FotFS VIII: History and Philosophy of Infinity

The eighth conference on the Foundations of the Formal Sciences will take place 20-23 September 2013 at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge, England.

Proposals for Contributed presentations are being solicited.

Submission deadline: 31 May 2013.
Notification: 20 June 2013.
Accommodation booking deadline: 15 July 2013.
Registration deadline: 31 August 2013.
Conference: 20-23 September 2013.

Please use the submission website:

Keynote Speakers:

  • Haim Gaifman (Columbia University, U.S.A.);
  • Catherine Goldstein (Institut de Mathématiques de Jussieu, France),;
  • Christian Greiffenhagen (University of Nottingham, England);
  • Luca Incurvati (University of Cambridge, England);
  • Matthew Inglis (Loughborough University, England);
  • Charles Parsons (Harvard University, U.S.A.);
  • Michael Potter (University of Cambridge, England);
  • Christian Tapp (Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany),
  • Pessia Tsamir (Tel Aviv University, Israel);
  • Dina Tirosh (Tel Aviv University, Israel);
  • Jean Paul Van Bendeghem (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium).

Conference Theme:

The concept of infinity has fascinated philosophers and mathematicians for many centuries: e.g., the distinction between the potential and actual infinite appears in Aristotle’s Physics (in his treatment  of the paradoxes of Zeno) and the notion was implied in the attempts to sharpen the method of approximation (starting as early as Archimedes and running through the middle ages and  into the nineteenth century). Modern mathematics opened the doors to the wealth of the realm of the infinities by means of the set-theoretic foundations of mathematics.

Any philosophical interaction with concepts of infinite must have at least two aspects: first, an inclusive examination of the various branches and applications, across the various periods; but second, it must proceed in the critical light of mathematical results, including results from meta-mathematics.

The conference History & Philosophy of Infinity will emphasize philosophical, empirical and historical approaches. In the following, we give brief descriptions of these approaches with a number of questions that we consider relevant for the conference:

In the philosophical approach, we shall link questions about the concept of infinity to other parts of the philosophical discourse, such as ontology and epistemology and other important aspects of philosophy of mathematics. Which types of infinity exist? What does it mean to make such a statement? How do we reason about infinite entities? How do the mathematical developments shed light  on the philosophical issues and how do the philosophical issues influence the mathematical developments?

Various empirical sciences deal with the way we as finite human beings access mathematical objects or concepts. Research from mathematics education, sociology of mathematics and cognitive science is highly relevant here. How do we represent infinite objects by finite means? How are infinite objects represented in the human mind? How much is our interaction with infinite concepts formed by  the research community? How do we teach the manipulation of infinite objects or processes?

Infinity was an important concept in philosophy and theology from the ancient Greeks through the middle ages into the modern period. How did the concepts of infinity evolve? How did questions get  sharpened and certain aspects got distinguished in the philosophical debate? Did important aspects get lost along the way?


The Scientific Committee of FotFS VIII is cordially inviting all researchers to submit proposals for presentations covering either historical or philosophical aspects of infinity, or dealing with empirical  investigations of infinity in relation to the historical and philosophical aspects. The submission deadline is 31 May 2013.

Please submit the proposals for presentations via our EasyChair submission site at
A proposal should consist of a descriptive title and an abstract of 200 to 500 words. Do not submit a full paper and mark the “abstract only” checkbox of EasyChair for submission. Please make sure in  your abstract how your presentation will relate to the theme of the conference.

After the conference (as is the tradition for conferences in the series Foundations of the Formal Sciences), we will publish a post-proceedings volume in the book series Studies in Logic (College Publications, London). All authors of papers presented at FotFS VIII will be encouraged to submit a full version of their presentation. All submissions will be refereed according to the standards of high-quality journals of the field. The deadline for submission of these papers will be in December 2013.

Scientific Committee:

Brendan Larvor (Hatfield, U.K.), Benedikt Löwe (chair; Amsterdam, The Netherlands & Hamburg, Germany), Peter Koellner (Cambridge MA, U.S.A.), Dirk Schlimm (Montreal, Canada).

FotFS VIII is sponsored by the ESF network INFTY: New frontiers of infinity and the Division for Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science of the International Union for History and Philosophy  of Science (DLMPS/IUHPS).