Thursday, May 17, 2012



On June 7th and 8th, at the JVE in Maastricht, the Netherlands, the third Form & Formalism conference will be taking place, under the title Formalisation & Dialectics. Pasted below are the manifesto, schedule and poster for the conference (designed by Mary Ikoniadou).


It has been two hundred years since the glacial drift of syllogistics gave way to the unsteady movements of science, a double revolution that would both revive and divided the discipline of logic. Two texts served to mark the irreversible thresholds that logic had crossed: Hegel’s Science of Logic in 1812, and Boole’s Mathematical Analysis of Logic in 1847.

Were it not for Hegel’s own excessive resistance to the idea of mathematising logic – an idea not yet realised before his death – the most doctrinaire dialectician would no doubt expect the eventual synthesis of these anti- thetical trajectories in a ‘higher unity’. On this score, however, history has been meek. The two traditions issuing from the logical revolts of the nineteenth century – the tradition of mathematical logic, on the one hand, and dialectical logic on the other. By the twentieth century, the gulf between The Algebra Of Revolution announced by Herzen and Lenin, and The Revolution In Algebra begun by Grassmann and Boole had become almost entirely void of communication. Dialectical philosophers, with a handful of brilliant exceptions, would become increasingly oblivious to the events unfolding in the mathematical science of logic, while mathematical logicians, again with rare and ingenious exceptions, would become increasingly unconcerned with the demands of dialectical philosophy.

It is this situation that we wish to interrupt.

If dialectics is to be reanimated, today, we must cross it at is point of greatest resistance, a blind spot formed by a resistance to mathematics: the idea, which Hegel resisted furiously despite the embryonic status in which his time retained it, of logical calculation.

It was through this idea that history would give birth to another that is ultimately more profound: the idea of logico-mathematical formalisation, an idea that would liberate mathematical thought from the contingency of its objects, through an act of reflection that would make it itself a mathematical object. This would, moreover, be a reflection subject to an essentially dialectical drama, slipping away from its own grasp, a refractory reflection that would generate antinomies, incompletions and subversions of meaning. Through this struggle to apprehend itself as such, mathematical logic would, quietly, and without attracting the attention of either of the two traditions that the nineteenth century began, rebuild the dialectic from the calculi Hegel rejected.

The purpose of this conference is, first and foremost, to draw philosophy’s attention to this reanimation of the dialectic from the ‘dead bones’ of calculation, to accelerate this reanimation through careful experiments
in formalisation, and interrupt the servitude to ‘the understanding’ to which philosophers have, for the last century, indentured mathematical logic. If philosophy wishes to find in logic something other than a regimentation of the understanding’s prejudices, then the task of tapping 
the underground current of the dialectic in mathematical logic the logico-mathematical force latent in dialectical philosophy, is one we can no longer ignore. 

JUNE 7th, 2012
11:00 - 13:00 > SESSION 1
Chair + opening remarks: Luke Fraser

John Bova, ‘Diagonalisation and Platonic dialectic’ Luke Fraser, responding

13:00 - 14:00 > LUNCH BREAK 14:00 - 17:00 > SESSION 2
Chair: Dhruv Jain
Emmanuel Barot, ‘To formalise the dialectic, to institutionalise freedom – two contradictions or one and the same?’
Alessio Moretti, responding Discussion
Baptiste Mélès, ‘The categorial dialectics of F.W. Lawvere’
Tzuchien Tho, responding Discussion
17:15 - 18:45 > SESSION 3
Jon Short
Gregor Moder, ‘Logic of emanation’ John van Houdt, responding Discussion
19:00 > DINNER

JUNE 8th, 2012
11:00 - 15:00 > SESSION 4
Chair: Sami Khatib
Jamila Mascat, ‘Hegel in Jena and the critique of abstraction’
Mladen Dolar, responding Discussion
Luke Fraser, ‘Go back to An-Fang’ Julian Rohrhuber, responding Discussion
Round Table Discussion 

SUGGESTED READINGS (specimen texts)

Can be downloaded HERE.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Locus Solum Reading Group: A Proposal

Would anyone out there with a bit of background in logic (or who's otherwise just tenacious) be interested in putting together a slow-moving reading group on Girard's "Locus Solum" monograph? Wonderful, brilliant and terribly dense material. Really ideal for this sort of thing.

Here's the text:

 If you're not already hooked by the epigraph, I don't know what to tell you:

 "Go back to An-fang, the Peace Square at An-Fang, the Beginning Place at An-Fang, where all things start (...) An-Fang was near a city, the only living city with a pre-atomic name (...) The headquarters of the People Programmer was at An-Fang, and there the mistake happened: A ruby trembled. Two tourmaline nets failed to rectify the laser beam. A diamond noted the error. Both the error and the correction went into the general computer." 
- Cordwainer Smith, The Dead Lady of Clown Town, 1964.
If you are interested, please leave a comment.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Das Gute liegt ausserhalb des Tatsachenraums.

What I want to say about the Good can be understood in relation to Wittgenstein’s remark, “The Good is outside the space of facts.” It turns out that there is no space of facts, that the facts do not make a space. But it turns out that way at a particular point of real spacetime – where the Good diagonalizes out. In this way, the sacrificed totality of facts, and its floating subject, are both transfixed and opened. They are converted into relation with what is above and beneath participatory facticality – existence and the One – as these enter their disjunctive alignment.

(x-posted to -J.)