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Haverford College

Thinking In Images: Diagrams Across the Divisions

Transdivisional Workshop
April 12-13, 2012
Haverford College

Organized by Joshua Ramey, Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing

CDCP Co-Directors Schedule The Trans-Divisional Logistics Participate

Visual representations of knowledge are usually thought to re-state concepts that are already known, or to repeat ideas that can in principle exist outside their visual representations. But is this true? To what extent do diagrams, graphs, and images produce new knowledge? To what extent can such knowledge exist only in and as a diagram, graph, or image? In order to reconsider the way that thinking in images pervades nearly every discipline in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, the Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities and the Distinguished Visitors Program welcomes the Center for Diagrammatic and Computational Philosophy to Haverford College for a two-day intensive workshop. We invite interested Haverford faculty and students to apply to participate in a symposium on diagrammatic reasoning with the co-directors of the center, mathematician Gianluca Caterina and philosopher Rocco Gangle, along with two of their students from Endicott College. Caterina and Gangle will also present their work in a lecture open to the entire College community.


Following up on the success of the inaugural Customs Week Transdivisional Faculty/Student Workshop, we invite any and all interested Haverford undergraduates to apply to participate in this unique form of dialogue and exchange across the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

Co-directors Gianluca Caterina (mathematics) and Rocco Gangle (philosophy/humanities) describe the work of The Center for Diagrammatic and Computational Philosophy (CDCP) in the following way:

"Housed at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts, the CDCP is dedicated to fostering research in diagrammatic and computational philosophy with real-world relevance and potential. We are particularly interested in how the collaborative work of philosophers, mathematicians, scientists, artists and others at undergraduate, graduate and professional levels may contribute to the productive application of diagrammatic and computational methods to broader social, economic and political concerns. We are committed to connecting with multiple research centers, scholars and academic institutions around the globe involved in similar and related research, and we aim to engage projects and relationships in these areas at local, regional and global levels."

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About the Co-Directors of the Center for Diagrammatic and Computational Philosophy:

Gianluca Caterina

Gianluca Caterina

Gianluca Caterina received his Ph.D in 2007 at Tufts University under the supervision of Professor Bruce Boghosian. In his thesis he proved a result concerning the limits of the application of least action principles to a certain class of invertible discrete dynamical systems. Since 2008 he has been working as an Assistant Professor at Endicott College, where, together with his colleague Rocco Gangle, started new research in the field of diagrammatic reasoning, focusing on problems concerning the foundation of mathematics and its relation with modern philosophy.

Rocco Gangle

Rocco Gangle

Rocco Gangle is an Associate Professor in the School of Arts and Sciences, Endicott College. He received his PhD from the University of Virginia in 2007. His work covers issues in Diagrammatic Logic (Peirce, diagrammatic reasoning, category theory, topos theory), Continental Philosophy (Spinoza, phenomenology, Deleuze, Badiou, Laruelle), and Philosophy of Science (self-organizing systems, religion and science, techno-ethics). He is the author of numerous articles, including "Consequences of a Diagrammatic Representation of Paul Cohen's Forcing Technique Based on Peirce's Existential Graphs" with Gianluca Caterina. He is the translator of Francois Laruelle's Philosophies of Difference: A Critical Introduction to Non-Philosophy (London: Continuum, 2010).

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For this symposium on diagrammatic reasoning across the divisions, Gangle, Caterina, and two Endicott undergraduates will participate in two days of intensive Transdivisional activity on the Haverford Campus, centered on a faculty/student workshop. For the workshop, interested Haverford faculty members will propose brief readings relevant to the topics of diagrammatic reasoning. Then both students and faculty will meet for two three-hour sessions of intensive exchange around (but not limited to) the following topics:

  • How do diagrams, and the practice of diagrammatic reasoning, inform various programs of research?
  • To what extent are diagrams representations of existing knowledge, and to what extent can they engender new knowledge?
  • How are hypotheses formed through the usage of images, graphs, and diagrams?
  • To what extent is thinking without images possible or impossible?
  • Is it possible to diagram knowledge that cannot be apprehended outside of a particular diagrammatic form?
  • How do diagrams block, confirm, or extend our intuitions?

The seminar will take place between 9am and noon, on Thursday April 12 and Friday April 13. Gangle and Caterina will present their work in a public talk on Thursday, April 12, at 4:30pm.

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Interested Haverford students should spend some time exploring the CDCP website, then send a paragraph addressing each of the following three questions to by Monday, March 26th with "[last name] thinking in images " in the subject line:

  1. What does "thinking in images" mean to you?
  2. Why would you be interested in exploring a workshop in how symbols, diagrams, and visualizations inform research?
  3. What would you bring to the workshop and/or hope to gain from it?

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Thursday, April 12:

9am–12pm, Stokes 102
Morning Workshop for Student/Faculty Symposium Participants

4:30pm–6:00pm, Stokes Auditorium
"Iconicity, Abduction, and Diagrammatic Truth"
Public lecture by Gianluca Caterina and Rocco Gangle, Co-Directors, Center for Diagrammatic and Computational Philosophy, Endicott College

Friday, April 13:

9am–12pm, Stokes 102
Morning Workshop for Student/Faculty Symposium Participants

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Please direct any questions to

Sponsored by the John B. Hurford '60 Center for the Arts and Humanities and the Distinguished Visitors Program