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Bonn Workshop 2007 Print E-mail

  18th Novembertagung on the History, Philosophy & didactis of Mathematics 

 Workshop Bonn 2007

Bonn November 1-4 2007
Eva Wilhelmus, Inst. for Philosophy, Univ. of Bonn
Ingo Witzke, Seminar for Mathem. and its Didactics, Univ. of Cologne 
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website: http://www.novembertagung.uni-bonn.de/index.html

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, the last polymath, is a natural inspiration for the Novembertagung – he stands for the combination of philosophy, history and mathematics like no one else. He had a great number of followers spreading his theories and he was truly a European, whose presence was appreciated from Paris over Berlin to St. Petersburg.

Today, in the absence of contemporary polymaths, we expect our theme Mathematical practice and development throughout history, to render a fruitful combination of the multiple, highly specialized approaches that emerged in the history, philosophy and also the didactics of mathematics during the 20th century.

The theme provides the opportunity of interaction between historians, philosophers, and researchers in the didactics of mathematics. It allows for a variety of conceptions of mathematics, and for a combination of different research methods used in history, philosophy and didactics.

History, philosophy and didactics of mathematics are strongly interrelated.
Key questions like How did mathematical concepts develop?, How did the notion of formal proof emerge? or How did the habits of mathematical practice change over time?, and questions concerning the interrelation between the development of mathematics and the development of e.g. the natural sciences, are questions genuinely linked to historical investigation, but also central for the philosophy and didactics of mathematics.
Mathematics education, on the one hand, investigates the way mathematical knowledge is imparted, and mathematical skills are developed, which is of great interest for the epistemology of mathematics. On the other hand, the outcome is itself always influenced by the current philosophical attitudes of the mathematical community towards their one subject. In mathematics education, the focus is on mathematical development in general, and also on mathematical practice. This is of special interest for contemporary philosophers of mathematics concentrating on the analysis of actual mathematical practice.
18th Novembertagung on the History, Philosophy & Didactics of Mathematics

The Novembertagung was initiated by doctoral students working on the history of mathematics. From 1995 to 2000, the informal gathering developed into an internationally renowned meeting on work in progress in the history, philosophy and didactics of mathematics, aiming at doctoral students and young researchers.

In our days, on the one hand, mathematics is still widely regarded as the queen of sciences, seeming to bare eternal truths. On the other hand, the subject has lost its glamour and has more and more been inherited by the natural sciences as a tool. These extreme views seem to be strongly contradictory. Nevertheless, the wide range of topics and questions on the history, philosophy and didactics of mathematics may help to form the basis for putting the various faces of mathematics together to a rounded-up picture again.

Since 1990, the Novembertagung offers young researchers from all over Europe a competent and creative forum for exchanging their results on the history, philosophy and didactics of mathematics, discuss work in progress, and thereby help bringing together these three bordering disciplines.

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