2  summer  schools
4  conferences
11  workshops
11  SOPhiA  graduate  conferences

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New Work on Induction and Abduction

(organised together with Oliver R. Scholz, Gerhard Schurz, Ansgar Seide, and Maria Sekatskaya)

Abstract
This workshop aimed at bringing together scholars from the field of inductive and abductive reasoning. It focussed on discussing the following four recent monographs: Igor Douven’s “The Art of Abduction” (2021), Ilkka Niiniluotto’s “Truth-Seeking by Abduction” (2018), John Norton’s “The Material Theory of Induction” (2021), and Gerhard Schurz’ “Hume’s Problem Solved” (2019). Each of these monographs was discussed in form of a comprehensive comment as well as replies and reflections by the authors. We also hosted specialist presentations from leading scholars in this field of research.

Details:

  • Date: September 29–30, 2021
  • Venue: University of Düsseldorf (Online)
  • Invited Speakers (12):Atocha Aliseda Llera (Mexico City), Alexandros Apostolidis (Athens), Stephen Biggs (Iowa), Elke Brendel (Bonn), Adam Carter (Glasgow), Igor Douven (Paris), Ilkka Niiniluoto (Helsinki), John Norton (Pittsburgh), Stathis Psillos (Athens), Chrysovalantis Stergiou (Athens), Paul Thorn (Duesseldorf), Jessica Wilson (Toronto)
  • Participants (#): about 50
  • Web: http://dclps.phil.hhu.de/inab/

RREM.2021: Rhine-Ruhr Epistemology Meeting 2021

(organised together with Peter Brössel and Anna-Maria Eder)

Abstract
This was the inaugural meeting of the Rhine-Ruhr Epistemology Group. Our members work on a variety of topics in descriptive and normative, individual and social, formal and non-formal, and a priori and experimental epistemology. The group aims at connecting epistemologists, bridging different topics and methods in epistemology, and fostering research in epistemology in general.

Details:

  • Date: July 22–23, 2021
  • Venue: University of Cologne (Online)
  • Speakers (10): Thomas Grundmann (Cologne), Joachim Horvath (Bochum), Luis Rosa (Cologne), Eva Schmidt (Dortmund), Lukas Schwengerer (Duisburg-Essen), Dunja Šešelja (Eindhoven), Erik Stei (Utrecht and Bonn), Christian Straßer (Bochum), Corina Strößner (Bochum), Paul Thorn (Düsseldorf)
  • Participants (#): about 20
  • Web: http://dclps.phil.hhu.de/rrepistemology/rrem2021/

Spring School and Workshop: Laws and Explanations in Metaphysics and Science

(Spring school and Workshop organised together with Siegfried Jaag, Markus Schrenk, and Maria Sekatskaya)

Abstract
In recent metaphysics, there has been a great interest in the metaphysical notion of grounding, which links metaphysics and explanation in a novel way. Grounding is claimed to be the common element in various “in-virtue-of” claims such as “I am in pain in virtue of certain activation-patterns of my nervous system (c-fibre firing).”

In philosophy of science, scientific, i.e., causal and nomological explanation has long been the focus of reflection.

This spring school focusses on the relation between metaphysical grounding on the one hand and scientific explanation on the other.

In particular, we want to ask questions such as what the characteristic features of these two notions of explanation are, whether grounding explanations in metaphysics can play an analogous role to causal or nomological explanations in the sciences, and whether metaphysical grounding and scientific explanations can be treated in a unified framework.

Details:

  • Date: March 24–26, 2021
  • Venue: University of Düsseldorf (Online)
  • Instructors/Speakers (4): Anna-Sofia Maurin (Gothenburg), Kristie Miller (Sydney), Jonathan Schaffer (Rutgers), Naomi Thompson (Southampton)
  • Participants (#): about 80
  • Web: http://dclps.phil.hhu.de/lems/

Workshop: Thinking About the Cultural Evolution of Thinking

(Workshop organised together with Karim Baraghith)

Abstract
Over the past decades, theories of cultural evolution gained more and more attention in the special sciences and in philosophy of science. Of particular interest is the mutual interaction and connection between culture and cognition. Culture has a huge impact on how (and what) we think and core aspects of thinking (such as memory, causal understanding, a theory of mind, rationality and other ‘cognitive gadgets’) are responsible for the products of cultural evolution.

