September 27, 2023


Fields Cognitive Science Network:
Empirical Study of Mathematics
and How it is Learned






A New Book Series: Mathematics in Mind from Springer (flyer)
Marcel Danesi (University of Toronto)

Mathematics in Mind: The monographs and occasional textbooks published in this series tap directly into the kinds of themes, research findings, and general professional activities of the Fields Cognitive Science Network, which brings together mathematicians, philosophers, and cognitive scientists to explore the question of the nature of mathematics and how it is learned from various interdisciplinary angles.



Mind in Mathematics: Essays on Mathematical Cognition and Mathematical Method (2015).
Mariana Bockarova (Harvard University), Marcel Danesi (University of Toronto), Dragana Martinovic (University of Windsor), and Rafael Núñez (University of California, San Diego) (eds.), Interdisciplinary Studies on the Nature in Mathematics 03, 214pp, Lincom Europa.

Discovery in Mathematics: An Interdisciplinary Perspective (2013).
Marcel Danesi (University of Toronto), Interdisciplinary Studies on the Nature of Mathematics 02, 186pp, Lincom Europa.


Semiotic and Cognitive Science Essays on the Nature of Mathematics (2012).
Mariana Bockarova (Harvard University), Marcel Danesi (University of Toronto), and Rafael Núñez (University of California, San Diego) (eds.), Interdisciplinary Studies on the Nature of Mathematics 01, 240pp, Lincom Europa.



October 14, 2016 at 10:00am
Chandler Davis (Emeritus, University of Toronto)
Talk Title: TBA
Fields Institute, Stewart Library


March 6, 2015 at 10:00am
Robert Logan (Physics and St. Michael's College, University of Toronto)
What Is Information?
Fields Institute, Stewart Library

Shannon's Mathematical Theory of Information made an important contribution to our general understanding of information and found many applications in addition to his original engineering objective of determining the accuracy of transmitting a set of signals from a sender to a receiver. I suggest that Shannon created a theory of signals rather than a theory of information because of its lack of a concern with meaning and interpretation. Shannon readily admitted his theory was not concerned with the meaning of transmitted signals when he wrote: "Frequently the messages have meaning... These semantic aspects of communication are irrelevant to the engineering problem." This talk will explore the complex nature of information and the many ways in which this term is used. A distinction is made between the Shannon's notion of information and biotic information based on the Kauffman, Logan et al paper entitled The Propagation of Organization: An Enquiry. We suggested that the constraints that allow an organism to convert energy from its environment into the work required to maintain its metabolism represents biotic or instructional information, which differs from Shannon information. Terrence Deacon use of information as constraints in his book Incomplete Nature is described. The talk will also include other results from What is Information? - Propagating Organization in the Biosphere, the Symbolosphere, the Technosphere and the Econosphere (Logan 2014). Attendees at the talk will be offered a free copy of the digital version of this book.



March 21-23, 2013
Workshop on Mind in Mathematics: New Frontiers
Annual workshop of the network

Fields Institute FieldsLive video

January 18, 2013 at 10 a.m.
John Mighton (JUMP and Fields Institute)
The Importance of Teaching Math to Children

Fields Institute, FieldsLive video

In my talk I will argue that our society is harmed in many ways because we do not teach children according to their true potential in mathematics. I will present evidence from psychological and educational research, as well as evidence gathered by the JUMP program, that ability in math can be nurtured in virtually all students. I will examine the barriers that students typically face in learning math and suggest strategies for reducing those barriers.

BIO: John Mighton OC is the founder of JUMP math, a charity dedicated to improving the teaching of mathematics. He has taught math at U of T, philosophy at McMaster, and is a fellow of the Fields Institute. His plays have received a number of national awards, including two Governor General's awards, and have been performed around the world.


November 2, 2012
Guest Lectures on Studying Mathematical Cognition
Semiotic and Cognitive Science Perspectives
Fields Institute

Two lectures on the nature of mathematics,
10-11: Marcel Danesi Mathematics: A View from Vico
11-12: Rafael Núñez Are Mathematical Formal Definitions What We Think They Are?
Weierstrass, Continuity, and Modern Cognitive Science

Affiliated Event

November 17, 2012
University of Toronto Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Mind
Sandford Fleming Building, University of Toronto

October 11-12, 2012
Workshop on the Interdisciplinary Study of Mathematics
Organizers: Mariana Bockarova, Marcel Danesi, Dragana Martinovic, John Mighton, Rafael Núñez, & Mark Turner.
Fields Institute


March 14-18, 2011
Workshop on Semiotics, Cognitive Science and Mathematics
Fields Institute

(Audio and slides of talks)