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Thinking 'through numbers'

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Science studies has shown that scientific knowledge is above all about practice. In my paper, I will question the possibility of doing theoretical physics without being able to manipulate equations or draw diagrams. Can one see ‘through numbers’? And/or can numbers be replaced by words? Is intuition an individual or a collective process? Can we eliminate the persistent phantom of cognitive explanations, and, if not, has anthropology of science failed? Or can we talk about cognitive processes differently? If we think that the term practice embraces all activities and that the dichotomy between theory and practice is only a theoretical one, what do theoreticians ‘do’ that is different from what experimentalists or accountants do? What kinds of objects are produced? And how do we/they produce ‘abstraction’?

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science series.

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