francisco State University
Friday, January 5, 2024, 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

In a 1980 Monthly article, "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics", Richard Hamming discussed what he took to be Wigner's problem (from 1960) of "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences" and offered some partial explanations. My goal is to show that Hamming's reading misses Wigner's highly original formulation of the problem. Rereading Wigner's work more closely, we are led in new directions in addressing and solving the applicability problem.

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