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Leiden Theoretical Philosophy Colloquium with Arianna Betti, History of Philosophy in Ones and Zeros

1 November 2018
P.J. Veth Building
Nonnensteeg 1-3
2311 VJ Leiden

History of Philosophy in Ones and Zeros

The Leiden Theoretical Philosophy Colloquium Series is pleased to announce a lecture by

Arianna Betti

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor arianna betti



A quantitative investigation into the spread of the notion of conceptual scheme

How can we best reconstruct the origin of a notion, its development, and possible spread to multiple fields? I present a pilot study on the spread of the notion of conceptual scheme. Though the notion is philosophically important, its origin, development, and spread are unclear. Several purely qualitative and competing historical hypotheses have been offered, which rely on disconnected disciplinary traditions, and have never been tested all at once in a single comprehensive investigation fitting the scope of its subject matter. As a step toward such an investigation, I trace the use of the bigram “conceptual scheme” in about 42,000 US journal articles in social sciences from 1888-1959 by using a novel method combining a quantitative procedure aided by basic computational techniques with qualitative elements informed by Betti and van den Berg (2014)’s ‘model approach to the history of ideas’.

keywords: W. V. O. Quine, sociology at Harvard, L. J. Henderson, quantitative methods in the humanities, computational techniques applied to the history of philosophy, conceptual scheme.

(joint work with Hein van den Berg, Yvette Oortwijn and Caspar Treijtel)


Arianna Betti is Professor and Chair of Philosophy of Language at the University of Amsterdam, Institute of Logic, Language and Computation. After studying historical and systematic aspects of ideas such as axiom, truth and fact (Against facts, MIT Press, 2015), she now endeavours to trace the development of ideas such as these with computational techniques in a strongly interdisciplinary setting.

Leiden Theoretical Philosophy Series

The aim of the series is to present lectures expressing non-standard views on philosophical questions relating to knowledge, truth, science, logic, metaphysics, and the mind, including their history.

All are welcome!

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