Abstracts (L-Z)

Abstracts are listed alphabetically by the speaker's last name.

See also the general descriptions of symposia.

Lee, "Complementarity, classical concepts, and the relativized a priori"

Even since its first appearance in 1927, Bohr's complementarity has been subject to various interpretations and distortions from both physicists and philosophers. Though perceptive commentators are not lacking (Folse 1985; Faye 1991), Bohr's principle was never liked by early quantum physicists such as Heisenberg, Pauli, and Dirac and recently disparaged as a rhetorical device for legitimizing Copenhagen hegemony (Beller 1999). Along with complementarity, equally notorious is Bohr's doctrine of classical concepts, according to which classical concepts are necessary for any description of nature, including the description of quantum phenomena. Despite numerous efforts to achieve a coherent understanding of complementarity and classical concepts in Bohr, we are still groping in the dark about the precise nature of them.

In yet another attempt to understand Bohr, this paper offers a novel interpretation of complementarity and classical concepts in terms of the relativized a priori. Since the pioneering work of Michael Friedman (1999, 2001), there has been growing interest in the role of Kantian a priori principles in modern physics. However, quantum physics has not received the same amount of attention it deserves from this transcendental perspective, whereas Bohr's principle affords exciting opportunities for exactly such an interpretation.

More precisely, complementarity is an epistemological principle that regulates the use of classical concepts. Classical concepts for Bohr are not mere concepts of classical theories in physics, but more philosophically loaded terms referring to space and time, and causality. At other places, Bohr also refers to them as "forms of perception" (Anskuelsesformer), which suggest his original conception and their Kantian origin. Even though novel situations in quantum theory present difficulties to unrestricted use of classical concepts, the latter are by no means dispensable in the description of nature, for experience makes its appearance only within the frame of such concepts. It is in this sense classical concepts are the relativized a priori in quantum theory.

Quantum theory acquires experimental contents only with the help of classical concepts. In other words, measuring devices described by classical concepts must in place before the application of quantum laws like Schrodinger’s equations. Otherwise, quantum formalism is just a "symbolic scheme" without any empirical contents. Classical concepts are constitutive of the object of experience in that they must be presupposed relative to the quantum domain so that the latter can be meaningfully described by quantum laws. Thus the distinction between classical descriptions of measuring devices and properly quantum laws closely parallels Reichenbach's distinction between axioms of coordination and axioms of connection (Reichenbach 1965[1920]). Since the application of two complementary classical concepts like space-time and causality are mutually exclusive features of quantum-mechanical descriptions, classical concepts are no longer universally valid, and there are inherent limitations of such a priori concepts. Seen in this light, complementarity is exactly what expresses the limitations of Kantian a priori and the degree to which it is relativized.

Lennox, "Aristotle on Norms of Inquiry"

A classic question that has divided scholarship on Aristotle from the Greek commentators forward is whether Aristotle is an empiricist or rationalist regarding scientific principles—or put slightly differently, an inductivist or coherentist. Often one has the impression that the answer a particular commentator gives stems more from a principle of charity than from positive evidence for the attribution: Aristotle is a profound philosopher, and a profound philosopher should hold that first principles are grounded in the appropriate way.

At first blush it would seem obvious that Aristotle is on the empiricist/inductivist side on this question. After all, the text that is often taken to state his definitive position on the question, Posterior Analytics II. 19, claims that there is a path that leads from perception to ‘the first universal in the soul’, and from there to first principles, and this path is described as coming to know by induction (APo. II. 19 100a3-b4). The same position is endorsed by the first chapter of the Metaphysics, and more generally by what appears to be empiricist commitments in his works in natural science.

There are, however, good reasons why many wise commentators on Aristotle have found problems with attributing this position to Aristotle. In this talk, I review those reasons, and suggest that they stem from looking in the wrong place for Aristotle’s views on inductive inquiry. Aristotle, as it turns out (and as he tells us repeatedly) is a ‘localist’ when it comes to scientific first principles. One can say very, very little at the level of complete generality about how one grounds the basic concepts, definitions and causal principles of a science, and even less on how one goes about avoiding all of the pitfalls that characterize inductive inquiry. Aristotle has rich and interesting ideas about the norms that should govern scientific inquiry, but those ideas are to be found in self-consciously methodological passages within his scientific works. A number of these passages from diverse investigatons will be explored to tease out what those norms of inquiry are and to display their inherently ‘local’ character.

Limbeck-Lilienau, "Theory-ladenness of Observation and the New Psychology of Perception"

Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend, following Norwood Hanson, defended the view that perceptual experience and scientific observation is influenced and changed by our concepts. Changing theories implies changing explanatory concepts and thus a different mode of perception. This idea of the theory-ladenness of observation relied on the view that scientific observation is a form of “seeing as” where the perceptual process cannot be clearly separated from the application of concepts. As Kuhn and Feyerabend accept meaning holism, the meaning of concepts changes within different theories and therefore the observations. Other strong support, besides meaning holism, in defense of theory-ladenness is based upon studies of the psychology of perception. Kuhn and Feyerabend rejected the separation of philosophy of science from psychology (sociology and history) and relied upon the newly emerging psychology of perception to support their thesis of theory-ladenness. The psychology of the 1950s strongly suggested the idea, that perceptual processes are penetrated by beliefs and conceptual content. Besides Gestalt psychology, the so called “new look” in psychology (e.g. Jerome Bruner in the US, but also European psychologist like Ivo Kohler with his goggle experiments) influenced theory-ladenness and seemed to confirm it empirically. Here I will investigate mainly this influence of the new psychology of perception on Hanson, Kuhn and Feyerabend assessing their use of these empirical results for the thesis of theory-ladenness of observation. Since the results of the psychology of perception of the 50s have been questioned and challenged by recent psychology (Z. Pylyshyn, 2003), philosophers have reassessed the question how much the psychology of perception actually supports the idea of the theory-ladenness of observation (J. Fodor, 1984; P. Churchland, 1988). I will therefore investigate if the psychological studies used by Kuhn, Feyerabend and Hanson support their position.

Look, "Euler’s Anti-Leibnizian Critique: Monadism, Dynamism and Rationalism in the ‘Letters to a German Princess’"

Leonhard Euler’s Lettres à une princess d’allemagne sur divers sujets de physique et de philosophie (1770) was one of the most popular and influential works of the latter half of the 18th-century. It represents a summary, as it were, of Euler’s views concerning a huge range of topics – from metaphysics and epistemology to electro-magnetism, optics and geology. Indeed, the scope of the work makes it a rival – in epistolary form – to Descartes’s Principles of Philosophy, and few other works in the history of philosophy and science embody as well Descartes’s own vision of the Tree of Philosophy. Written at a time when Newtonianism and Lockeanism were competing with remnants of Cartesianism and Leibnizianism, it offers us today an excellent view of the intellectual climate of continental Europe in the high Enlightenment, when Diderot was finishing the Encyclopédie but also when Kant was still in his dogmatic slumbers. One of its most striking features, however, is its sustained and strident attack on the philosophy of Leibniz and his followers. And this will be the focus of the present study.

This paper has two main goals. first, to examine Euler’s critique of monadism, dynamism, and rationalism in general; and, second, to investigate (briefly) Euler’s positive views concerning metaphysics and the foundations of natural philosophy. It will be shown that Euler’s anti-Leibnizian arguments are actually directed mainly at the self-proclaimed followers of Leibniz and that they have little force against the real views of Leibniz. Further, it will be shown that, while Euler’s account of the nature of body is straight-forwardly Newtonian, his account of the nature of body-body and mind-body causation is superficial and, therefore, problematic.

Lutz, "Two Constants in Carnap's View on Scientific Theories"

The received view on the development of the correspondence rules in Carnap’s philosophy of science is that Carnap first assumed that all terms can be explicitly defined in observational terms, and later weakened this assumption until he finally conjectured that all observational terms can be explicitly defined in theoretical terms, but not vice versa. I argue that from the very beginning, Carnap held this last view, albeit at times in contradiction to his professed position. To establish this point I argue that Carnap’s ‘Über die Aufgabe der Physik’ (1923) is a contribution to the philosophy of science of logical empiricism, contrary to Thomas Mohrmann and in agreement with Herbert Feigl. It forms a coherent whole with Carnap’s other early works ‘Dreidimensionalität des Raumes und Kausalität. Eine Untersuchung über den logischen Zusammenhang zweier Fiktionen’ (1924), Physikalische Begriffsbildung (1926), and Der logische Aufbau der Welt (1928). In all of these works, Carnap claims that the physical state of the world completely determines its observational state, but not vice versa. This claim can be phrased as a translatability claim or a claim about the possible expansions of physical and observational models. In both cases, results from the theory of definition establish Carnap’s later claim about the definability of observational terms and the indefinability of theoretical ones.

Michael Friedman argues in ‘Epistemology in the Aufbau’ (1992, 21f) that in the ‘Aufgabe’, Carnap describes a method to uniquely determine the physical state of the world from its observational state, and that the Aufbau relies on this method. I agree with the latter, but not the former claim. Rather, the passage to which Friedman refers describes a method to uniquely predict future observational states of the world from current ones. The passage also contains an explicit repudiation of Friedman’s claim.

Another received view on Carnap’s philosophy of science is that it was eventually widely disavowed in favor of the semantic view as, for example, developed by van Fraassen. However, in the ‘Dreidimensionalität’, the Begriffsbildung, and the Aufbau, Carnap proposes a formalization of physical theories as restrictions on phase space that not only resurfaces in his own later works, but also in Bas van Fraassen’s. While Carnap considers his formalization as given in the object language of predicate logic, van Fraassen considers his to be given in the metalanguage of predicate logic. However, since both the early Carnap and the later van Fraassen work in only one language, the distinction is spurious. Therefore van Fraassen’s conception of scientific theories is not a radical break with Carnap’s philosophy of science, but rather its continuation.

Maienschein, "Competing Embryological Epistemologies: How do we study development?"

If we accept that embryologists can have philosophical convictions that amount to operational philosophies of science, which I do, then exploration of the history of competing epistemological assumptions will reveal one little-discussed aspect of the history of philosophy of science. In fact, given the current public fascination with development and stem cells in particular, it serves us well to unpack the scientists’ underlying assumptions about their research and to show how these have changed over time and in response to what factors. Such understanding will illuminate current scientific debates as well as discussions within the history of philosophy of science.

This paper will examine (necessarily very briefly) changing epistemological assumptions among embryologists and developmental biologists by focusing on selected historical episodes. First, as background and introduction, are the classic debates of the 18th century. Here, as Shirley Roe has shown, materialistic metaphysics forced adherents to adopt preformationist interpretations of embryology, which in turn led to reliance on logic above observation. In contrast, those who began with an epistemological commitment to observation and empirical verifiability felt forced to adopt a vitalist metaphysics in order to provide an acceptable explanation for the gradual emergence of form. This period, full of debate (including even duels over scientific positions) set the stage for later debates.

The second episode occurred in the late 19th century, at a time of rapidly accumulating empirical evidence of epigenetic gradual emergence of form, but with new worries about the extent to which experimental manipulation reveals natural processes. Experimentation triumphed, but questions remained as Hans Spemann took what seemed like random bits of embryos and used them to cause the induction of whole frogs where there would have been none. Perhaps it would be possible to transplant a nucleus from one organism to another, and thereby to “clone” the donor (as it was called later). How should the study of embryos be carried out? With such disruptive experimentation or with mathematical modeling or perhaps by looking more closely at inheritance of “information” as the source of gradually emerging form? Spemann, Turing, Waddington, and many others offered competing interpretations of how development should be studied, with implicit philosophies of science underpinning their competing points of view.

Third is the rise of developmental biology, which largely replaced embryology during the 1960s /70s. Embryos disappeared as objects of interest for the most extreme researchers with their eyes on genes and genomes and a deep commitment to an analytical epistemic approach. This focus on genetics has led to the call for “epigenetics.“ The term initially introduced by Waddington to evoke Aristotelian epigenesis in the context of gene action, has taken on wildly different and divergent meanings in recent decades, and at the root of debates often lie fundamentally different epistemological assumptions.

Finally is current developmental biology: what are the different approaches through genetics, genomics, epigenetics, evo-devo, stem cell research, and systems biology? What are the underlying assumptions, and what difference does understanding the philosophy make for the science?

Manafu, "The British Emergentist View On Chemistry"

In 1923, C.D. Broad delivered the Tarner Lectures in the philosophy of science at Trinity College, Cambridge. In the subsequent couple of years, Broad produced The Mind and its Place in Nature, a monograph based on these lectures. Broad's book is considered referential for the current of thought that came to be known as "British emergentism".

In recent years, Broad's work received an increased amount of attention from authors concerned with emergence and reduction in all disciplines, but especially in the philosophy of mind. While it is true that Broad's motivation for the development of what he calls the "theory of emergence" was to account for the existence or appearance of secondary qualities such as colours and odours (which seem resistant to a purely mechanistic explanation), Broad's primary example of emergence, however, is that of chemical compounds. According to Broad, chemistry "seems to offer the most plausible example of emergent behaviour." (Broad 1925, 65).

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to examine and make explicit Broad's views on chemistry as the embodiment of emergence; second, to investigate whether Broad's position regarding chemistry could still be upheld today, after more than eight decades of scientic developments in this field.

I begin by looking at previous expositions of Broad's view on emergent chemical properties; according to these expositions, emergent properties are brought about by the so-called "congurational forces", forces which arise only when particles are arranged in select congurations (McLauglin 1992, Hendry 2006). I argue that such expositions do not represent Broad's views accurately. I aim for a more thorough examination of Broad's position, with an emphasis on the notion of trans-ordinal laws, and with a special focus on concrete examples of emergence that Broad proposed, such as AgCl (silver chloride). According to Broad, in order to learn about the properties of chemical compounds such as silver chloride, one must study samples of this substance, as they cannot be deduced, even in principle, from the properties of silver and those of chlorine taken separately or in other combinations.

The rest of the paper is devoted to an assessment of Broad's position, from the perspective of contemporary theoretical chemistry. Focusing once more on Broad's favorite chemical example (silver chloride) I argue that advancements in the understanding of the nature of chemical bond that took place during the 20th century render Broad's position implausible. Broad was aware of this possibility; thus, one may legitimately ask why he maintained the emergentist view on chemistry. The reasons, I argue, are philosophical, but also historical and chronological. I identify and explain these reasons, one of the most prominent being the fact that Broad published this work one year before Schrödinger discovered of the equation that governs the dynamics of quantum systems, result which allowed for a deeper understanding of the nature of chemical compounds than the one to which Broad had access.

Manning, ‘Connecting the Roots and the Branches: Metaphysics and Medicine in Descartes’ Philosophy’

In 1647 Descartes compared philosophy to a tree, designating metaphysics as philosophy’s roots, physics as its trunk and medicine among its branches. Looking primarily at medicine, in this paper I reexamine the metaphysics of extension frequently thought to define the subject-matter of Descartes’ physics. For, although there are significant ambiguities in Descartes’ medicine, this much is clear: (1) it is subalternated to physics, (2) it is concerned with human beings and (3) Descartes spent more than 20 years trying to refine it. Not only did learned medicine play an important part in the genesis of Descartes’ physics, but insofar as medicine emerged from the trunk of physics, Descartes needed to accommodate the sensations of pain and pleasure that guide the physician’s craft. These sensations are, however, unintelligible from the standpoint of a physics defined wholly in terms of extension.

One might conclude from this either that Descartes’ thinking about how physics and medicine come together is hopelessly muddled or, more drastically, that he must abandon the ideal of a unified tree of philosophy. In this paper, I present an alternative reading according to which Descartes is a committed anthropocentrist who prioritizes the metaphysics of human beings precisely at that point where his metaphysics and physics meet. I argue that this makes the subsequent connection between physics and medicine a seamless one because they share the same metaphysical foundation. The price to be paid is that we must reject the persuasive textual evidence that extension is the sole metaphysical foundation of Descartes’ physics and I conclude the paper by explicitly embracing this outcome.

Marquis, "Axiomatization and Abstraction"

Contemporary mathematics is undeniably abstract. Many identify the abstract character of mathematics with the systematic and general use of the axiomatic method. At first sight, the claim that the abstract nature of mathematical knowledge derives from the usage of the axiomatic method seems to be wrong. After all, Euclidean geometry, the penultimate axiomatic mathematical discipline, cannot be said to be abstract, at least not in the sense that modern mathematics is abstract. The axiomatic method might have something to do with the abstract nature of modern mathematics, but since any theory can be axiomatized, how can it account for the abstract nature of modern mathematics? How can we link the axiomatic method with abstractness?

