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Mathematics with a Human Face: Set Theory within a Naturalized Wittgensteinean Framework

Bilde av Wittgenstein intregrert i en sky av matematiske symboker på blåsort bakgrunn

In December 2018 the Research Council of Norway awarded a major research grant to two University of Bergen professors, Sorin Bangu (Project Leader) and Kevin Cahill (Collaborator), for the project Mathematics with a Human Face: Set Theory within a Naturalized Wittgensteinean Framework.

The project investigates the reasons why concepts such as ‘set’ and ‘number’ have remained philosophically obscure – nobody really knows what these things are – despite the immense success of mathematics over centuries. The idea is to approach this issue by building on an overlooked Wittgensteinean insight, that "mathematics is after all an anthropological phenomenon" (RFM VII-33). The proposal is to regard mathematics, the primitive operations of Set Theory in particular, as a special practice, ultimately of a social nature, constitutive of the human form of life. The research has interdisciplinary aspects, and involves collaborations with Wittgenstein Archives in Bergen (WAB) and other disciplines such as mathematics, anthropology and psychology.

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