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INTERNATIONAL UNION OF HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE,
DIVISION OF LOGIC, METHODOLOGY AND PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE

The meeting reported below seems to be the only meeting of DLMPS Council on record. During the period 2008-2011, the DLMPS Executive Committee met frequently but only by e-mail, and as yet no Minutes of these discussions are available.

UNCONFIRMED MINUTES
DLMPS Council Meeting
July 20, 2011, 19:30–21:15
Archives Henri Poincaré, Nancy, France

Present:

(2nd Vice-President Anne Fagot-Largeault talked at a public debate in Nancy at the time of the Council meeting, and Assessors Joelle Proust and Jeremy Butterfield had sent apologies in advance for being unable to attend.)

1 Opening

The President welcomed the participants and opened the meeting, thanking in particular Karine Chemla from DHST for attending. Dag Westerståhl was charged with taking minutes from the present meeting.

2 The local organization of the Nancy Congress

Gerhard Heinzmann gave a brief presentation of the organization and budget of the Nancy Congress (preliminary budget enclosed). The expenditure is nearly 1 million Euro. There is currently a deficit of around 120,000 Euro with respect to the income, but this will be covered after the Congress by a further grant from FEDER (Fonds Européen de Développement Régional). The unusually large income (by DLMPS standards) is due to support from the city of Nancy, the region of Lorraine, the French government, and to very generous support from the University of Nancy and from CNRS, in addition to support from several other institutions, including DLMPS, and congress fees. Also, the Faculty of Law where the Congress is held, spent 3.5 million Euro on a thorough renovation of its localities, lecture rooms, etc., which was finished in time for the Congress. The regional support for the Congress (note that the FEDER support has to come via the region) is reflected in the public program of the Congress, which consists of public lectures and debates (in French) during five evenings of the Congress. The Congress had been widely advertised in the region, in press and other media, under the motto 'Nancy open to the world'; in this connection the emphasis on the Special Topic 'Logic and Science Facing the New Technologies' had also been helpful.

In connection with finances, Karine Chemla confirmed that DHST, in contrast with DLMPS, who spent around 24,000 Euro on the Nancy Congress, actually earns a small income from its congresses. For example, for the 2009 congress in Budapest, DHST gave 10,000 Euro as seed money to the organizers. but afterwards received around 18,000 Euro from them, via a percentage of the registration fees. This was noted and will be passed on to the next EC.

Gerhard Heinzmann further noted that they had perhaps been too generous in paying expenses for participants other than the speakers officially invited in the sections and invited symposia, and DLMPS officials. This was partly due to the fact there were many other symposia, whose invited speakers sometimes expected refunding in some form from the organizers, and whose participants were not always willing to pay the registration fee for the Congress, in particular if they only attended their own symposium. Although the rules for the Special and the Affiliated Symposia are quite clear on these points, the information had not always gotten through, and the organizers had chosen to waive fees or cover other expenses in many such cases, which according to GH perhaps was a mistake. (On the other hand, the Nancy budget seemed to be able to afford it.)

Another 'mistake', according to Gerhard Heinzmann, had been to overestimate the attendance at the welcome dinner on the first day, and the free lunches during each congress day. For example, the welcome dinner was prepared for all who registered for it, which was 200 more persons than actually came. The unnecessary lunch expenditure could be avoided by charging participants a small amount for lunch. Miklós Rédei objected that the free lunches in the University mensa are one of the most appreciated features of the Congress, where people instead of dispersing around town during lunchtime can socialize and continue discussions.

The special logo for the Nancy Congress (the design of which had cost around 2000 Euro) was much appreciated by the Council members, and Wilfrid Hodges raised the issue — to be passed on to the next EC — of obtaining a similar or partly identical logo for the Division itself.

Wilfrid Hodges thanked Gerhard Heinzmann and his team for their enormously impressive work before and during the Congress, and asked if there was something further that DLMPS might have done to facilitate the organization. Gerhard Heinzmann replied that possibly it would have been helpful to have a clearer 'political' statement of the task of the Congress: If not only scientific quality but also public outreach was a stated goal, procuring support from regional (and European) institutions might become easier. This led to a discussion of the role of scientific quality for the LMPS congresses; see below.