The axiomatic method is undeniably difficult, but that is different from saying that it is abstract. I submit nonetheless that the claim that the abstract nature of mathematical knowledge is linked to the axiomatic method is essentially correct. I will argue in this paper that this is a consequence of the fact that the axiomatic method played and still plays a role in the process of mathematical abstraction. This role arose progressively in the 20th century and is responsible in large part of the unique character of contemporary mathematics. We will look at illustrations of this process, in the work, for instance of Maurice Fréchet and Stefan Banach on the geometric side, and on the algebraic side, the axiomatization of the notions of group, ring and field by various mathematicians. If we have time, we will consider more recent cases where the process is even more clear, that is axiomatization of various notions in the context of category theory.

Martin, C., ‘Forms and Qualities in Descartes’s Meteorological Explanations’

At the outset of Les Météores Descartes presented perhaps what he saw as the greatest novelty of this work: his refusal to employ “real qualities” or “substantial forms.” Substantial forms and real qualities were metaphysical concepts, which some scholastics utilized in their explanations of nature. They were not, however, the most prominent tools applied in contemporary meteorological treatises. While a number of Aristotelians employed substantial forms in meteorological treatises to a limited extent, few actually referred to the term “real quality” even if they used explanations that would fit within Descartes’s perception of that category. Similarities between Les Météores and the meteorology of Aristotelians extend beyond the limited application of these concepts in both his work and his more conservative contemporaries because Descartes’s rejection of these concepts is not a rejection of all qualities, forms or qualitative and formal explanations. Rather these kinds of causal explanation appear frequently in Les Météores, even if he thought the qualities were modal rather than real and that the forms were geometrical rather than substantial.

Many of the qualitative explanations found in Les Météores have clear parallels in the writings of his predecessors. The parallels begin with his use of terms such as exhalations and vapors and their relative subtleness or grossness, all nearly identical to the main explanatory concepts of Aristotelian meteorology. The correspondences between Descartes’s explanations and his contemporary Aristotelians extend to more specific accounts. For example, the flammability of the material that constitutes lightning, are considered sulfuric, oily, and fatty in nearly all early 17th-century accounts. These were qualities that Aristotelians believed contributed to the tendency for substances to catch on fire. While Descartes rejected “the hot” as a real quality, nevertheless, according to him hot air has the capacity to condense substances with which it comes into contact, much in the same was it did in traditional natural philosophies.

Descartes contended that all of the qualities he employed in his work could be reduced to modal qualities such as size, position, and shape. Thus he speculated that oily stuffs were composed of particles that lined up in the same way fishmongers stored eels in jars. In his view subtle matter possessed a range of tendencies because of its small size and resulting levity. As a result, the qualities did not add a dimension of reality to substances but rather depended on more basic concepts. Yet it seems that the qualitative descriptions are crucial to Les Météores because they render Descartes’s account and analogies more vivid since the causes are more tangible and the descriptions are in accordance with general notions of the sensible world. While the qualities are potentially reducible, their explanatory role corresponds to what is found in Aristotelian works, suggesting that Descartes appropriated these qualitative descriptions from contemporaries.

Martin, J., "Fundamentality and the Role of Philosophy in Later Twentieth Century Physics"

The American physics community hosted a philosophical debate between high energy physicists and solid state physicists as these disciplines grew through the second half of the twentieth century. This debate, as identified by historians and philosophers of science such as Jordi Cat, Sam Schweber, and Daniel Kevles, contested the nature of “fundamental” research. The high energy community adopted a reductionist approach, arguing that the most fundamental laws govern the elemental components of matter. Solid state researchers, in contrast, stressed the importance of emergent characteristics, maintaining that an investigation of any level of complexity might yield fundamental insight. This paper traces the genesis of this philosophical disagreement, which grew both from specific problems physicists encountered in their research, and from the demands of funding their work in Cold War America. Philosophical commitments played rhetorical, justificatory, and motivational roles in the post-World War II physical research. Through an exploration of how physicists’ philosophies operated within their research and their rhetoric, I will argue that further attention to such philosophical commitments is warranted when examining the role philosophy played in motivating research, and the parallel role it played in justifying that research to external funding bodies and the general public.

This paper will chart the changing conditions within the physics community between the late 1940s and the 1960s, showing how those changes contributed to the development of physicists’ philosophical stances on fundamentality. The two decades following World War II were a time of plenty in American physics, thanks to government, military, and industrial largess. As the funding environment became more competitive in the late 1960s and early 1970s, newly-established sub-disciplines of physics were compelled to justify themselves more vociferously. Physicists, therefore, emphasized components of their research that set them apart from their peers in other sub-disciplines. This led to a strongly articulated reductionist standpoint among high energy researchers, and to a commitment to emergence within the newly-formed solid state community. At stake in this debate was the right to claim fundamental physical insight. It was a turf war over disciplinary prestige and research funding, as well as a struggle for intellectual justification.

This episode is illustrative of how philosophical commitments operated in mid- to late twentieth century American physics. Scientists’ philosophical stances, which play a central role in historical research on earlier time periods, have an uncertain place within histories of this era. I will trace physicists’ own understanding of the term “fundamental” and argue that physicists’ philosophical beliefs are motivated both by the nature of physical research and the vicissitudes of science’s place within social and political structures. By doing so, I will justify the relevance of exploring such commitments for historians and philosophers of later twentieth century physics.

Máté, "The Formation of Lakatos’ Philosophy of Mathematics, or, What did the suitcase contain?"

At the end of 1956, as Lakatos left Hungary, he brought with himself many notebooks and leafs of notices in his suitcase. These are preserved in the Lakatos Archives of the London School of Economics together with notebooks and leafs from his first years in the United Kingdom, and it is sometimes not easy to decide which of them was written in Hungary and which later. This rich but mainly unknown material does not offer ideas and arguments that contradict or substantially go beyond those found in Lakatos’s writings, but they shed new light to his work in some important respects. As it is well known, he wanted to use and develop his mathematical knowledge in exile – he didn’t think in that moment about philosophy. However, he brought with himself not only papers but ideas from his earlier life, too. The investigation of his notices help us to understand what from the past survived in his work and how it was transformed and supplemented by new material.

1. The notebooks give us a picture about the depth and orientation of his mathematical knowledge. They display a mathematician with up to date postgraduate level knowledge in mathematical calculus and strong interests in foundational research (set theory and mathematical logic) – but not even a hint to polyhedra or to any subject related to them.

2. The notices give information about the motivations of Lakatos’s philosophy. They show that Lakatos’s political views and their changes are in close connection with his philosophy of mathematics. He remained a revolutionary person forever and his position in the philosophy of mathematics can be interpreted as an expression of this attitude.

McCaskey, J., "Bacon’s Idols and Harvey’s Eggs"

In the introduction to De Generatione Animalium, William Harvey used distinctly Baconian tropes and vocabulary; in the transition from the first part of the book to the second, he said he was following a key part of Bacon’s method; in surviving marginalia, he cited one of Bacon’s works for elaboration of his own views on scientific method. The mistaken belief that Harvey and Bacon advocated opposing methods has two sources—an over-reading of a biographical note by John Aubrey and a misunderstanding of Bacon’s method and Harvey’s Aristotelianism. Addressing the first is a small matter of correcting a misreading of the historical record. Addressing the second, however, is much more important—important for our understanding of a crucial transition in early modern philosophy of science.

Bacon’s anti-Aristotelianism is greatly overwrought. It was not a wholesale rejection of Aristotle’s views, but an attack on a certain strain of Scholastic Aristotelianism. In early notes toward the Novum Organum, Bacon positions his project relative to Aristotle’s views on related material. He applauds Aristotle’s view as fundamentally and importantly correct, but faults Aristotle for failing to offer practical guidance for applying his theory. Bacon meant his proposal to be understood in an Aristotelian context. In one 370-word passage in prefatory remarks to the Instauratio Magna, Bacon makes over forty references to topics that were part of contemporary, scholarly Aristotelian discussions. If we do not consider the conversations Bacon was entering, we will fail to recognize these references and we will misunderstand Bacon’s proposal.

Although possibly obscure to us, the references would have been plain to Harvey, his colleagues, and his students. Bacon’s famous “idols” are not, for example, a Baconian invention. The term is a technical one in Renaissance philosophy of mind. It refers there, as it does in Harvey’s preface to DeGeneratione Animalium to a “vain phantasm.” That may not be particularly helpful to us, but Bacon’s readers would have known what he was talking about. Many, including an anatomist such as Harvey, trained among humanist (not Scholastic) Aristotelians in Padua, would also have known that Bacon’s theory of induction was also not wholly new. Bacon was entering a conversation about induction already underway and was advancing the view of one school in that conversation. That school rejected the Scholastic notion that induction is a kind of propositional inference and instead held it to be a part of conceptual abstraction, the part exemplified by Socrates’ iterative method for finding a definition.

By drawing on Renaissance philosophy of mind, on Bacon’s draft and published material, and on Harvey’s lecture notes and his study of the egg in De Generatione Animalium, I will argue that Harvey saw Bacon’s method of induction as a merely codified version of the Aristotelian one he learned in Padua and advanced so vigorously in his work and career.

McCaskey, J., "Whence the uniformity principle?"

Where did we get the idea that every induction includes some uniformity principle as a presumed premise? The idea is not in Socrates, Aristotle, or Cicero; it is not in medieval writings, Arabic or Latin; it is not in the Scholastics or the Renaissance Humanists; it is not in Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, Thomas Reid, or William Whewell; in fact, it is not even per se in David Hume. It is definitely in John Stuart Mill, but Mill claims to have gotten it from someone else. It turns out we got the idea from Richard Whately (1787-1863), Oxford professor, author of Elements of Logic (1826), and later bishop of Dublin. This paper recounts the relevant background and then how the idea originated, spread, and became in the second half of the nineteenth century a canonical part of our understanding of induction.

The idea of induction, or epagoge, goes back to Aristotle—who said he got it from Socrates. Aristotle said it is a progression from particulars to a universal. But there is an ambiguity here. Did Aristotle mean progression from observation of particular things to cognition of a universal concept (as Posterior Analytics B 19, other passages, and the Socratic reference indicate) or as a progression from particular statements to a universal statement (as Prior Analytics B 23 seems to say). Is induction fundamentally an aspect of concept-formation or fundamentally a kind of propositional inference? The first was assumed through nearly all of antiquity. But the Neoplatonic commentators introduced the second and and bequeathed the idea to both Latin and Arabic medieval traditions.

Accordingly, Scholastics tried to render induction (when valid) as a kind of syllogism by adding a presumed minor premise, a premise about complete enumeration. It became canonical that induction is an enthymeme in Barbara with the minor premise suppressed. Renaissance humanists and then especially Francis Bacon revived the ancient, Socratic view; it became standard again and remained so until the early nineteenth century.

Then, Richard Whately and his Oxford colleagues, unhappy with the dominance of Baconian induction, sought to revive Scholastic induction. They revived the notion that induction is a kind of propositional inference that can, if the inference is sound, be rendered as a syllogism. But, they claimed, the Scholastics had one bit wrong: It was the major not the minor premise that was suppressed. John Stuart Mill adopted this proposal and considered it the very “ground of induction.” Mill said Whately’s suppressed major was “the uniformity of the course of nature.”

Over the next fifty years, we can watch, step by step, the revival of induction as a kind of propositional inference and the replacement of the major for the minor as the supressed premise. Though Alexander Bain still felt the need in 1870 to warn his students against conceiving of induction in the old, Baconian/Socratic way, by the turn of the century, Whately’s proposal was fully canonical, and the uniformity principle invariably attached to our conception of induction. The proposed paper will detail this transition.

Menke, "John Stuart Mill on Predictions: the Whewell-Mill Debate"

In his System of Logic, John Stuart Mill wrote it would not have been written without the aid derived from William Whewell's History (1837) and Whewell's Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences (1840). Nevertheless, Mill was critical of Whewell's views on induction and scienti c method; Whewell replied to Mill's criticism in the short treatise Of Induction (1849), to which Mill referred to in later editions of his System of Logic.

References to this famous Whewell-Mill debate are made in nearly every modern paper discussing the respective merits of prediction and ex-post explanation/accommodation. According to the usual reading, Whewell was defending the view that a successful prediction (of a certain kind) carries more evidential weight than accommodations of known phenomena, while Mill was maintaining that whether or not a phenomenon had been predicted or accommodated is irrelevant to question of theory con rmation. In this paper, I shall defend the thesis that this interpretation misconstrues central parts of the debate in general and of Mill's position in particular: Mill was not defen- ding the general claim that predictions do not \count more" than accommodations; actually, he was interested in the special case of the ether hypothesis. His target were not Whewell's claims concerning predictions, but the claim that the successful predictions of the ether hypothesis \prove" that the ether really exists.

Against this claim he argued that, rstly, the success of the predictions of the wave theory are \nothing strange" but exactly what is to be expected { and so in this case the successful predictions added nothing because the laws of the theory had already been con rmed. Secondly, he claimed that the predictions in dispute were predictions of phenomena of the same kind as the phenomena the theory was devised to explain { namely di erent forms of wave phenomena. Thirdly, Mill argued that the predictions con rmed only the empirical laws of the wave theory but not the existence of the ether itself. Indirectly, Mill actually accepted the value of successful predictions as well as Whewell's reasoning.

This interpretation is strengthened by Mill's reminiscence to a point made by John F. W. Herschel in his Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy, to which Mill's methodological views are known to be indebted. In the Discourse, Her- schel discussed predictions in two contexts: on the one hand, like Whewell he regarded the ful lment of predictions as providing a particularly strong form of con rmation, especially if they were connected to a correction of premature generalisations; on the other hand, Herschel thought ful lled predictions to be valuable for laymen { people lacking the ability to follow and judge advanced reasoning and mathematical calcula- tion {, allowing them to assure themselves of the correctness of scienti c theories. It is exactly this point Mill is maintaining when talking of predictions as \strik[ing] the ignorant vulgar" as opposed to \scienti c thinkers".

Méthot, "The Role of the Imagination in the Making of a Concept: Georges Canguilhem, Reader of Bachelard"

The work of Georges Canguilhem and Gaston Bachelard are often clumped together as a modality of the history of science, namely ‘historical epistemology’. Yet, this label collapses important differences between the two thinkers and at the same time prevents us from asking what exactly did Canguilhem inherit from Bachelard.

One crucial difference between them is that their researches do not bear on the same scientific objects. Dagognet (1997) argued that it was in virtue of his interest in the ‘mature sciences’ – i.e., physics/chemistry – that Bachelard dealt more closely with the discontinuous aspect of scientific change, and thus structured his epistemology around the identification of ‘ruptures’ or ‘revolutions’; while Canguilhem, operating within biomedical sciences that were still in their infancy, primarily indentified ‘continuities’. In effect, Canguilhem hardly ever identified ‘ruptures’ in the history of biology or medicine; his analysis instead exposes the ‘formation, reformation, and rectification’ (Canguilhem, 1975) of scientific concepts and reveals their polyvalence within and across different scientific theories (Macherey 1964). A related issue is that for Canguilhem the object of the life sciences – the living (le vivant) – requires the formation of proper biological concepts, methods and models that differ from those of the ‘mature’ sciences. Indeed, on numerous occasions Canguilhem writes about the ‘originality of the biological method’ and the ‘obligation [for biology] to respect the specificity of its object’ (Canguilhem 2008, 21).

Granted this description one is confronted with a paradox: how is it that Bachelard is the most cited philosophical figure in Canguilhem’s writings? How can we explain Bachelard’s prevalence in Canguilhem’s corpus if on the one hand Bachelard’s epistemology centered on physics and chemistry cannot readily be exported into the history of the biomedical sciences (because it fails to capture the internal dynamic of those sciences) and if, on the other a biology ‘blinded’ by the success of physic-chemical sciences, runs the risk of missing the specificity of its object of inquiry? In this paper I explore this tension between Canguilhem’s sympathy for Bachelard’s method in the history of science and his own historic-philosophical work from the perspective of Canguilhem as a reader of Gaston Bachelard. I show that even if Canguilhem sometimes uses Bachelard’s lexicon, most of the references to Bachelard (especially in The Normal and the Pathological, Knowledge of Life, and The Concept of Reflex) are generally concerned with his poetic work, in particular with the role of imagination and metaphors in science. This not only resolves the above-mentioned paradox but it also brings out an unexpected and little explored aspect of Canguilhem’s epistemology: the role of imagination (and creativity) in the making of a concept.

