Narrative and Mathematical Argument - workshop 28th September - London

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Dear all,

The Narrative Science project is pleased to announce the 'Narrative and Mathematical Argument' workshop, which will take place on the LSE campus on the 28th of September. Further details can be found below. A number of spaces are available for those wishing to attend this workshop. Please write to Dr Dominic Berry in order to record your interest in attending, we will accommodate as many as we can:

The deadline to register your interest is Friday 13th of September.

Narrative and Mathematical Argument
Narrative Science Workshop
Saturday 28th September
at London School of Economics
Organised by Dr Dominic Berry and Professor Mary S. Morgan

Doing mathematics and telling narratives might seem at the opposite end of the scientific research enterprise, but - as we have already found in our Narrative Science project - narratives crop up even where you least expect them in the sciences including in the company of mathematics. The issue to be explored in the workshop is how, when, and why, narratives work with mathematics rather than against it. The questions of interest include:

  • How does narrative work with the deductive nature of mathematics? Is there a special form of ‘narrative argument’ to be found in mathematics? If so, is the narrative complementary to the reasoning, even perhaps an essential partner to the argument, or is there a creative tension between the two?
  • What characteristics does narrative have when it is found with mathematical reasoning? Do such narratives share the virtues of elegance and simplicity often associated with mathematics? What counts as a ‘good narrative’ when found in or with mathematical work?
  • Do narratives in (or of) proof-making work differently from narratives associated with other kinds of mathematical reasoning? Do narratives work more effectively with demonstrations or with explorations in mathematical work? Do narratives have a better hold, or find a more natural home, in certain kinds of mathematics, or with certain kinds of mathematical arguments?
  • Are narratives associated with particular professional practices in mathematics? Do those narratives transfer without alteration into pedagogical practices or do they disappear there?

The aim of this workshop is to explore examples - cases - of the use of narratives in the practices of mathematics by mathematicians, or perhaps by scientists using various forms of mathematics. It is about how narratives function with mathematics in various way, at different sites, and for different purposes at the professional level, rather than on how narratives function in pedagogy, or in public engagement. For further discussion of the project, we invite you to look at the website (above), and the introduction to the special issue of the project for Studies in History and Philosophy of Science (2017).

Confirmed Speakers

Stephanie Dick
Karine Chemla
Line Andersen
Fenner Tanswell
David Corfield