Inaugural CSHPM Online Colloquium: Karine Chemla

Inaugural CSHPM Online Colloquium: Karine Chemla

Friday 24 July 2020 - 19.00

In those isolated times, the Canadian Society for History and Philosophy of Mathematics ( will be organizing a bi-weekly online colloquium series online.

Sessions will be open to CSHPM members as well as the broader scholarly community. Participants are encouraged to become members (for as little as $10-$30/year, depending on your employment status), but it is not required.

Follow this link for meeting joining instructions

The talk will last 30 minutes, followed by a Q&A.

KARINE CHEMLA, Research Director at the CNRS and SPHERE unit at Université de Paris, and Professor on a Guest Chair at Jiaotong University, Shanghai will deliver the inaugural talk.

DATE: July 24th
TIME: Vancouver 11am; Edmonton/Regina 12pm; Winnipeg 13pm; Montreal/Toronto 14pm; Halifax 15pm; St. John's 15:30pm; UK 19:00pm

TITLE: The shaping and reshaping of languages and texts for mathematical activity. Views from China

ABSTRACT: This talk argues that, even if we set aside symbolic language, mathematical work is not carried out in any "natural language," but that actors have always shaped languages, and more
generally cultures, in relation to the questions they tackled and the kind
of answers they hoped to achieve. To illustrate these claims, I focus on how actors from ancient China shaped the mathematical language with which which they were practicing mathematics. I intend to highlight how in these settings, actors inherited language practices and reshaped them in relation to the work they were carrying out. I will thereby insist on the artificial dimension of the languages with which these actors practiced mathematics. Artificiality lay, in one of these cases, in the syntax of the language used for a certain purpose, and, in the other, in textual practices that actors designed to be able to work towards their goals.