Michael, "Ewald Hering: a chapter in the history of embodied cognition"

In my paper I discuss the philosophical issues that motivated Ewald Hering’s opposition to Helmholtz’s theory of vision. The first point for which I will argue is not very controversial, namely that Hering was primarily seeking a physiological explanation of Fechner’s psychophysical law, which specified a proportional relation between stimulus intensity and logarithm stimulus strength, where stimulus strength is measured in just-noticeable differences in intensity. Hering expected to find physiological mechanisms to explain this relationship, and also criticized Fechner for generalizing the logarithmic relation to sensation as a whole, suspecting that it could turn out to be linear in most cases. The second point, however, is somewhat more controversial. I would like to argue that that the dispute between the two had its roots in their different arguments in favor of a common thesis, namely the irreducibility of psychology to physical science. Hering may appear to have been a reductionist about psychology, as he wanted to push physiology as far as possible in explaining things like spatial perception and thus avoided postulating psychological processes along the lines of Helmholtz’s unconscious inferences. But this goes hand in hand with his insistence on the autonomy of physiology vis-à-vis physics, physiology being a science of living matter, whereas physiology for Helmholtz is just ‘applied physics’, as Michael Heidelberger puts it. In this respect, Hering is taking up an idea of G.T. Fechner’s, namely that living matter is characterized by self-organizational capacities. While self-organization for Fechner is a mechanical issue, since he postulates a kind of motion that is unique to organic matter for Hering self-organization is a feature of metabolic processes in living systems. Energy is either assimilated or dissimilated in order to preserve an autonomic equilibrium in the nervous system. Hering therefore limits self-organization to living matter, treating it as a chemical problem rather than a mechanical problem arising from different kinds of motion, as in Fechner, thereby justifying the autonomy of physiology and thereby also of psychology.

Miyake, "Three Notions of Underdetermination in Duhem"

Although Pierre Duhem is strongly associated with the idea of underdetermination, the word never appears in the book that is supposed to lay out this idea in detail, The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory. According to Duhem's view of physical theory, a physical theory is a “system of mathematical propositions, deduced from a small number of principles, which aim to represent as simply, as completely, and as exactly as possible a set of experimental laws.” These principles are also called 'hypotheses'. If we take the word 'underdetermination' to refer to any situation where more than one set of hypotheses represents a given set of experimental laws equally well, then at least three different ways in which physical theory can be underdetermined can be identified in The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory.

I call the three notions of underdetermination that I identify 'mathematical', 'holistic', and 'measurement' underdetermination. These three notions arise in connection with two features of physical theory that are absolutely central to Duhem's views. These two features are purported to set judgments made in physical theory apart from everyday judgments, and thus . Mathematical underdetermination arises due to the first feature, what I call the 'mathematization' of physical theory, because the representational power of mathematics far outstrips the resolution of any measurement we can make. Holistic underdetermination and measurement underdetermination arises due to the second feature, which is often called 'holism'. I take Duhemian holism to be a kind of circularity inherent in physics, where the theory of measurement is itself a part of physics, so that more than one theory can be made to agree with experiment by appropriate modifications of the theory of measurement (which is itself a part of the theory being tested). There are two ways of thinking about this type of underdetermination—a loose way and a precise way. I call the loose way 'holistic underdetermination', and the precise way 'measurement underdetermination'.

My own interest in underdetermination stems from trying to understand the epistemology of underdetermination—how do we gain knowledge of highly underdetermined physical systems, and what do we do to improve our epistemological standing with regard to such systems? One view that I have developed through studying actual methods for addressing highly underdetermined problems, is that keeping apart different sources of underdetermination is of crucial importance in scientific practice, because different sources of underdetermination have different epistemological implications, and must be addressed in different ways. The aim of this paper is to characterize the three notions of underdetermination in The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory, to identify the ways in which they are supposed to arise, and to attempt to understand the relations between these different notions. In particular, I will examine the epistemological implications of each type of underdetermination.

Moktefi, "What the Tortoise never said to Achilles"

In the Hopos 2006 conference, I presented a work in progress on Lewis Carroll’s argument published as “What the Tortoise said to Achilles” (Mind, 1895). The aim of this paper is to present original results of the research carried since. In brief, Achilles and the Tortoise are talking about a logical inference of the form “A and B are true, therefore Z is true”. The Tortoise argues that one is not obliged to accept Z, even if he accepts A and B, unless he adds a new premise C which asserts that: “If A and B are true, then Z is true”. The Tortoise says however that one is still not obliged to accept Z, even if he accepts A, B, and C, unless he adds a new hypothetical premise D which asserts that “If A, B, C are true, then Z is true”, ad infinitum. This argument has been widely discussed by philosophers. Gilbert Ryle (1945) used it to explain the distinction between knowing-what and knowing-how, and argues that we make inferences in accordance with (and not derived from) rules. These are inference-licenses and should not be treated as premises as the Tortoise asked. Stephen Toulmin (1953) adapted this argument to natural laws. Nowadays, Carroll’s argument is often used to illustrate the distinction between a premise and a rule of inference.

Carroll didn’t explain frankly what he meant by his argument. Most philosophers who looked at the problem agree that he was not clear. J. F. Thomson (1960) wrote that “the story is the expression of perplexity by someone who was not able to make clear to himself just why he was perplexed”! In recent years, I consulted much of Carroll’s surviving manuscripts and correspondence on logic, and I would like here to suggest what could have been Carroll’s own interpretation of his “paradox”. A look at Carroll’s writings shows that he was working on a “workable” theory of hypotheticals the year he wrote the Achilles and the Tortoise problem (1894). Few months earlier, he published another paradox in Mind which is now almost forgotten but which led at the time to a wide controversy among Britain’s leading philosophers. The debate concerned the nature of hypoheticals and derived from a dispute that opposed Carroll to John Cook Wilson, Oxford’s Professor of Logic. In my presentation, I will evoke this early controversy in order to understand how Carroll approached hypotheticals. I will then look for surviving material related to the Achilles and Tortoise argument and suggest what might have been Carroll’s own moral. Finally, I will discuss how such a moral stands historically in regard to the problems of implication and inference.

Mormann, "Germany’s Defeat as a Programme: On Carnap’s Political and Philosophical Beginnings"

In his Intellectual Autobiography Carnap described his political stance as “scientific humanism” characterized by the following three general principles:

(1) Whatever can be done to improve life is the task of man himself.
(2) Mankind is able to change the conditions of life in such a way that many of the
sufferings of today may be avoided for future generations.
(3) Deliberate action presupposes knowledge of the world, and the best method of
acquiring knowledge is the method of science.

For Carnap, these principles implied that the global political and economical problems of mankind require some kind of rational planning: for the organization of economy this means socialism in some form, for the organization of the world it means a gradual development toward a world government. Relying on an unpublished manuscript of Carnap (Germany’s Defeat – Meaningless Fate or Guilt (1918) I’d like to show that the later Carnap’s Scientific Humanism was only the shadow of a much stronger socialist Weltanschauung that may be dubbed Metaphysical Socialism. A characteristic feature of his early Metaphysical Socialism was that it included a strong committment to Southwest Neokantian value theory.

According to the Manifesto the political attitude of the members of the circle’s left wing can be described as the outcome of a vaguely defined late Viennese Enlightenment. Early Carnap’s adherence to the just mentioned Neokantian Metaphysical Socialism seems hardly compatible with this sweeping contention. I’ll argue that Carnap’s early Weltanschauung was considerably influenced by certain motifs that belonged to what may be called “Weimar romanticism”.

A preliminary step in understanding the move from Metaphysical Socialism to Scientific Humanism consists in elucidating the epistemological differences between these two conceptions. In his philosophical beginnings Carnap subscribed to comprehensive concept of a Kantian rationality that comprised both the theoretical and the practical realm. In later years, the scope of the rational was narrowed down considerably such that the practical realm dropped out from the sphere of reason and only the theoretical remained. Scientific philosophy was replaced by philosophy of science.
Unearthing Carnap’s early political convictions sheds some new light on the question of how his political stance was related to the philosophical programme of the Logical empiricism of the Vienna Circle, i.e. one may ask:

(1) It is possible to derive Carnap’s Scientific Humanism from the philosophical pro- gramme of the Vienna Circle?
(2) Or may the Circle’s philosophical programme be derived from the political stance of
Scientific Humanism?

Relying on the fact that Carnap’s Scientific Humanism was a derivate of his Metaphysical Socialism one can prove that his political engagement did not imply the philosophical programme of Logical Empiricism. In sum, the evolution of Carnap’s politico-philosophical convictions is much more complex than the authors of the Manifesto (Carnap himself included) wanted to make their readers believe. In Carnap’s case it may be characterized the result of a sort of dialectic between Weimar Romanticism and Enlightenment.

Mota, "Rereading the Role of Proclus in the Quaestio de Certitudine Mathematicarum"

The presentation deals with the celebrated debate on philosophy of mathematics known as the Quaestio de Certitudine Mathematicarum, in which Euclidian geometry was contrasted with the Aristotelian model of science. Modern scholarship has recognized the historical and philosophical importance of this debate and a wide variety of methods (taken from sociology, history, philosophy, and other scientific areas) have been applied to its understanding. Still, some misinterpretation of the sources and the lack of a diachronic overall perspective hide its true dimension. In fact, nearly all investigation produced so far posits its origins in the sixteenth century and assumes that it started with the Italian humanist Alessandro Piccolomini, after the recovery of Proclus’ commentary on the first book of the Elements, thus failing to recognize that it was an organic part of the process leading classical legacy to modern thought, and that its dynamics exerted continuous cultural impact since Antiquity. I intend to challenge this view.

I will begin by presenting the debate, focusing on Proclus’ fundamental role. I will then analyze some arguments of philosophers of the thirteenth and fourteenth century in order to show that the debate existed before the recovery of Proclus’ text. Finally, I will look into the strategies with which scholars appropriated his commentary in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A careful reading of the sources will show that, although Proclus clearly intends to uphold mathematics, philosophers used his commentary to argue against mathematics and mathematicians were never at ease with it. I will argue that at that time the recovery of Proclus’ text could really be considered a menace undermining the ideal of a mathematical renaissance. This is because it ended up validating most of the arguments against Euclidian geometry and proving that they could be traced back to antiquity.

Nemeth, "From a Sociological Point of View. Can philosophy of science be political, and if so, in what sense?"

In this paper I will use Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology of knowledge to investigate a question that has recently been re-discussed (Sarah Richardson 2009, Thomas Uebel 2009). Was the early logical empiricists’ philosophy of science “political”? And what does the term “political” in this question mean?
From Bourdieu’s sociological point of view, modern science has always and unavoidably been a political enterprise. There are two main causes for this intrinsic political nature of science: 1. Science competes with social, political, and religious authorities. At stake here is the legitimate conception of the world (both the natural and the social world). 2. Science introduces a procedure of justifying knowledge claims that challenges traditional ways of justification. At stake here is the legitimate way of justifying knowledge claims. Note that both types of challenging traditional views do also occur under pre-modern conditions. Under modern conditions, however, a particular way of knowledge production arises in which both challenges become constitutive principles of a particular “social field”, i.e. the “scientific field”. I will explain some of the key terms of Bourdieu’s theory of the scientific field, the most important of which are “relative autonomy”, “epistemological conflicts”, and “political conflicts”.

Then I will apply Bourdieu’s conception to the case of Otto Neurath and his contributions to logical empiricism. If we look from Bourdieu’s sociological viewpoint at the young economist Neurath (from about 190 9to1917), we see that Neurath behaved in exactly the way someone aspiring to become a legitimate player in the field of economics should behave: he tried to meet the international standards of the discipline and intervened in the methodological debates. He challenged the two dominating schools of economics of his time. And he suggested – very ambitiously – a new conceptual and methodological approach which was to integrate elements of both schools. During this period Neurath thought of his theory as being politically neutral. However, in Bourdieu’s perspective, Neurath was very actively involved in the epistemological conflicts that contributed to the process of “autonomisation” of the field of economics. (I will explain why that is indirectly political.) When Neurath decided to get actively involved with politics in 1918, he left the scientific field and was never able to return, despite all the efforts he made to do so.

How can we describe from a sociological point of view what happened when Neurath contributed to logical empiricism? On the one hand, there are good reasons for conceiving of logical empiricism as an emerging scientific field. On the other hand, the early logical empiricists were inclined to think of their work as being rather a sort of epistemological reflection on science than a sub-discipline of philosophy. Particularly Neurath promoted “Unified Science” as an interdisciplinary enterprise which was to articulate the ways in which modern science produces and justifies its knowledge claims. With the help of Bourdieu’s conceptual framework we will try to make sociological and philosophical sense of that hybrid philosophico-political program.

Neuber, "Invariance, Structure, Measurement – Eino Kaila and the History of Logical Empiricism"

Eino Kaila (1890–1958) represents an interesting faction within the logical empiricist movement. Like Hans Reichenbach, Herbert Feigl, and the early Moritz Schlick, Kaila stands for a “realist” approach toward science and the project of a “scientific world conception.” In particular, Kaila’s realist approach was directed against both Kantianism and Poincaréan conventionalism. His case in point was the theory of measurement. According to Kaila, physical reality is fundamentally characterized by the existence of invariant systems of relations, which he called “structures.” These invariant structures, Kaila maintained, get constituted, in a certain sense, by executing measurements. Yet, by “constitution,” Kaila neither meant the dependence of the objects of measurement (and of science in general) on a priori concepts (or Kantian categories) nor their being effected by conventional stipulations in the sense of Poincaré. On Kaila’s view, invariant structures are literally real: They exist prior to and independently of our theoretical capacities. By executing measurements, invariant structures are detected and quantitatively stabilized. Accordingly, the aim of science, for Kaila, consisted in the search for the “highest possible” invariances, implying thereby that the “optimal phenomena” are (in a Planckian sense) completely freed from the “anthropocentric elements” of sense perception. His paradigm case in this respect was the realm of metrical relations in the context of the general theory of relativity.

It is the aim of my talk to make plausible (1) that Kaila’s position calls for a fresh evaluation of the role of realism within the history of logical empiricism and (2) that Kaila’s theory of measurement entails important insights for a structure-based view of science and scientific theory construction. In summary, I shall try to argue that the programmatic gulf between logical empiricism and scientific realism is less drastic than commonly supposed.

Nyden, "De Volder and the Physics Theatre: Experimental Pedagogy, Cartesian Physics"

Burchard de Volder (1643-1709) is an interesting figure in the history of science. He was the first university professor to introduce the demonstration of experiment into his physics courses and had the Leiden Physics Theatre built specifically to accommodate this new pedagogy. He did so twelve years before the publication of Newton’s Principia and thirty years before William Whiston and Roger Cotes first taught experimental physics at Cambridge. Very little is written about de Volder’s philosophy beyond his eight-year correspondence with Leibniz, in which he acts as an apologist for Descartes. It is of note that this correspondence occurs through 1698, towards the end of his life and twenty-two years after he first began teaching through experiment at the University of Leiden. So what was a so-called Cartesian doing demonstrating the experiments of Toricelli and Boyle, as well as those of his own design, to young impressionable students? How did he conceptualize such experiments as fitting into his explicitly Cartesian project? This paper will evaluate the extent to which de Volder remained committed to Descartes’ philosophy and physics throughout his career. I will begin by examining his involvement in the Cartesian controversies early in his employment at Leiden (1676) and compare his early views to his later correspondence with Leibniz (1698 to 1706). Second, I will examine his Cartesian understanding of experimental pedagogy. I will argue that de Volder saw great potential in using experiments to appeal to the senses in order to prepare young minds for the truths that can only be secured through deduction. In other words, he rejected the inductive methodology of Bacon and used experiments not as a means of discovery, but demonstration. His teaching methods soon became famous and emulated throughout the Dutch Republic. Following his lead, Dutch universities and their professors began accumulating scientific apparatus, sparking an industry in the manufacture of instruments, and creating physics cabinets that only one generation later would provide ready-made laboratories that Newtonians such as Willem J. ‘s Gravesande would claim. A study of de Volder’s attempt to integrate Cartesianism and experimentalism in the classroom will provide insight into a particular brand of pre-Newtonian experimentalism with a Dutch Cartesian flavor. Further, de Volder’s work provides an interesting case study in the role local pedagogical and institutional cultures can play in so-called ‘scientific revolutions’.

