How Language Informs Mathematics Dirk Damsma shows how Hegel’s and Marx’s systematic dialectical analysis of mathematical and economic language helps us understand the structure and nature of mathematical and capitalist systems. More importantly, Damsma shows how knowledge of the latter can inform model assumptions and help improve models.
His book provides a blueprint for an approach to economic model building that does away with arbitrarily chosen assumptions and is sensitive to the institutional structures of capitalism. In light of the failure of mainstream economics to understand systemic failures like the financial crisis and given the arbitrary character of most assumptions in mainstream models, such an approach is desperately needed.
Kreative Gegensätze Marcel Bubert analyses the debates among medieval scholastics on the social usefulness of learned knowledge in their specific social and cultural contexts. In particular, he shows how the skepticism towards the scholars as well as the tensions between the University of Paris, the French royal court, and the citizens of Paris had profound effects on the scientific community, and led to very different views on the utility of philosophy. Some Masters responded to the expectations of society by emphasizing the autonomy of philosophical cognition. Others departed radically from this notion of science “for its own sake”, and created decidedly “practical” concepts of knowledge. The examination of these contentious relations shows how the dynamics of mutual demarcation within this “constellation” became intellectually prolific by way of generating highly original and innovative responses to the question of the utility of philosophy.