3 The scientific program of the Congress

Peter Schroeder-Heister gave a brief report on how the General Program Committee had operated. Rather than relying on more or less independent Section Committees, the GPC had appointed senior advisors for the scientific areas not covered by the GPC members themselves; these advisors had in turn appointed other advisors to form internal subcommittees. As usual, some of the committees had worked very well, others less well. The regional and gender imbalance among invited speakers is a recurring problem, also due to the fact that there had been an unusually large number of people declining the invitation, especially in the areas that are not traditionally central to LMPS. Apparently, the status of an invitation to a LMPS congress is not as high as it used to be. The GPC and some of its advisors had had one meeting in Amsterdam to discuss the scientific program; this was an important complement to the usual email deliberations. Peter Schroeder-Heister recommended that such a meeting should be held also before the next congress, and that the GPC should collect a significantly larger pool of possible invited speakers to choose from. This would improve gender and regional distribution. In this connection, he had also gathered information about who were the invited speakers at LMPS congresses from the Uppsala Congress in 1991 and onwards; it was agreed that this very useful information should be put on the DLMPS web site.

A novel feature of the congress is the high number of symposia (invited, proposed, and affiliated), 40 altogether. This seems to have been much appreciated. Dag Westerståhl noted that at DHST congresses, a large part of the scientific program is organized by more or less independent groups of scholars, in particular by their various Commissions.

The selection of a Special Topic for the Congress (rather than a general theme) also seems to have been a successful innovation, and attracted a number of scholars who otherwise might not have come.

Concerning the contributed papers, around 10% had been rejected, which is about twice as many as for earlier congresses. The decline of contributed papers in mathematical logic and computer science (as well as some other areas such as linguistics) continues; in some of these sections the number of contributed papers only barely exceeds the number of invited ones. In an ensuing discussion of quality and rejection rate, two opposing views emerged. Miklós Rédei, for example, argued that a low rejection rate indicates bad quality and will damage the reputation of the LMPS congresses, and make the best researchers unwilling to attend them. In some other areas, a rejection rate below 60% is considered a mark of low quality. He also thought one week is too long; 3 days and a shorter program would be sufficient. On the other hand, it was noted that in other areas such as computer science, acceptance of a paper entails its publication in highly prestigious conference proceedings, whereas in physics, for example, conference proceedings have no status at all, and LMPS congresses do not publish contributed papers (except that sometimes the local organizers select some contributed papers for a separate publication). These matters vary very much among disciplines. As to DLMPS, significantly increasing quality requirements for contributed papers would work against the traditional role of LMPS congresses as an opportunity for scholars from all over the world to meet and to listen to talks by the most renowned experts in logic and philosophy of science. It is clear that such an increase would in particular diminish the number of participants from developing countries. Normally, to obtain any form of local support, a scholar needs to have her or his paper accepted for the congress. There are also some grants given by the local organizers, and Gerhard Heinzmann noted that in some cases, even scholars whose papers were rejected had been offered such grants. In general, however, it is difficult for someone whose paper is not accepted to attend the Congress. From this perspective, then, quality resides mainly in the invited speakers. This raises the issue of the number of such speakers; the 70 or so at Nancy were unusually many. Miklós Rédei thought this numbers could be reduced; others argued that that would diminish the attraction of the Congress. As to the expenditure for invited speakers, it was noted that expenditure could be reduced by only offering a maximum lump sum (say, 500 Euro) to each speaker regardless of his or her actual expenses; this practice is followed at some other conferences. All these points of view are passed on to the next EC and Council of DLMPS.

As to publication, the Council decided that the proceedings volume should be edited by Pierre Edouard Bour, Gerhard Heinzmann, Wilfrid Hodges, and Peter Schroeder-Heister, and further suggested that continued publication with College Publications, London, probably is the best option.

4 Agenda for the General Assembly

The detailed agenda for the GA prepared by Wilfrid Hodges was thought to be completely adequate and requiring no further changes. As to the minutes of the GA, it was decided that these should be put on the web site as soon as possible after the event, but that publication in Synthese should only happen when the minutes are approved by the next GA, i.e. four years after. This procedure has in effect already been followed for the minutes of the 2007 Beijing Congress.

5 Closure

The President closed the meeting, again thanking Gerhard Heinzmann for his hospitality.

Nancy, July 24, 2011
Dag Westerståhl