Oberheim, "Falling in and out of falsificationism: Feyerabend’s relation to Popper"

One of the most influential figures in Feyerabend’s philosophical development is undoubtedly Karl Popper. Many commentators see Feyerabend as a member of the Popperian school until at least the late 1960s. Then in a dramatic reversal, Feyerabend became one of Poppers staunchest critics. This paper examines Feyerabend’s relation to Popper, from its beginnings in Alpbach in the late 1940s, through to the increasingly harsh criticisms in the 1970s and 80s. The main argument is that Feyerabend was actually much less of a Popperian than is commonly thought. He rejected some of the main tenets of Popper’s philosophy already in the early 1960s (at the latest), and he had been keen to distance himself from Popper’s school already in the early 1950s.

The story begins by recounting how the two first met, and what initially drew Feyerabend to Popper and his ideas. The focus then turns to the Duhemian argument that Popper used to convince Feyerabend of the relative merits of deductivism over inductivism, and the three main aspects of Feyerabend’s philosophy that can be correctly called Popperian. These are falsificationism, conventionalism concerning methodology, and the essential role of criticism for promoting progress. I argue that only the last plays a fundamental and lasting role in Feyerabend’s philosophy.

Even though Feyerabend sometimes endorsed certain elements of Popper’s critical rationalism, contrary to received opinion, Feyerabend should not be lumped with the Popperians – not even in the 1950s and early 1960s. There are two main justifications for this controversial claim. The first concerns the content of Feyerabend’s ideas. The second is based on a sociological point. To begin with, Feyerabend’s views on theory testing do not fit well within Popper’s critical rationalism. In 1962, when Feyerabend developed his pluralistic test-model according to which theories are not simply tested against the evidence, but compete with each other, he rejected Poppers falsificationist methodology. Second, Feyerabend was keenly aware of the dangers of conformism. He loathed ideologies and ‘schools’ of any kind. He valued his intellectual independence to the extent that when Popper offered him an assistance ship in 1952, he turned the offer down because he felt that he was becoming too tightly identified with Popper and his views. For these reasons Feyerabend should not be considered to have been a Popperian.

Olen, "Pragmatism and Positivism as Scientific Philosophy? Reconsidering the 1930s"

According to Alan Richardson it is a mistake to think of pragmatism and logical empiricism as enemy camps waging war over first-order philosophical disputes in the 1930s. Instead, one should think of the pragmatists and positivists as both allies against a common enemy and as holding very sympathetic conceptions of philosophy. In the context of attempting to understand the reception history of logical positivism in North America such a view is compelling, Richardson argues, precisely because both groups thought of themselves as practicing something akin to a “scientific philosophy” that was committed to the primacy of the use of the scientific method in philosophy that directly led to a rejection of traditional metaphysics and epistemology.

The position argued for in this paper is one that will show how Richardson has overstated the philosophical and methodological similarities between positivists and American philosophers in the 1930s and, in doing so, has misconstrued the attitude of American philosophers towards “scientific philosophy.” By examining the debates in America about the relationship between science and philosophy prior to the 1930s and covering the views of philosophers Richardson glosses over I will show that the differences that existed between American philosophers and logical empiricists were, in fact, disputes over first-order questions as opposed to internal differences between members of a shared camp. Drawing on the work of C. I. Lewis, Roy Wood Sellars, and some of John Dewey’s correspondence, I will show that a number of influential American philosophers in the 1930s were explicitly opposed to the project of logical empiricism. The battle lines, so to speak, in these examples are drawn along multiple issues: specifically the role of evaluative or normative concepts in philosophy and the relationship between science and philosophy. What these considerations will show is that a number of American philosophers that are either ignored or glossed over by Richardson provide a counter-balance to his claim that American philosophers were in some sense primed to accept logical empiricism as a philosophical movement because most of them were practicing something like scientific philosophy. Instead, I argue that the correct picture should be thought of as resistant to assimilation under one notion for the philosophical community because a number of influential American philosophers, most notably Lewis and Sellars, still found a robust role for approaches akin to traditional takes on metaphysics and epistemology that did not privilege science above all else. Although some American philosophers may have thought of themselves as practicing scientific philosophy, such as Charles Morris, these examples should be thought of as exceptions. I argue that most American philosophers in the 1930s were sympathetic with logical empiricism, yet ultimately critical of it. Their settled opinion of logical empiricism was that it was an untenable project for adoption into the pragmatist or realist frameworks found in American philosophy at the time.

Padovani, "Probability between Fiction and Reality: Reichenbach's Correspondence with Paul Hertz"

The possibility of tracing back the difference between causality and probability to two specific forms of lawfulness and the analysis of their interrelation are some of the main issues tackled in Reichenbach’s works, as well as the central question addressed in his very first scientific publication, his doctoral thesis of 1915, Der Begriff der Wahrscheinlichkeit für die mathematische Darstellung der Wirklichkeit. In this work, Reichenbach still interprets the principles of probability and causality within a “deterministic” framework. The laws of nature represent necessary (causal) connections between events, but these laws presuppose certain probabilistic assumptions. The values that we use to formulate them may not necessarily satisfy the physical equations, due to the infinity of factors perturbing their measurement. Therefore, our mathematical representation needs to be supplemented by a further hypothesis, the existence of a “principle of the lawful distribution” allowing us to rely on the approximate results of our measurements and finally elaborate physical laws on a firm footing. This principle asserts that each empirical distribution has a convergence limit and it warrants (by virtue of a “transcendental deduction”) that the observed convergence is representative of the probability distribution.

As such, this principle appears as a fundamental assumption of science, required to complement the principle of causality, both having a synthetic a priori status. While this assignment is traditionally Kantian as far as causality is concerned, in the case of probability this is problematic: the principle has a twofold nature and does not merely play a methodological role as a first reading might suggest. The aim of Reichenbach’s thesis is to implement an objective foundation for probability theory, thereby proving that probability statements do say something certain about the world, not only about the limits of our knowledge of it. Hence, this principle plays an “ontological” role, capturing aspects of reality that cannot be subsumed under the principle of causality. The inheritance of Kantian philosophy is decisive in his attempt to reduce probability to an assertion of certainty in 1915. From 1925 onwards, he will reduce the concept of certainty to an assertion of probability.

In some autobiographical notes of 1927, while recalling the positive results of his dissertation, Reichenbach refers to some objections to his early probability interpretation initially raised by Kurt Grelling, and later taken up by Paul Hertz. My paper analyses these objections in the context of the 1920—1921 correspondence between Hertz and Reichenbach—barely mentioned in the secondary literature— and shows how these discussions, centered on the crucial problem of applicability of probability statements, undoubtedly influenced Reichenbach in his shift towards considering probability as primitive with respect to causality. Probability as a (methodological) fiction is no more than a useful tool for mathematical representation; as a hypothesis about reality, instead, it is a much stronger, if not the strongest assumption in a system. Probability cannot be based on an assertion of certainty, but rather must be rooted in probability itself as a principle of knowledge: the most fundamental one.

Patton, "Hilbert's Method of Analogy: Signs and Axiomatics in Physics and Mathematics"

There is a marked contrast between Emil du Bois-Reymond’s pessimism about solving the problems of epistemology in the Ignorabimus (we will not know) lecture of 1872, and Hilbert’s determination – “In mathematics there is no ignorabimus” – in his Paris lecture of 1900. A well-known source of Hilbert’s optimism is his engagement with Dedekind’s and Riemann’s axiomatic method in mathematics. However, careful attention to Hilbert’s examples and terminology, from his Paris lecture to his 1918 “Axiomatisches Denken,” reveals another, illuminating source of Hilbert’s axiomatic method: Heinrich Hertz’s Bildtheorie in mechanics, which has its origin in Hermann von Helmholtz’s sign theory. In the 1894 Principles of Mechanics, Hertz argues for a physical analogue of Dedekind’s and Riemann’s axiomatic methods in mathematics: that the theorems of mechanics should be deduced formally from postulated mechanical principles, without further appeal to experience.

I argue that reading Hilbert in this context allows for the resolution of significant problems for Hilbert’s epistemology. Kitcher (1976) describes several intriguing puzzles for Hilbert’s epistemology and axiomatics—in particular, what makes the statements of mathematics true? Do the terms of Hilbert’s mathematics refer to objects? Kitcher reads Hilbert’s epistemology as based on Kantian pure intuition, as beginning with concrete observation but then following abstract a priori rules, the axioms in Hilbert’s case. But, Kitcher points out, this does not explain why Hilbert’s symbols should refer to objects, and thus why Hilbert’s methods should not be, as Weyl puts it in the 1920s, a mere formal game with symbols.

Pellegrin, "Aristotle as a scientist"

Aristotle and Aristotelianism have been considered the main intellectual obstacle to the rise and development of modern sciences. In the French speaking arena, the break between Aristotle and Galileo—called the "epistemological break" by Gaston Bachelard— is an absolute one: there is nothing really common between scientific physics, for example, and the prescientific speculation on nature, or, to use Aristotle's terminology, the relation between the two is a relation of homonymy. In the English speaking arena, on the other hand, the dominant trend was, until recently, a "continuist" one, splendidly exemplified by Alistair Crombie: science is already present in the works of the Presocratics, in so far as they don’t have recourse to religious explanations.

I would like to focus on this question: to what extent are we right in speaking of Aristotle's physics, biology and cosmology? Each of these cases is, in fact, a specific one and has to be considered in itself. My conclusions are more moderate than they used to be in the past, especially in the case of biology. Several questions are involved here, and among them: can a speculation be partially scientific? Is a science infected by metaphysics still a science, and is it the case that a science can avoid any metaphysical implication? What do expressions like "biological object" and "biological point of view" mean in the case of Aristotle?

Peterman, "Spinoza's alleged explanatory materialism"

Spinoza is committed to the scrutability of nature and the human being as a part thereof; he espouses a parallelism of mind and body whereby the laws governing both are analogous or identical; and he occasionally employs physical principles or concepts while trying to elucidate features of the mind. As a result, it is commonly claimed that Spinoza espouses a kind of explanatory materialism or physicalism. The most recent such attribution is Steven Nadler’s 2008 article “Spinoza and Consciousness,” where Nadler argues that Spinoza’s view that mental phenomena are “grounded in the structure of the human body” aligns Spinoza with contemporary embodied cognition theorists. Jonathan Bennett argues that in Spinozistic explanation “the body calls the tune, ” and Rice and Barbone align Spinoza with “logical physicalism. ” These scholars share the conviction that though Spinoza does not believe that there is only matter in the world, or that extended substance is more fundamental than thinking substance - that is, that he is not an out-and-out materialist - he does make use of concepts and principles drawn from the explanation of the nature and behavior of bodies to explain mental phenomenon. Further, they argue, he takes this practice to be licensed philosophically by features of his metaphysical and epistemological system like mind-body parallelism and mode identity. Finally, they agree that this gives Spinoza a currency that cannot be found in many of his contemporaries, especially with respect to questions about the relationship between the mind and the body.

In this paper, I offer reasons to reject all three of these related claims. Spinoza is committed to epistemological parity among the attributes, both explicitly, in his texts, and by his deepest metaphysical and epistemological positions. Any invocation that Spinoza makes of physical concepts in discussing features of the mind is purely propaedeutic and does not provide us with any real knowledge of the nature of the mind. Further, he makes analogous use of ethical and political concepts in thinking about bodies; this, too, is a crutch, which provides us with no knowledge of the body. At a certain level of inquiry, then, using the analogy of laws furnished by parallelism is useful. But Spinoza does not think this gives us any knowledge at all of the nature of an attribute; knowledge of the nature of thought or extension cannot be had by considering what they have in common. I also argue that the “explanatory materialist” position entails that Spinoza was far more confident in our knowledge of bodies than he in fact was, as evidenced by his dissatisfaction with the content and methods of Cartesian physics. In particular, Spinoza argues that far from being able to develop our knowledge of mind and the mind-body union by considering bodies in isolation, bodies cannot be understood without taking into account the nature of the mind-body union, since a human being - the subject of the knowledge of physical laws - is both a mental and a physical thing. Finally, I claim that Spinoza on this interpretation is even richer as a contemporary interlocutor, perhaps less because of his affinity with established positions in contemporary philosophy of mind than because of the unique perspective and tools that this aspect of his system offers. It is a weakness of physicalism, explanatory or otherwise, that it considers our knowledge of the nature and laws of bodies to be relatively unproblematic compared to, and independent of, our knowledge of minds - a weakness which, I argue, Spinoza perceived.

Poljansek, "The »apriori of preparation« – Gaston Bachelard as a Post- Kantian"

The French philosopher of science Gaston Bachelard (1884-1962) is mainly known and cited for his stipulation of an »epistemological rupture« between everyday-life experience and the generation of scientific knowledge. In my paper I will rather focus on another aspect of his work, showing that Bachelard developed his own conception of a »relativised apriori« similar to the mentioned proposals of Hans Reichenbach (1920). Bachelards roots can be traced back to a french tradition, which – departing from Auguste Comte and refined through the works of Hélène Metzger and Léon Brunschvicg – developed the idea that reason itself changes within history, that there is a special »history of the mind« (Chimisso 2008) which is the object of philosophy of science. Bachelard took up this route of investigation while at the same time referring to the Kantian conception of »a priori knowledge« combining them both to his own approach of a »relativised apriori«.

My paper aims to show that Bachelards concept of a »relativised apriori« has the same characteristics which Hans Reichenbach had in mind, while Bachelard appends two important aspects to it. The first of these additional aspect consists in the idea that every form of knowledge is necessarily gained through some kind of »apriori preparation«. The difference between everyday-life experience and scientific generation of knowledge then consists in explicitly focussing these a priori forms (instead of just unreflectively applying them) and – if necessary – to change them with respect to the scientific progress. The second additional aspect consists in the claim that the relativisation of the apriori doesn't only concern the diachronic development of science, but the synchronous plurality of sciences themselves. Not only considering physics as the paradigmatic example for scientific knowledge, Bachelard tried to integrate the other sciences in his philosophic account while he didn't commit himself to an »anything goes« in the sense of Paul Feyerabend. Instead he tried to prove that the formation of the scientific mind goes through different stages which are structured and realized by separate scientific communities. This idea makes Bachelard's theory one of the ancestors of Thomas Kuhn's concept of scientific paradigms.

Having illustrated the Bachelardian account I will try to locate it in the ongoing discussion about the »relativised a priori« initiated by Michael Friedman (2001). As he developed this idea in his »Dynamics of Reason« we should still be in need of a conception of an apriori, however relativised, to describe scientific progress in a satisfactory way. My aim will be to demonstrate that Bachelards ideas – although at first sight they seem to belong to another tradition of thought – fit perfectly into this debate, while at the same time they stress some points which could be further integrated into a convincing account of a »relativised a priori«.

Popa, "Fiery Disposition: Notes on Scientific Method in Theophrastus’ De Igne"

Theophrastus’ treatise On Fire (De igne) has received relatively scant attention in modern times; it is quite recently that some interest in it has been revived by Coutant, Vallance and Battegazzore, among others. Theophrastus tackled an impressive number of aspects in this opusculum, ranging from the uniqueness of fire (this simple body being capable of self-generation, unlike the other so-called elements: earth, water and air) to the relation between light and warmth; from the ‘chemistry’ of fire and its interaction with other stuffs (e.g., the fact that both air and moisture nourish, as it were, fire, if they are present in the right proportion or summetria) to the expected effects fire will have on a number of uniform materials under specific conditions (such as pressure and the temperature of the environment). My study of this fascinating little treatise is meant to cast new light primarily on its scientific method, which functions there implicitly as a unifying principle.

Judging by some of the more recent assessments of this text, De igne comes across as a hopelessly disconnected set of observations on the intimate nature and especially on the behavior of fire; indeed, a cursory reading of the text might yield just the impression that it is a jumble of disparate notes. While it is reasonable to accept that this is treatise doe not display an altogether smoothly progressive trajectory, I believe that its largely methodological unity should not be ignored either. One of the dominant features of De igne is that, in good Aristotelian tradition, almost all the claims made by Theophrastus are immediately and scrupulously backed by arguments. An especially effective explanation for a number of phenomena discussed in this treatise seems to be the constant resort to the notions of density and pressure, and their correlation with force; thus, we learn that denser flames can be more devastating, whereas flames that appear to be as it were super-fluid and made of only loosely linked particles tend to have a less intensely destructive effect. Theophrastus’ explanatory apparatus also relies on analogies, in a manner reminiscent of the Stagirite’s style.

The concluding section of my paper is relevant to Aristotle’s and Theophrastus’ natural philosophy and to questions pertaining to the early history of the Peripatetic tradition. My chief point in this final section is that, contrary to some recent interpretations of De Igne, Theophrastus’ theory of matter (and specifically his treatment of the nature of fire) is not exactly meant as a refutation of Aristotle’s own treatment of fire. A careful reading of relevant passages in De igne as well as in Generation and Corruption II and in Meteorology I reveal remarkable similarities between the Aristotelian and the Theophrastan accounts.

Reck, "Carnap and Tarski: from logicism to model theory"

Modern logic was transformed significantly in the period from the 1910s to the 1950s and early 60s. After the publication of Principia Mathematica in 1910-13, Whitehead and Russell’s logicist approach dominated the field. 40-50 years later, model theory had arguably become the center of attention (or shared it with proof theory and recursion theory), as illustrated, e.g., by the influential volume The Theory of Models, J. Addison, L. Henkin & A. Tarski, eds. (1963). Significant as this transformation is, the various steps involved in it still call for careful historical investigation. In this talk, I will contribute to such a task by comparing the contributions of two central figures: Rudolf Carnap and Alfred Tarski.

A widely shared assumption is that Tarski was the primary architect of model theory, by means of ideas he developed already in the 1920s and published in the 1930s, such as his well-known treatments of truth and logical consequence. Carnap is often seen as the last significant logicist and as an important popularizer of logic, especially in philosophy; but he is not taken to have made substantive contributions to mathematical logic. While there is a good deal of truth in these assessments, a closer look reveals several complications: First, Tarski’s approach underwent significant changes from the 1920s to the 1960s, i.e., he did not arrive at the mature model-theoretic conception right away. Second, Carnap’s logicism should not be identified with Russell’s; nor is his role in the development of logic as insignificant as often assumed, including with respect to model theory. And third, Tarski and Carnap interacted repeatedly in this connection, from the 1930s on.

Besides illustrating these three points, while sketching the development of Carnap’s and Tarski’s views on logic from the 1920s to the 1950s (and thereby building on previous work by Steve Awodey, André Carus, and myself), I will distinguish several strands in the transformation of modern logic itself: the gradual reconciliation of logicist construction and formal axiomatics; the rise of metalogic, in several related senses; and the shift from the ramified theory of types, through simple type theory, to first order logic as the preferred logical framework. While conceptually separable, these strands got intertwined in several ways historically, some of which may be surprising from a contemporary point of view. The primary goal of the talk will be to provide a general orientation with respect to these developments, anchored in Carnap’s and Tarski’s relevant works.

Redei, "Informal, early reception of Lakatos’ Proofs and refutations"

Lakatos started writing on philosophy of mathematics in English in 1958: In the years 1956-1959 he was working on his PhD thesis in King's College in Cambridge; the PhD thesis, with the title “Essays in the Logic of Mathematical Discovery” was completed in 1961. Lakatos followed the practice of sending his papers, especially his pre-publication manuscripts, including his dissertation, to colleagues, soliciting their critical remarks. A number of distinguished philosophers and prominent mathematicians were ready to comment on Lakatos's work; these comments were typically expressed in letters addressed to Lakatos, and, occasionally (but not always) Lakatos also replied in letters to the comments he had received. These letters are still unpublished and can be found in the Lakatos Papers in the Archive of the London School of Economics. The aim of the talk is to present, on the basis of unpublished, archival material held at LSE, some informal, early reactions to Imre Lakatos's views on the philosophy of mathematics, especially of his thesis, which became known under the title it got published posthumously “Proofs and Refutations” . “Informal, early reaction” is to be taken in the specific sense that the focus of the talk will be on the informal reactions expressed in letters by some philosophers and mathematicians on Lakatos's manuscripts. These reactions are likely to be more spontaneous than published scholarly papers; thus they enrich our picture of the reception of Lakatos’s philosophy of mathematics. Scholars among Lakatos correspondents whose views will be presented and commented on in the talk in detail include P. Bernays, G. Polya, B.L. van der Waerden and H. Wang. Typically, the reactions were a mixture of enthusiasm and reservation: enthusiasm about the brilliant and entertaining execution of the novel idea of relating systematic mathematics to the history of mathematics, and reservation about Lakatos’ claim of fallibility of mathematics, which, in his view, makes mathematics similar to empirical sciences.

A characteristic attitude against this view is expressed by H. Wang (to Lakatos, April 13,1962):

“The paper is highly entertaining. I cannot say that I agree with what you say, mainly, I suppose, because I do not find any explanation of the basic difference between mathematics and the empirical sciences.”

And similarly by P. Bernays (to Lakatos, March 16, 1964):

“... what you call 'mathematical fallibility' is mainly the fallibility of the philosophy of mathematics and of some mathematical enterprizes connected with philosophy of mathematics.”

The talk also presents excerpts from Lakatos’ replies to letters (when such reply is available).

Reydon, "A brief history of kinds"

In an exchange in the journal Philosophical Studies almost twenty years ago, Ian Hacking (1991a, 1991b) and Richard Boyd (1991) presented their views on the history of the philosophical discussion on the topic of natural kinds. Hacking and Boyd agreed on one important point, namely that the philosophical discussion on natural kinds has its origins in British Empiricism. What they disagreed on was the question at which stage in the history of British Empiricism the origin of the discussion should be located. While Hacking argued that the discussion originated in the mid-19th century and saw the works of William Whewell and in particular John Stuart Mill’s A System of Logic as seminal, Boyd opted for the late 17th century and for John Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding as the seminal work. The issue at stake in the discussion between Hacking and Boyd is not only of interest for reasons having to do with writing the history of philosophy correctly. In addition, the answer to the question in exactly which larger philosophical context the issue of natural kinds originated co-defines what the contemporary problem of natural kinds actually is about. Thus, more clarity about the history of the problem should yield more clarity about which questions a good philosophical theory of natural kinds should answer.

In this paper, I shall compare the three most prominent views of the history of the problem of natural kinds (Hacking’s account, Boyd’s account, and the widespread view that traces the discussion back all the way to Plato and Aristotle) and examine how they affect the nature of the problem that confronts philosophers today. While I accept the consensus view that the term ‘natural kind’ was indeed introduced in the 19th century in a particular philosophical context (e.g., Hacking, 1991a; McOuat, 2009), I shall question Hacking’s claim that the problem that the term came to stand for arose along with the term. What seems to have happened was a split of the discussion on the problem into two distinct lines of work that appeared to be about different issues. While one of these preserved the traditional conception of the problem and retained the original approach to resolving the issue, the other line took up a new conception of the problem and approached the issue in a novel manner. Nevertheless, both lines of work address the same problem-complex that still is in focus today. My conclusion will be that Hacking’s claim that there is no clearly defined problem of natural kinds that a theory of natural kinds should address, but that “instead we have a slew of distinct analyses directed at unrelated projects” (Hacking, 2007: 203), is not correct.

Richardson, "Structural Objectivity and the “Emotional Needs” of Philosophy: Logical Empiricism as Virtue Epistemology"

In their recent book, Objectivity, Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison argue for two important claims: first, specific configurations or regimes of objectivity arise from specific anxieties about subjectivity; second, regimes of objectivity are, thus, bound up with (changing) understandings of the epistemic virtues, especially the epistemic virtues of science and scientists. Given their particular concerns—which are with visual representation in science—Daston and Galison do not place structural objectivity at the centre of their story. Historians of philosophy of science have, however, long noted the centrality of structural objectivity in the work of early twentieth-century figures salient in creating the field of philosophy of science, such as Henri Poincaré, Bertrand Russell, and the early logical empiricists. Here, I will argue that a form of structural objectivity that is associated with early logical empiricism—given voice in, for example, Hans Reichenbach’s Relativitätstheorie und Erkenntnis A Priori (1920) and Rudolf Carnap’s Der logische Aufbau der Welt (1928)—can fruitfully be considered in the light of the two broad claims noted above that animate Daston and Galison’s history of objectivity. I will argue that unlike the largely individualistic moral concerns with unruly subjectivity that Daston and Galison find in, for example, mechanical objectivity, logical empiricist structural objectivity is concerned with the formation of a community of virtuous knowledge workers (in science and, especially, in philosophy) and, thus, with a form of objectivity motivated more by community-wide rather than individualistic moral concerns. That is to say, the notion of objectivity on offer in the early work of Reichenbach and Carnap had more to do with constituting and binding a community of scientific inquirers than with policing the dangers of individual subjectivity. Indeed, they offered structural objectivity as an ideal for a community of scientific workers in philosophy itself—a field they found notably lacking in the community-wide virtues of science. The larger point of the talk is to argue that historical virtue epistemology needs to attend as carefully to the history of epistemic virtue (and vice) as to the history of large epistemological categories such as objectivity. In this regard the early work of the logical empiricists is especially interesting for giving voice to certain understandings of epistemic virtue and vice while not being able fully to theorize them as epistemic virtues and vices; on this matter, there are interesting contrasts between the theoretical resources Reichenbach and Carnap bring to bear in offering their philosophies as scientifically responsible choices to the philosophical research community.

Romizi, "The Vienna Circle’s “scientific world conception” and the primacy of practical reason"

Beside a growing interest in the interplay between science and politics, a new discussion has arisen in recent philosophy of science regarding two interrelated questions: what it could mean for philosophy of science to be political and what the history of logical empiricism has to tell us about this issue (T. Mormann, J. O’Neill, T. Uebel, G. Reisch, S.S. Richardson are among the scholars who have published on this issues in the last six years). A quite common approach to these questions is to look at the philosophical work or statements of one or more logical empiricists and see if some kind of political stance is derivable from them; a positive finding might then sound as follows: “[the Left Vienna Circle’s] political philosophy of science was political only in a descriptive sense: it recognized the influence of extra-theoretical values within science and allowed for their pursuit by engaged scientists” (T. Uebel, 2005). Notwithstanding the plausibility of this thesis, it risks conflating the question of the political engagement of philosophy of science with that of the political engagement of science, while assigning to philosophy of science a kind of privileged and detached meta-perspective which would prevent it from a more inherent political engagement.

In my paper, which focuses on the Vienna Circle’s “scientific world conception” (SWC), I shall try to make use of a different approach to the issue, one that: (a) inverts the relationship between philosophical and political commitments by showing how the former can be derived from the latter, instead of the reverse; (b) points out directly the political meaning of a scientific world conception in the historical context of the Vienna Circle until 1936 – instead of relying on what some of the Vienna Circle’s members may have written about the political nature or otherwise of their philosophy; (c) deals with the issue of a politically engaged philosophy of science without shifting the “burden” of value-ladeness on science.

Following this approach, I shall articulate my paper as follows:

1. I shall try to provide a characterization of what the Vienna Circle’s SWC in fact amounted to.
2. I shall illustrate the implications of the SWC in its specific historical context in order to show that the SWC was inherently political and primitive with respect to the philosophical commitment.
3. In light of (1) & (2) I shall reflect on the two initial questions, i.e. what it could mean for philosophy of science to be political and what the history of logical empiricism has to tell us about the issue.

Sandner, "Otto Neurath and Politics: Political intellectual or social-engineer?"

The effort to connect scientific studies with social, economic and political issues was one of Otto Neurath’s major leitmotifs. However, the question of whether his intellectual commitment can actually be qualified as political or just as “social-engineering,” as he himself put it repeatedly is not easy to answer. This is not only because Neurath’s political history is contradictory in some respects. To understand the relation between science and politics in Neurath’s work means also to scrutinize his concept of politics and to embed it historically.

There has been a process of change in Otto Neurath’s political history from his early sympathy for social reformism over the course of the (Austro-) Marxist decades to a more social-liberal approach in his final years. However, there were some continuous elements linked with politics such as the conception of social planning and his idea of utopia. Additionally his approach to science communication which he practiced in adult and worker’s education, museum pedagogy, exhibitions and even movies (together with his wife Marie Neurath and Paul Rotha) was by no means apolitical. Quite the contrary: his activities represented a special understanding of science in which the concrete social, economic and cultural conditions of human life took centre stage. He dealt with themes such as work, health and housing but also deliberated on social integration and political participation. Especially in the last period of his life—the time of emigration (1934-1945)—he reflected on the interrelation of science and society and did so even from a theoretical perspective.

But anyway, how did he understand the relation between the philosophical program of Logical Empiricism and his political approach which moved somewhere between Marxism and Democratic Socialism? From 1928 onwards Otto Neurath was active in the Ernst Mach Society which propagated the scientific “Weltauffassung” of the Vienna Circle among the general public. In this context he addressed the questions and lectured for instance on “Unity of Science and Marxism” and located Historical Materialism within the framework of Unity of Science. Obviously there was a close connection between certain elements of the scientific “Weltauffassung” (e.g. anti-metaphysics) and the political project of Socialism on which he emphasized. Nevertheless Neurath insisted on his role as an expert and social-engineer and tried to establish a boarder between science and party politics.
To discuss these seemingly contradictory issues three questions will be addressed: First, Neurath’s political development and its continuities and even discontinuities will be discussed along the lines of key concepts such as utopia and (social) planning. Second, the precise meaning of politics in Neurath’s texts will be scrutinized. And finally the presentation focuses on the relation between philosophical program and political commitment in Neurath’s life and work.

Scardicchio, "Lewis and Goodman: The Debate on the Given Element in Empirical Knowledge"

The notion of the “given” was the most troubled and mislead point of the philosophy of Clarence Irving Lewis (1883-1964), usually considered the last empiricist foundationalist in the strong sense and the last classical pragmatist. It seems straightforwardly true if we consider the generation of philosophers that succeeded him – W.V.O. Quine, N. Goodman, R. Chisholm, R. Firth etc. – all Lewis’s students at Harvard. In fact the first step in their philosophies was the rejection of the given as inherited by Lewis.

In 1951 Lewis defended his conception of that notion in a symposium on The Given Element in Empirical Knowledge with H. Reichenbach and Goodman. The occasion was the 48th meeting of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association. Reichenbach’s argument was logical in nature and referred to the theory of probability (Reichenbach 1952); Goodman’s was pragmatic. Yet the main point of disagreement was Lewis’s assumption that what is given in experience was incorrigible and indubitable. For Lewis there are only two alternatives: either there must be some ground in experience «or what determines empirical truth is merely some logical relationship of a candidate-belief with other beliefs which have been accepted» (Lewis 1952, p. 168). But in this case we do not know why these antecedent beliefs have been accepted. Lewis argued that no logical relationship by itself is able to establish the truth: we need the incorrigible and presentational element in experience as final arbiter.

In that symposium Goodman makes two main points against his teacher: 1) We cannot ascribe the predicate “certain” to phenomenal propositions; 2) The validity of empirical, and so probable, knowledge is grounded on an initial credibility and not certainty. Then he points out what he thinks to be “the very core of the matter”: the problem of relating language to what it describes. That relation in Lewis’s terms risks to become mystical. Goodman proposes a pragmatic solution to avoid this threat. He sketches a theory of signaling (which has a berkeleyan flavour well known to Lewis) in which a particular experience could be a signal for a future experience: for instance, a statement “p” asserting the existence of a red patch in the visual field could signal a future statement-event that will occur when a similar patch occurs at a future time. Goodman’s suggestion is that such a signaling relation may explain how language relates to experience. He tries to overcome some aporias in Lewis’s theory using the very same pragmatic method of his teacher (Goodman 1952).

In this paper we will examine more closely Lewis’s conception of the given and the reasons for the rejection of such a notion by his disciple. Then, analyzing the discussion about the given element in empirical knowledge occurred in 1951 we want to show how close, how dependent to Lewis’s foundationalism is Goodman’s form of constructivism. More generally, this historical debate points out that the conceptual pragmatism by Lewis is more than the trait d’union between classic pragmatism and the generation of philosophers that succeeded him. Lewis’s conceptual pragmatism was the very root of constructivism as intended by Goodman and the method through which the new instances of philosophy of the Twentieth century were understood.

Schiemer, "Carnap’s reception of Fraenkel’s axiom of restriction"

This paper investigates Carnap’s reception of a neglected axiom candidate for set theory – the axiom of restriction introduced by Fraenkel in the early 1920s – with a view to highlighting certain interpretive issues concerning Carnap’s early theory of formal models. It has recently been stressed that Fraenkel’s considerations on the axiomatic method, most notably in his third edition of Einleitung in die Mengenlehre (Fraenkel 1928), exercised a stimulating influence on Carnap’s work on axiomatics, specifically on the metatheory of axiomatic systems that culminated in his typescript Untersuchungen zur allgemeinen Axiomatik (Carnap 2000) . So far, however, comparatively little attention has been drawn to a related issue in Carnap’s project on axiomatics, namely his study of “extremal axioms”, i.e. axioms that impose minimal or maximal conditions on the intended domains of the mathematical theories in question. In this paper I argue that Fraenkel’s axiom of restriction, which was devised to express a restriction clause for set models satisfying the axioms of ZF, has to be understood as the central mathematical background for Carnap’s formal explication of extremal axioms. I will retrace a detailed discussion of the axiom candidate in Carnap’s published und unpublished writings and make three interpretive points concerning Carnap’s semantics anno 1928.

First I argue that a closer look at Carnap’s different attempts to provide a formal presentation of Fraenkel’s informal axiom allows shedding light on Carnap’s specific understanding of the auxiliary concepts of a formal model and a submodel introduced to formalize extremal axioms. In particular, I show that the main results of the second, unfinished part of Untersuchungen, which exists in fragmentary form in Carnap’s Nachlass will give decisive cues for the understanding of his early conception of a model’s domain.

Second I will object to a claim forwarded by Hintikka in (Hintikka, “Carnap, the Universality of Language and Extremality Axioms”, 35, Erkenntnis, 1991) according to which Carnap’s formal explication of extremal axioms fails to present the actual use of the corresponding axioms in mathematical practice. I argue in contrast that once a more balanced picture of Carnap’s view of models and domain variation is gained, it becomes evident that Carnap clearly captures Fraenkel’s original intentions behind his informal version of the axiom of restriction.

Third, it will be evaluated whether Carnap’s continuing reflection on the axiom candidate from his work on axiomatics in the late 1920s up till his later work in the 1950s (e.g. in Carnap’s logic manual (Einführung in die symbolische Logik, 1954) allows to pinpoint a continuity in his conception of models throughout his intellectual career.

Schliesser, E., "Spinoza’s Criticism of mathematical and experimental science"

This paper argues, first, that from the vantage point of seventeenth century debates Spinoza sided with those that criticized the aspirations the physico-mathematicians (Galileo, Huygens, Wallis, Wren, etc.) who thought the application of mathematics to nature was the way to make progress. Spinoza called attention to five problems: i) (echoing the Jesuit critics of Galileo) Spinoza claimed that mathematics could not help isolate the causes relevant for explanation; ii) mathematics promotes epistemic hubris—encouraging its users to deploy aesthetic criteria in the wrong domain; iii) mathematics deployed the wrong mental faculty (imagination), which leads to epistemically insecure (or ‘confused’) forms of knowledge; iv) mathematics encourages reasoning with different kinds of infinite which lead to contradictions (and Zeno style paradoxes); v) because mathematics relies on the imagination, measurement always has error built into it.

Second, while this critical attitude toward physic-mathematics could have made Spinoza an ally of those that favoured natural history (Bacon) or experimental empiricism (Boyle), I call attention to his methodological criticism of natural history (its very open-endedness cannot produce proper definitions) and experimentation (it can provide evidence for too many hypotheses). Third, Spinoza’s philosophy of science is fuelled by a moral concern about the new sciences—by promoting fallible knowledge and immoderate desires, their built-in instability will only lead to unhappiness.

The significance of my paper is two-fold. First, it calls attention to the existence of informed criticism to the new philosophy from ‘within.’ After all, Spinoza was the author of what we may call a leading text-book introduction to Cartesian physics. The Principles of Cartesian Philosophy, 1663 is no slavish summary of Descartes, but offers genuine innovations, especially its measure of conatus.

Second, it overturns recent scholarship on Spinoza, which routinely portrays him as a fellow traveller of the so-called Mechanical philosophy. He is also nearly always treated as a kind of scientific naturalist. There is no doubt about Spinoza’s immersion and evident interest in the world of natural philosophy as illustrated by his correspondences with Henry Oldenburg, the secretary of the Royal Society, and (indirectly) Robert Boyle; by his proximity to and regular contact with the Huygens’ brothers; the reports about his experiments; his adoption of terminology inherited from Cartesian mechanics; by his lens-crafting and his knowledge of optics, microscopy and telescopes; and by his library full of recent works on natural philosophy. Many readers claim that Spinoza should be understood in terms of an arc that originates in Descartes, Bacon, Hobbes, and Galileo and that leads if not toward Newton or modern field theory, then at least toward Leibniz’s dynamics. This approach has received indirect support and reinforcement from the tendency to read Spinoza as source of radical Enlightenment thought, which was ‘pro-science.’

The standard reading ignores historical evidence: Eighteenth century Newtonians were very eager to distance Newton from Spinoza and provided some of the most informed and detailed criticism of Spinoza’s metaphysics and physics. While the motives of these critics may have been religious or social and their criticism may have been anachronistic (Spinoza could not have anticipated Newton), the existence of the Newtonian rejection of Spinoza alerts us to the fact that at least one group of informed natural philosophers did not consider Spinoza as a fellow traveller at all.

Schliesser, "The Weberian Roots of Chicago Economics"

This paper is an attempt to place the most famous twentieth century methodological essay within economics, Milton Friedman’s (1953) “The Methodology of Positive Economics,” in its proper intellectual context. Friedman’s essay has been simultaneously been read as an Instrumentalist manifesto and a Popperian creed. Others have claimed there is no coherent philosophy of science to be found in Friedman’s paper. Yet, historians have removed a large chunk of the ambiguity surrounding Friedman’s paper by honing in on its four intended targets: i) Walrasian (general equilibrium) theory; ii) the econometrics of the Cowles Commission; iii) Monopolistic competition theory as espoused by Robinson and Chamberlin; iv) institutionalist economics.

In this paper I call attention to a hitherto unappreciated source: Max Weber’s philosophy of social science as mediated by Talcott Parsons. My paper has four steps. First, I outline the importance of Max Weber to Frank Knight, Milton Friedman’s dissertation supervisor. Frank Knight was (together with Talcott Parsons) the person who introduced Max Weber into the American academy and one of his most thoughtful commentators within economics. Second, I call attention to the reception of Weber (as mediated by Parsons and Knight) in the methodological pronouncements of Milton Friedman’s close friend (and fellow Knight-student and Nobel laureate), George Stigler. In particular, I show in detail where Stigler acknowledges his methodological simultaneous debt(s) to Friedman and Parson in the period between 1940 and 1953. Third, in the main section of this paper I compare Parson’s The Theory of Social Action with Friedman’s methodological essay. I will isolate six distinct Friedman theses, and show how they echo nearly exact the wording to be found Parsons: i) the centrality of Galileo fall experiment in illustrating the status of unreal assumptions; ii) a logical version of what has come to be known as Duhem-Quine thesis; iii) the role of theory as a theory of research and not a photographic representation of reality (at best theories give very partial presentations of reality); iv) the importance of ideal types; v) the way objectivity is rule-constituted and value-free; vi) the two-fold structure of any theory (one part logical another part empirical). Finally, I call attention to how this helps illuminate ‘Chicago’s’ engagement with social theory and philosophy of science as exemplified by Parsons, Merton, and Kuhn.

Schmaus, "Science and the Social Contract in Renouvier"

Charles Renouvier (1815-1903) regarded normative questions in epistemology and philosophy of science as analogous to those in moral and political philosophy and proposed similar ways of dealing with both. He argued that it was not possible to achieve certainty or even complete consensus in either morality or science. In the social and ethical realm, people should deal with these problems through their voluntary agreement to a social contract that consists of what he called “positive conventions and laws.” This social contract has no normative force unless it is entered into voluntarily. Once it is agreed upon, it provides the basis for civil liberties. It should always remain open to criticism and revision. Denying Kant’s distinction between theoretical and practical reason, Renouvier held that knowledge also depends upon freedom of the will and individual liberty. Just as rules that one is forced to obey have no moral authority, propositions one is forced to accept have no epistemic authority. Renouvier also drew an analogy between the ways in which the social contract and science develop over time through the critical examination of accepted views, thus suggesting that scientific theories were conventional in the same way as the social contract. Science then appears to depend on two sorts of social contract for Renouvier: one that governs society at large and guarantees freedom of inquiry and another that is shared among the scientific community and consists in theories and methods that are conventionally held and subject to critical evaluation and modification.

In his second and third Essais de critique générale of 1859 and 1864, Renouvier explained that the social contract presupposes an individual or personal contract. One cannot contract with others without at the same time contracting with oneself. That is, the social contract depends on each party to it making a personal commitment to be regulated by it. However, this personal contract is only logically and not temporally prior to the social contract. There can be no such thing as a moral person in isolation from society. Renouvier distinguished two aspects of this individual contract: one that regulates the emotions and the other that regulates thoughts and ideas. The first is what makes morality and religion possible while the second, which he said was more explicit, makes philosophy and science possible.

Thus in Renouvier we find one of the earliest expressions of the social character of scientific inquiry. For Renouvier, to be a scientist is to make a personal commitment to the values of science and also to recognize that these values cannot be realized unless one belongs to a community of inquirers. Émile Durkheim was similarly concerned with the social nature of science and acknowledged an intellectual debt to Renouvier. Although Renouvier may be less widely read today, he no doubt influenced other late nineteenth century French thinkers as well. He also had an effect on American pragmatism through his professional relationships with C. S. Peirce and especially William James.

Schorner, "The Impact of the Descriptive Approach in Philosophy of Science in Germany"

This paper examines the impacts that historicization and polarization between the normative and the descriptive approach in philosophy of science had in the German speaking world in the early 1970s. The focus will be put on (1) Hans Albert who was the main protagonist of Critical Rationalism in Germany as well as on (2) Wolfgang Stegmüller who was one of the defenders of the normative theory-oriented conception of philosophy of science and largely responsible for the re-import of analytic philosophy and philosophy of science after 1945. Immediately after the publication of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, he was one of Kuhn´s most vehement critics. Later he tried to reconcile both his and Kuhn´s position with his theory structuralism.

Another critical exchange upon the descriptive approach took place in the 1970s: Stegmüller´s discussion with Feyerabend, who also reacted positively to Stegmüller´s new approach.

Here I will present some insights into the “internal perspective” of the philosophical exchanges between those different approaches, based on Stegmüller´s yet unpublished scientific correspondence with Kuhn, Feyerabend, Popper, Albert, but also Carl Gustav Hempel as a representative of the established tradition of logical empiricism.

Slowik, "The Emergence of Leibnizian Space: Whither Relationism?"

One of the nagging puzzles that vex Leibniz scholars is the problematic fit between relationism and his conception of space. The modern form of relationism—that space is a mere relation among bodies, but that these relations may include within their scope possibilia or non-actual bodies—is often defended, while some promote the more traditional relationism that insists that all spatial relations are directly mediated by way of existing bodies, which may thus explain his denial of a vacuum. In this presentation, not only will the majority of the relationisms typically offered as interpretations of Leibniz’ theory be revealed as inadequate, but the very viability of relationism will be called into question with respect to Leibnizian space, and, to a lesser extent, Leibnizian motion and time. As will be demonstrated, the underlying metaphysics of Leibniz’ theory requires a different set of conceptual resources, despite the obvious fact that the aftermath of the debates with the absolutists of his day set in stone an idea of Leibnizian space that continues to mislead philosophers. While the conclusions of this essay may strike the reader as rather controversial, the preponderance of the evidence that will be presented has played a major role in the Early Modern metaphysical investigations of Leibniz over, roughly, the past twenty-five years: the lessons to be gathered from this research, however, have not been sufficiently assimilated by the spacetime crowd in their analysis of the foundations of Leibnizian space, nor have the subtleties of Leibniz’ concepts been properly factored into various Early Modern appraisals.

First, the various brands of relationism are compared and contrasted with Leibniz’ spatial hypotheses, with the surprising result that most are either entirely inadequate or, at best, only tangentially relevant to his deeper metaphysical design. Among the topics discussed in this portion of the presentation are the impossibility/possibility of a vacuum and the Euclidean geometric orientation of his spatial thinking, which necessarily implicates such concepts as quantity, a classical geometric holism/monism, and God’s relationship to space. The manner by which space is “emergent” from substances/monads will be the subject of the second part, along with the consequences that this more accurate estimation of Leibniz’ theory holds for both his alleged espousal of relational space and motion. In the final portion of the presentation, the metaphysics of substances, accidents, and relations will be examined in order to demonstrate the many novel aspects to Leibniz’ theory, as well as the many traditional elements that are much closer in spirit to Newton than has generally been acknowledged. Overall, a much better case can be made for linking Leibniz’ speculations to: first, the realism/anti-realism debate with respect to geometry; and, second, the emergence of space at the macroscopic scale from a, quite different, microscopic level of reality. It is on these issues that a contrast can be established with the Newtonians of his day, rather than with the default relationism or substantivalism that continues to dominate the modern reassessments.

Smith, "Georg Ernst Stahl and the Curious History of Leibnizian ‘Vitalism’"

Until now, scholars have had only very limited access to the documents relating to G. W. Leibniz’s bitter debate with Georg Ernst Stahl concerning the role of the soul in the body and the sources of bodily motion. The only two more or less complete translations from the Latin, Blondin’s of 1864, and Carvallo’s of 2004, are faulty in different ways and cannot be fully trusted. Their most significant shortcoming is that they both take Stahl’s own 1720 edition of the mediated correspondence, entitled Skiamachia, sive Negotium otiosum [Shadow-Boxing, or, A Tiresome Quarrel] as the basis of their own editions, even though, as we now know, and as one might have predicted from the bold title he chose, Stahl himself presented a thoroughly distorted account of the debate, both in the way he frames the debate in his preface and in the notes and interpollations he adds to the parts of the text meant to portray Leibniz’s views, as well, frequently, as in the outright alteration of Leibniz's words. If Stahl was ‘shadow-boxing’ against his enemy, this is only because his enemy had been dead for four years and was not in a position to fight back.

In this paper it will be argued, first of all, that Leibniz's sustained argument against Stahl’s view of the role of the soul in the body constitutes his most forceful rejection of the doctrine that would soon come to be called ‘vitalism’, according to which life is, in the end, a non-bodily force that plays a causal role in the bodily realm, particularly the role of preserving the structure of the body through time. For the mature Leibniz, instead, life just is perception, and thus belongs to simple substances alone. Animal bodies, in contrast, have their organisation and their functionality as a result of their ‘vegetative structure alone’, which is to say as a result of strictly non-vital, micro-mechanical factors. Second, it will be argued that Leibniz’s arguments against Stahl amount not to a concession to vitalism, but indeed to a radicalisation of the anti-vitalism he had inherited from the mechanist tradition: Descartes, after all, had held open the possibility that at least some perception is grounded in bodily organs and processes. In order to understand the true character of Leibniz’s anti-vitalism, we must first, however, address Leibniz’s concern to argue against what he saw as the unwitting impiety of the Halle Pietists, including Stahl, who believed that God permits ‘vice-gerent’ entities to manage the structure and motion of bodies. In the end, for Leibniz, Stahl’s vitalism, like Newton’s theory of the ‘sensorium’, is in fact a variety of animism, and Leibniz, perhaps more than any other mechanist, is exceedingly sensitive to the danger of what he sees as incipient nature worship. In this sense it has been a mistake among some of Leibniz’s followers and commentators to suppose that the introduction of the concept of organism by Leibniz had anything to do with a rejection of mechanism: in fact, as the debate with Stahl shows, the concept in fact enabled Leibniz to offer a version of mechanism adequate to the task of accounting for the structure and motion of animal bodies without having to invoke what he saw as the transcendental notion of ‘life’.

Solymosi, "Continuity, Naturalism, and the Subject-Matter of Science in John Dewey’s Darwinian Philosophy of Science"

Spirtes -- see Irzik

Stan, "The Pre-Critical Kant on the Relativity of Motion"

Descartes, Leibniz, Huygens and Berkeley all claimed that motion is, in some sense, relative. Kant too writes, “motion is never absolute, but always relative”; yet he does so in a paper titled A New Theory of Motion and Rest. Was he ignorant of his predecessors? Was it just false advertising? Or does he have a truly new doctrine? And, if it is relativistic, how does it fit with Kant’s alleged Newtonianism? In this paper, I reconstruct Kant’s early view of true motion, and argue that he needs it to support a mechanics of collisions inspired by Leibniz, Wolff, and their German successors. I begin, in Section I, by explicating the nature of Kant’s relativity. It is the thesis that true motion is not a complete predicate: it may not be ascribed to single objects. Rather, it only applies to pairs: a body’s true motion is an irreducible relation between it and another body with which it collides. I explain how Kant’s relativity of motion differs from that of his predecessors, and I also note some striking similarities between Kant and Huygens. In Section II, I detail the uses to which he puts his doctrine. From his concept of relative motion, Kant infers two a priori laws of motion. These he uses to sketch a metaphysical model of collisions as a conflict between equal and opposite ‘moving forces.’ I show that he offers the model as a solution to a dual task he inherited from Leibniz and Wolff: (1) to explain impact without implying that motion is really communicated in it; (2) to show that the model yields dynamical laws which ground the kinematic rules of collision. In Section III, I survey Leibniz and Wolff’s influence on Kant’s early foundations of dynamics. He shares with them a research agenda centered on impact, modeled in terms of ‘moving forces.’ Like them, he only has two laws of motion derived a priori, which he likewise uses to derive rules of collision. Based on the previous sections, I conclude that, contrary to some influential readings – e.g., Michael Friedman’s – the young Kant shows no interest in absolute space as a source of inertial structure; in fact, he rejects it explicitly. I also suggest that, to understand the young Kant’s foundations of dynamics, we must consider Leibniz’s influence upon 18th century natural philosophy. The young Kant continues the Leibnizian project of a metaphysical dynamics tailored to handle collisions. On this point, Kant’s own views remained remarkably stable. His Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science incorporates these early insights; hence it must be seen, at least in part, as Kant’s continued dialog with Leibniz and Wolff.

Stascheit, "Georg Crisis and Method: Edmund Husserl in Economic Thought"

Through the discussion of the specific relation between Friedrich von Hayek’s and Alfred Schutz’ approaches to economic thought, the paper explores the influences of Edmund Husserl on economic methodology with particular reference to the problem of abstraction in economic theory.

Friedrich von Hayek, prior to publishing Alfred Schutz’ paper “The Problem of Rationality in the Social World” in Economica in May 1943, wrote to his colleague in a letter dated December 25, 1942: “As regards to the substance I can only say that we seem to be driving at very much the same thing, though from so different a starting point as to make it sometimes difficult to understand the relation between the two approaches.” (“Hayek, F. A. Correspondence”. Alfred Schutz Papers. General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library).

In taking up Weberian topics from a Husserlian perspective, Alfred Schutz had developed the concept of relevance as a theoretical framework for a scientific understanding of the rational structures of human action. It is in this context, that almost ten years after the letter mentioned above, Alfred Schutz sends a reprint of his article “Choosing among Projects of Action” to Friedrich von Hayek on January 3, 1952 along with the following comment: “As a matter of fact, my original manuscript had a second part in which I tried to point out that the basic assumption of economic theory consists of the transformation of open possibilitities into problematical possibilities. I think also that the principle of scarcity might be interpreted as a special case of practicability of economic action.” (ibid.)

In exploring the relation between the two approaches, the present paper goes back to Edmund Husserl’s early work Logical Investigations (1900/1901), particularly the Investigation V “On Intentional Experiences and their ‘Contents’” and the Second Section of Investigation VI “Sense and Understanding”, where Husserl introduces the distinction between categorial intuition [kategoriale Anschauung] and sensuous intuition [sinnliche Anschauung]. Already Max Weber had explicitly referenced Investigation V and VI in the essay “Roscher and Knies: The Logical Problems of Historical Economics”, and the influence of the early Husserl can also be traced in Weber’s later methodological writings.

Following the history of Husserl’s work on the revision of Investigation VI, which he started only a few years after the initial publication, the paper reconstructs a few lines in the development of Husserlian thought from the Logical Investigations to Husserls later work, namely Formal and Transcendental Logic and the Crisis of the European Sciences, with particular reference to the problem of abstraction in economic theory. “My difficulty is still the element of historism which, at least in my mind, attaches to the concept of ideal type, a concept that to me always suggests a fictitious entity rather than an abstraction”, Friedrich von Hayek writes to Alfred Schutz in the above letter dated December 25, 1942. “I still prefer to speak of models …”

Stinson -- see Hennig

Stöltzner, "Mathematical Thought Experiments in Mach, Pólya, and Lakatos"

Imre Lakatos’s philosophy of mathematics is often considered as a promising first step “towards a philosophy of real mathematics”. Not that Lakatos had denied the importance of foundationalist investigations, but he developed his stand against Euclideanism” – that is, the axiomatic method understood in a logicist perspective – into an epistemology of mathematical progress. Although it is true that Lakatos’s approach requires substantial modifications in order to thrive within contemporary mathematics at-large – where informal ancestors might be difficult to find –, he supplied important concepts that are independent of, though not inconsistent with, the oft-discussed Popperian and Hegelian context of his rational reconstruction. Rather do these concepts draw upon his intimate connections to leading Hungarian mathematicians – documented in the LSE archive – and his embedding into the problem-oriented tradition prevailing in Hungary mathematics at the day.

In my paper, I focus on the idea of mathematical thought experiments and the related conception of quasi-facts. Although Lakatos himself credits only Arpád Szabó for having spotted the idea in pre-Euclidean Greek mathematics, I argue that Lakatos’s conception of proof thought experiments is strongly influenced by George Pólya’s characteristic transformation of Ernst Mach’s understanding mathematical thought experiments as variations of the determining conditions – even though Pólya, interestingly, avoided the term. Historically the Machian connection is not surprising because Pólya was a leading member of the Budapest Galileo Circle that took Mach – as the famous Vienna Circle manifesto would do two decades later – as the key figure of scientific enlightenment within the outgoing Habsburg monarchy.

In his 1954 Mathematics and Plausible Reasoning, Pólya describes the various elements of mathematical heuristics. Apart from analogy and induction one finds an extensive discussion of physical mathematics (optics and analytic mechanics) and variational calculus. The selection of the respective problems and the way Pólya treats them (together with other historical evidence) clearly indicates that he derived his respective information from Mach’s Science of Mechanics and Knowledge and Error. Taking up these connections, I argue that Pólya’s plausible reasoning often corresponds to a mathematical thought experiment in Mach’s sense. In a second step I show that it is consistent with Pólya’s approach, that exclusively focuses on the ars inveniendi, not to limit mathematical thought experiments to heuristics, but to endow them with a validating role within a given mathematical set-up as well.

With this amendment, Pólya’s conception resembles the view of proofs as quasi-thought experiments that represents one of the pillars of Lakatos’s Proofs and Refutations (1963-4). Stressing this historical lineage helps, in a systematic perspective, to overcome the sharp opposition between Lakatos’s Popperian fallibilism and his conception of Euclideanism that hampers the application of his approach to modern axiomatized mathematics. For rather than being part of a Darwinian trial-and-error strategy, mathematical thought experiments represent a well-developed strategy in critically assessing a given axiomatization through the variation of its single axioms and by applying it to special models provided, e.g., by scientific theory. Proceeding along these lines one arrives not too far from the opportunistic reinterpretation of Hilbert’s axiomatic method propounded by another Hungarian mathematician: John von Neumann.

Stuart, "The Role of Henri Poincaré and Pierre Duhem..."

Recent work has tried to free Henri Poincaré from the misinterpretations of the logical positivists (Giedymin 1982, McMullin 1990, Friedman 1999, Galison 2001, Zahar 2001, Brenner 2003, Ben-Menahem 2006). Continuing this trend, I submit a new interpretation of the origin of philosophical conventionalism in the philosophy of science, which shows that Pierre Duhem was the real father of the movement. While Duhem himself criticized Poincaré’s conventionalism, it is only upon Duhem’s philosophy that the scaffold can be set. He misinterpreted Poincaré in a way that has since become standard, due to the great influence of Duhem himself, and perhaps his participation in the Duhem-Quine thesis. According to my reading, Poincaré was hardly a conventionalist at all, but it is shown how the lively debate between the two flowered into the modern debate of structural realism (Worral 1989, Psillos 1995, Chakravartty 1998, Ladyman and Ross 2007) versus empirical adequacy accounts like van Fraassen’s (1980, 2002, 2008). I argue that the most important difference between books like Science et l’Hypothèsis and La Thèorie Physique; Son objet et sa structure consist in the relationship between mathematics and experience, showing that the authors held extremely different views on the nature of the development of theory: Poincaré sees experience and theory as continuous and on a par. Duhem thinks that theory can afford to ignore experience until the last moment. Both writers strive to create a middle ground: between the “realist in the laboratory” and the “anti-realist in the archives,” between the a priori and the a posteriori, the analytic and the synthetic, between common-sense intuition and scientific realism. I too, try to find a middle ground; between the conventionalism of the “received view” (garnered from the positivists and contemporaries of Poincaré and Duhem), and what now seems evident given modern scholarship. I finish by considering what consequences may be drawn from this study of the confused origin of what is now a ubiquitous feature of philosophy departments and textbooks worldwide.

Stump, "Reconsidering the Logical Positivist Rejection of A Priori Knowledge"

One way to organize much of twentieth-century philosophy of science is to read it as a series of debates over what had been considered a priori knowledge. Although synthetic a priori knowledge was officially rejected by the Vienna Circle and their followers, parts of knowledge that had been considered a priori by Kant, such as geometry, space and time, causality, and the basic principles of physics, were widely discussed throughout the twentieth century and statements about them have always been given a special role, either as conventions, or as the hard core of scientific theories. They have what might be called functional a priori status, that is, they serve the purpose of a priori knowledge as constitutive of physical theory, even if they are ultimately grounded empirically.

The standard account of a priori knowledge in the mid twentieth century was that it simply did not exist. All knowledge could be shown to be either empirical or simply a matter of definition according to this account. However, a look at the positions of individuals involved in the rejection of the a priori shows a rather nuanced and complicated story, as Coffa, Friedman and others have argued. Schlick went through a neo-Kantian phase before becoming a strict empiricist. Before changing his view and adopting the standard account, Reichenbach considered a position on a priori knowledge that is in keeping with the functional theory of the a priori, as he forcefully distinguished between the constitutive role of the a priori and its claimed necessity. Carnap, in his later works, also shifted his position and ended up with an account of knowledge that is more in keeping with the functional theory of the a priori. Even Ayer, who as expected set out the most extreme form of empiricism, can be seen as acknowledging the special status of mathematics and logic.

Ayer is, of course, horribly out of fashion. He is credited with promulgating all sorts of misconceptions about the Vienna Circle and certainly did skew his reading of Logical Positivism towards British Empiricism while ignoring the neo-Kantian elements. To be fair, however, Ayer says up front in his “Preface to the First Edition” of Language, Truth and Logic that the views in the book derive from those of Russell and Wittgenstein, and through them from Hume and Berkeley. So Ayer is consciously presenting an updated version of British empiricism, not that of the Vienna Circle, and indeed he distances himself from “positivism”. However, this means that his treatment of the a priori is important, because it is in some ways the purest rejection of this element of knowledge. In outlining the Logical Positivist’s positions on a priori knowledge I will argue that the shifts in their positions and their reliance on the principle of verification shows that the former a priori is still problematic and demonstrates the special status of mathematics and other fundamental principles as constitutive parts of physical theory.

Uebel, "Pragmatism and the Vienna Circle"

Discussions of the relation between pragmatism and logical empiricism tend to focus on the period when the logical empiricists found themselves in exile, mostly in the United States, and consider the extent of their convergence. By contrast, this talk will focus on the period before that and consider whether pragmatism had an early influence on the development of logical empiricism.

This talk will take issue with a reading of Herbert Feigl’s claim that “most of us in the Vienna Circle were largely ignorant of American philosophy” ([1969] 1981, 69) as confirming the view that, apart from Schlick’s early rejection of its theory of truth ([1910] 1979), pragmatism found no significant reception amongst the members of the Vienna Circle at the time of the Circle itself. To this end I will focus on a subgroup of the Vienna Circle around Schlick, the members of the so-called First Vienna Circle. I will defend the claim that Philipp Frank, Hans Hahn and Otto Neurath were familiar with James’ version of pragmatism ever since his Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking was translated into German in by the Viennese philosopher and pedagogue Wilhelm Jerusalem in 1908—contrary to what Frank seems to assert when he wrote about this group that “it was not realized that American pragmatism was a related movement” (1941, 7). That clarified, it must be stated, however, that Frank, Hahn and Neurath did not publically affirm their sympathy to pragmatism until the late 1920s and early 1930s. I will be argued that explanations of this two-stage reception of pragmatism by Frank, Hahn and Neurath can be found, on the one hand, in the broadening of their own conception of philosophy of science and, on the other hand, in the complexities of the task of defending pragmatism against its philosophical opposition before the 1920s. The problematic aspects of Jerusalem’s own philosophy and its fate will serve as an illustrative example of the latter.

In closing it will be noted that the pragmatist sympathies of Frank, Hahn and Neurath throw further light on the internal dynamics of the Vienna Circle in the 1920s and 1930s.

Vajda, "The life story of Imre Lakatos and the tale of his life story"

The story of Imre Lakatos’s life is already thrilling in itself, but the story of the ever-changing interpretations of it is even more intriguing. The political past of the famous scholar, who was born in Hungary and later settled in the United Kingdom at the age of 34, was not investigated till the collapse of the socialist regime in Eastern Europe. This was only partly due to the fact that secret service materials were not publicly available. In fact, the changes in the interpretation of Lakatos’s life story coincide perfectly with the process of incrimination and refusal of leftist doctrines and the relating practices following the fall of the socialist block.

Research concerning the life of Lakatos was initiated in the mid-1990’s by American scholars-, namely Jancis Long (2002) and Lee Congdon (2002). By the turn of the millennium, a certain canon had emerged regarding his life story. This canon is primarily concerned with the early political activity of Lakatos and his relationship with the Communist Party elite and the Secret Service. Biographers’ tendency to sustain the demonic and evil personality of Imre Lakatos played a crucial role in carving out his political commitment and the dramatic turning points in his life. Some biographies covertly suggest that Lakatos was in contact with Communist secret services throughout his life; moreover, that it was thanks to their assistance that he was nominated for the professorship to replace Karl Popper and went on to obtain astounding fame less than two decades after he had emigrated. This canon was supported by the writings of some Hungarian authors, as well as by a film that was made in the very same spirit. (Nagy, 2001))

In my talk I would like to report my research conducted in the Lakatos Archive of LSE. This work included interviews with friends and colleagues, correspondence with Hungarian friends and documents recently released by the Home Office of the UK. On the basis of this material a more realistic picture of Lakatos’ life and personality can be outlined. I claim that Lakatos’s participation in and commitment to the communist movement and even his uncritical exaltation and fanaticism were typical rather than exceptional characteristics of young intellectuals, especially of Hungarian Jews in the late 1940’s. It is beyond doubt that Lakatos did not remain connected to either Hungarian or Soviet secret services, but due to his past and despite his widespread reputation, he was never able to gain the trust of British Authorities. Despite of his sometimes careless and undiscerning behaviour, Lakatos’s personality does seem to be rather sophisticated. His personal utterances are full of self-irony, a desire to be accepted and a feeling of guilt. Because of cultural discrepancies the investigators of the Home Office and MI5 often misinterpreted Lakatos’s behaviour, which led to repeated refusals of his application for British citizenship.


Congdon, L.,2002: Lakatos’ Political Reawakening. In Appraising Lakatos. Mathematics, Metodology and the Man. Eds: G. Kampis, Kvasz, L., M. Stöltzner. Kluwer Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands

Litván Gy. 1995: Két őrület áldozata. Élet és Irodalom, jan. 6

Long, J. 2002: The unforgiven: Imre Lakatos’s Life in Hungary. In Appraising Lakatos. Mathematics, Metodology and the Man. Eds: G. Kampis, L. Kvasz, , M. Stöltzner. Kluwer Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands

Mihályi G.,1998: Egy életkudarc története. Replika, 1998 június 30. sz. 183-191

Nagy, A., 2001: A patkány és a géniusz. Liget, 2001 february

van Dyck, "Haunted by circular motions, Koyré and Drake on metaphysics and the scientific revolution"

In this paper I analyze the different historiographical presuppositions that lie behind the very different approaches that Alexandre Koyré and Stillman Drake brought to the study of the texts of Galileo Galilei. I argue that Drake misread the implications of a number of Koyré’s central claims about Galileo in crucial ways, and that this particular misreading shows us both something important about how the relation between metaphysics and physics has been differently conceived throughout the twentieth century historiography of the so-called scientific revolution – and how present history of science can still learn something important from a confrontation with this crucial aspect of its historical roots.

An important example of a particular misreading of Koyré considers his oft-quoted statement that Galileo was “haunted by circular motions”, which Drake glossed as the claim that Galileo was confused by a “metaphysical preoccupation with circular motions”. Drake was of course generally dismissive of metaphyiscal speculation, which he considered intrinsically opposed to empirical science, but the view that the category of metaphysics more or less covered the (implicit) presuppositions that shaped a scientist’s beliefs was shared by large number of historians of science brought up in a (post-)positivist philosophical climate (including people like E.A. Burtt, who linked it with conclusions fundamentally different from those of Drake). A careful reading of Koyré’s Galilean Studies shows that the remark concerning the “hantise”, although related to metaphysical issues, should not be understood along these lines. It rather refers to a number of empirical constraints that Galileo could not evade, but could not explain either (such as the weight of bodies – which causes the instances of what we would recognize as inertial motion in Galileo to be circular). By further considering the implications of this different reading, it also becomes possible to offer a more illuminating picture of the crucial place that Koyré undeniably saw metaphysics occupying in the scientific revolution – as his famous characterization of Galileo as a Platonist makes eminently clear. Just as in the case of Drake, it will be shown how this picture reflects important aspects of Koyré’s own, very different philosophical predilections.

In the mean-time, present-day history of science of the early modern times has learned to thoroughly historicize the category of metaphysics, which implies thtat its relation to the science of motion is now analyzed very differently than in both Koyré’s and Drake’s approaches. By drawing some lessons from my comparitive study in the history of philosophy of science, I hope to bring out some important facets of how our way of telling the history has its own blind spots.

Vanzo, "Experiments in German philosophy in the second half of the eighteenth century"

My paper discusses the functions that German philosophers ascribed to experiments within philosophy in the second half of the eighteenth century. Their views on experiments are explained in the light of their conceptions of the method of philosophy and of their rejection of Christian Wolff’s mathematical method.

The paper is divided in three parts. The first part provides background information on Wolff’s mathematical method and on the role of experiments in his philosophy. The second part outlines the role of experiments in the analytic method of philosophy that was put forward by Moses Mendelsohn, Johannes Nikolaus Tetens, and the young Kant in the 1760s and 1770s. The third part explores the role of experiments in Kant’s Critical philosophy.

Wolff upholds the employment of a deductive method, moulded on the model of Euclid’s Elements. Wolff’s application of the mathematical method poses serious limitations to the importance of experience as a source and foundation of cognition.

The main source of experiential knowledge in Wolff’s philosophy is observation, which includes introspection. Experiments are relegated to the field of experimental physics. They provide genuine knowledge only once experimental results are incorporated in the deductive system of natural science.

Many of the brightest minds in Germany in the 1760s and in the 1770s claim, against Wolff, that philosophy should adopt the analytic method. This method consists of two phases: experience, or discovery of a body of data on one’s object of research; and analysis, which includes the clarification of the notions acquired from experience, the formulation of general laws, and their organization in a system.

Experience is the point of departure for enquiries conducted according to the analytic method. Experience consists of observation and experiments. Once again, it is observation which plays the lion’s share. Experiments are confined to the domain of physics, where they are aimed at yielding a base of data for the subsequent development of hypotheses and theories. Outside the field of physics, attempts to develop an experimental psychology (Krüger) only deliver an observational psychology.

Kant, in his Critical period (1781–1804), rejects the employment of the analytic method. He ascribes a prominent function to experiments, within the a priori branches of philosophy (metaphysics and ethics), as well as within the a posteriori branches of philosophy (such as experimental physics).

Many of Kant’s central arguments in metaphysics and ethics rely on thought experiments. Kant describes the entire Critique of Pure Reason and its largest section, the Transcendental Dialectic, as an experiment developed on the example of experiments in physics and chemistry.

With regard to experimental physics, Kant denies that experiments provide a data base independently of theorizing. They presuppose a broad set of assumptions and they have the function of confirming or disproving hypotheses. Kant’s statements draw a line of demarcation between eighteenth century experimentalists, who shunned hypotheses, and nineteenth century experimentalists, who were partial to hypotheses.

Wagner, "Carnap and Kemeny on state descriptions, models, and interpretations"

Assessments of Carnap’s place in the history of semantics typically underline the two following points: first, Carnap adopted the semantic method only after Tarski showed him how to define truth; second, he was the first to devise a semantic for modal logic, but while he made significant steps towards possible-world semantics with his notion of state descriptions, he actually missed the goal because he failed to introduce the crucial idea of an accessibility relation (this is the view Hintikka expresses in “Carnap’s Heritage in Logical Semantics”, 1975). In my paper, I shall contend that such a view underemphasizes Carnap’s role in the history of semantics, and that we get a quite different picture if we consider Carnap’s notions of model and interpretation, as well as the interactions he had with John Kemeny, whom he met in Princeton in 1952.

Kemeny is the author of two papers which are landmarks of what is usually called “Tarski’s semantics” in logical textbooks nowadays. In the first one (“Models of Logical Systems” 1948), he elaborates the idea of studying the models of any logical system; in the second one (“A New Approach to Semantics”, 1956), he uses the concept of model he had defined in 1948 and proposes an approach in which “the concept of an interpretation of a logical system is taken as the central concept of semantics” (p. 1) – an idea which has become commonplace of our textbooks but which was new at the time.

Now, in his (1948), Kemeny acknowledges that the question: “What are the models of a formal system?” had already been raised by Carnap in a series of papers in which “he proves some very interesting results” (p. 19). Moreover, it is in his review of Carnap’s Logical Foundations of Probability that Kemeny makes the key suggestion of replacing Carnap’s concept of a state description by that of a model (Journal of Symbolic Logic 16, 1951, p. 206), so as to avoid objectionable features of Carnap’s approach. This remark is fully developed into a new approach to semantics in his (1956), which also focuses on Carnap’s problem of explicating analytic truths.

On the other hand, in “My conception of Semantics” (Schilpp volume p. 900-902) written in the late 1950s, Carnap gives up the concept of state descriptions and put the concepts of model and interpretation at the core of his semantics. And the same turn is taken in Carnap’s inductive logic (see “A basic system of inductive logic”, 1971, p. 54).

My contention is that a careful examination of the interactions between Carnap and Kemeny illuminates the role Carnap had in the development of semantics in the 1950s, and shows that Hintikka’s assessment of Carnap’s heritage in logical semantics is a quite partial one: Carnap’s concept of a state description played a key role in the advent of modern model theory, not only in that of possible-world semantics.

Walsh, "Kronecker on Arithmetization, and His Relation to Helmholtz & Kirchhoff"

Kronecker was an eminent 19th Century German mathematician who was frequently described as a nitist or constructivist by early 20th Century authors such as Hilbert. However, Kronecker's 1891 lectures on the philosophy of mathematics have recently been transcribed and published, and the goal of this essay is to contextualize and evaluate a problem in the philosophy of mathematics posed by Kronecker in these lectures.

The problem Kronecker describes concerns the relationship between geometrical notions, such as a geometrical notion of area de ned in terms of decompositions of polygons into triangles, and its arithmetic counterpart, in this case the notion of Riemannian integration. Here is how Kronecker puts the problem: \With this necessary overlap of the individual sciences, to which however the individual disciplines ought never to sacri ce the pure and independent formation of their concepts, there arises the problem of the extent to which arithmetic can operate with concepts and objects which no longer have a purely arithmetic character". Hence, Kronecker is asking for an explanation of how it is that non-arithmetical properties can have arithmetical counterparts in such a way that knowledge of the arithmetical property yields knowledge of its non-arithmetical counterpart. Kronecker contrasts his own explanation of this phenomena to those of various of his contemporaries, including Helmholtz. While Helmholtz suggests that such arithmetization is mediated by the presence of maps from the arithmetical domain into the non-arithmetical domain, Kronecker suggests that it is mediated by maps from the non- arithmetical domain into the arithmetical domain. Part of what we seek to explain here is how this seemingly innocuous di erence results in two radically di erent conceptions of arithmetization.

Kronecker also suggests that his own explanation is in keeping with the methodologi- cal precepts of his colleague Kirchho , who in his introductory lectures on mechanics had stressed the virtue of a \complete and simple description," famously saying: \Mechanics is the science of motion, and we designate its task as follows: to describe completely and as simply as possible the movements occurring in nature". Kirchho elaborated on this notion in an 1865 talk entitled "On the Goal of the Natural Sciences", and part of what we do in this paper is use Kirchho 's 1865 talk to come to a better understand- ing of his notion of "a simple and complete description," so that we are in a better position to explain how Kronecker viewed this as operating within the domain of mathematics.

White, "Newton’s Principia mathematica: Mathematics but not Natural Philosophy?"

In his Essay concerning Human Understanding, John Locke explicitly refers to Newton’s Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica in laudatory but restrained terms: “Mr. Newton, in his never enough to be admired Book, has demonstrated several Propositions, which are so many new Truths, before unknown to the World, and are farther Advances in Mathematical Knowledge” (Essay, 4.7.3). The mathematica of the Principia are thus acknowledged. But what of philosophia naturalis? Locke maintains that natural philosophy, conceived as natural science (as opposed to natural history), would give us demonstrations of the necessary connection between the (ultimately, simple) ideas constitutive of our complex ideas of various natural kinds of substances (e.g., gold). Indeed Locke goes so far as to suggest that a completely adequate natural science would also realize (perhaps, per impossibile) the goal of transforming the corpuscularian hypothesis into knowledge by demonstrating the necessary connection between the ‘microstructure’ (primary qualities of insensible corpuscles) of a particular natural kind of substance (e.g., gold) and the ideas of secondary qualities constitutive of the complex idea of that kind of substance. Locke’s conclusion concerning the possibility of the development of a natural science thus conceived is pessimistic:

In vain therefore shall we endeavor to discover by our Ideas, (the only true way of certain and universal knowledge,) what other Ideas are to be found constantly joined with that of our complex Idea of any Substance: since we neither know the real Constitution of the minute Parts, on which their Qualities do depend; not, did we know them could we discover any necessary connexion between them, and any of their Secondary Qualities: which is necessary to be done, before we can certainly know their necessary co-existence (Essay, 4.3.14).

It is understandable that, with such a conception of the science of nature, Locke found little of it in Newton’s Principia. In this paper, I further explore what might be termed Locke’s ‘disappointment’ with the Prinicipia as a contribution to natural science. In particular, I shall suggest that Locke’s ambivalence (between an ‘entailment’ and an ‘empirical’ conception) concerning the of causal relation together with his belief that proper human concerns about the natural world can adequately be addressed by natural history (as opposed to science) combine to make him something less than a Newton enthusiast.

Wilholt, "The Birth of Scientific Freedom out of the Spirit of Revolution: The Freedom of Science in 19th Century German Political Thought"

The emergence of politically influential conceptions of the freedom of science is often associated with the cold war period, when in the US Vannevar Bush suggested a new social contract for science which included the freedom of inquiry as one of its basic principles, while in Britain Polanyi and others used the Logic of Liberty to fight against the Bernalists and their ideas about the planning of science for greater public benefit. In these debates, scientific freedom was defended by appeal to epistemological arguments. It was claimed that individual freedom on the part of the researchers was a precondition for the epistemic success of a collective cognitive enterprise.

A closer look at the history of scientific freedom in continental Europe reveals that there, conceptions of the freedom of science had entered the political arena much earlier, bringing with them a completely different rationale for their defense. In particular, it can be shown that liberal thinkers and theorists of the emerging democratic movement in Germany discussed scientific freedom as an important element of democratic order in the 1830ies and 1840ies. Their considerations had lasting political effects. The provision that “science [Wissenschaft] and the teaching of science are free” made its way into the draft constitution put together by the assembly of the Paulskirche after the March Revolution of 1848. This constitution’s catalogue of basic rights, though never enacted as such, served as a blueprint for many later democratic constitutions, with the result that several European constitutions now include articles guaranteeing the freedom of scientific research and teaching.

The original arguments that were brought forward in support of scientific freedom in mid-19th-century Germany are political rather than epistemological. The freedom of scientists to conduct and publish their research without interference is not presented as a prerequisite for the efficient organization of knowledge production, but as a requirement that reflects the role of science as a potential source of political criticism and as a resource for “society’s self-knowledge and self-government” (Julius Fröbel). In order to fulfill such roles, science must maintain independence from the political powers. By presenting these ideas, the liberal authors are taking up a line of thought that stretches back into the late 18th century and to enlightenment thinkers such as Condorcet and Kant. At the same time, they are reacting to the political realities of the German states of the first half of the 19th century, which had seen many cases of state interference with academic matters and repression of politically active university professors.

It can be argued that the political arguments from this tradition lend support to a different conception of scientific freedom than the one backed up by the now common epistemological arguments. Instead of a right of scientists, the “political” conception of scientific freedom is rather a right of citizens to a flourishing and politically independent scientific enterprise.

Wolfe, "Why was there no controversy over Life in the Scientific Revolution?"

Well prior to the invention of the term ‘biology’ in the early 1800s by Lamarck and Treviranus, and also prior to the appearance of terms such as ‘organism’ under the pen of Leibniz in the early 1700s, the question of ‘Life’, that is, the status of living organisms within the broader physico-mechanical universe, agitated different corners of the European intellectual scene. From modern Epicureanism to medical Newtonianism, from Stahlian animism to the discourse on the ‘animal economy’ in vitalist medicine, models of living being were constructed in opposition to ‘merely anatomical’, structural, mechanical models. It is therefore curious to turn to the ‘passion play’ of the Scientific Revolution – whether in its early, canonical definitions or its more recent, hybridized, reconstructed and expanded versions: from Koyré to Biagioli, from Merton to Shapin – and find there a conspicuous absence of worry over what status to grant living beings in a newly physicalized universe. Neither Harvey, nor Boyle, nor Locke (to name some likely candidates, the latter having studied with Willis and collaborated with Sydenham) ever ask what makes organisms unique, or conversely, what does not. In this paper I seek to establish how ‘Life’ became a source of contention in early modern thought, and how the Scientific Revolution missed the controversy.

Yuann, "Wittgenstein and Popper on Negation and Feyerabend’s Synthesis"

The difference between Wittgenstein and Popper regarding their philosophical stances has been a topic of interesting and even dramatic nature. This paper intends to defend the approach that once we withdraw from examining their difference and take what they shared commonly into account, the topic might receive a new light illuminating the development of scientific methodology. By taking Feyerabend’s pluralistic methodology into account, I intend to argue in this paper that Wittgenstein and Popper shared essentially the pluralistic position. This position can be traced by examining their approaches of the idea of negation. The idea occupies a substantial part of Tractatus and the influences exerted on Wittgenstein from analyzing this idea remain unchanged in Later Wittgenstein’s philosophy mainly represented by Philosophical Investigations. Similarly, by going through the idea of negation, Popper puts forward the most essential part of his scientific methodology, i.e. falsificationism. Having said so, Wittgenstein and Popper remain different not however in ideas, but in methodological decisions. Popper decides that it is methodologically crucial to hold the principle of demarcation by the possibility of falsifying theories through clashes between their statements and singular statements. To Popper, the decision will keep science on its track of being realistic and rational. Nothing like this would be necessary for Wittgenstein. This “apparent” difference dissolves once Feyerabend’s philosophy of pluralistic methodology is taken into account. Feyerabend’s criticism of Popper’s demarcation principle by annihilating difference between science and non-science vindicates his objection of making such a decision. Nor would Feyerabend be satisfied with Wittgenstein’s finitism if knowledge is to be limited within the extent of a specific form of life. By taking both criticisms into consideration, we attempt to conclude in this paper that an essential part of Feyerabend’s pluralistic methodology is actually a combination of Wittgenstein and Popper’s idea originating from their analysis of the idea of negation.

Zemplén -- see Demeter