Both share a Darwinian explanatory framework at their core, involving variation, selection, and reproduction/transmission. However, biological and cultural evolution differ in many important aspects and precise mechanisms – and many of these differences originate in the fact that we face ‘thinkers’ and more or less rational agents in cultural evolution. For example, cultural selection is subject to a whole range of ‘biases’ that have no analogue in biological evolution and are mostly grounded in cognitive capacities of the cultural agents.

While it is the aim of the special sciences to empirically explore this vast field of possible links between culture and thinking, social learning and cognition, it is the aim of philosophy of science to conceptually structure and represent this growing body of research. This workshop aims at bringing together scholars of both fields to inspire dialogue and future collaborations.

Details:

  • Date: January 22, 2021
  • Venue: University of Düsseldorf (Online)
  • Invited Speakers (5): Azita Chellappoo (Bochum), Cecilia Heyes (Oxford), Larissa Mendoza Straffon (Bergen), Samir Okasha (Bristol), Mason Youngblood (New York)
  • Participants (#): about 100
  • Web: http://dclps.phil.hhu.de/tacet/

Summer School: Philosophical Engineering

(Summer school organiser)

Abstract
Contemporary analytic philosophy makes heavy use of formal methods. However, most of the time people engaged in such a formal endeavour are highly specialised, for which reason they quite often focus on one particular branch of formal philosophy. This is also reflected in contemporary philosophical curricula, which typically offer highly specialised courses on particular formal methods, but only rarely cover a broad range of them; and if they do, then these interdisciplinary methods are typically applied to a very particular subject only. This summer school aims at providing an introductory overview of the main methods applied in formal philosophy or philosophical engineering: logical, probabilistic, and game-theoretical devising, model building, programming and simulating, and employing digital resources in the broader realm of digital humanities. By bringing together international experts in these fields, participants will gain competencies in applying a broad range of formal methods in their field of interest; for this purpose, each of the mentioned topics is covered by professional instructions, exercises, interactive group work, and the discussion of results by the participants. Furthermore, participants will be provided with opportunities to independently deepen their competencies in a particular topic of interest following completion of the course.

Details:

  • Date: August 25–31, 2019
  • Venue: University of Düsseldorf
  • Instructors (6): Eckhart Arnold (Munich), Elke Brendel (Bonn), Filippo Ferrari (Bonn), Simon Huttegger (Irvine), Corina Strößner (Düsseldorf), Leander Vignero (Leuven)
  • Participants (#): about 35
  • Web: http://dclps.phil.hhu.de/engineering/

Conference: GWP.2019

(PC: Member of the programme committee)

Abstract
The GWP (German Society for Philosophy of Science) aims to organize an international conference devoted to all fields of philosophy of science every three years. The third triannual international conference of the GWP, GWP.2019, took place at the University of Cologne.

Details:

  • Date: February 25–27, 2019
  • Venue: University of Cologne
  • Keynote Speakers (6): Martin Carrier (Bielefeld), Kärin Nickelsen (Munich), Erik J. Olsson (Lund), Michael Strevens (NYU), C. Kenneth Waters (Calgary), Katherine Hawley (St. Andrews)
  • Participants (#): about 150
  • Conference Report in KRITERION – Journal of Philosophy
  • Web: http://gwp2019.wissphil.de

Workshop: The Possibility of Metaphysics. Between Inductive, Analytic, and Transcendental Arguments

(Workshop organised together with Kristina Engelhard and Alexander Gebharter)

Abstract
In the last century, metaphysics in the traditional sense became subject of radical scepticism. One strategy to save metaphysics from sceptical doubts is bringing metaphysical investigation closer to scientific practice. This workshop is intended to explore the Kantian question whether metaphysics is possible as a “science”, and if so, whether it can or should be conducted on the basis of scientific methods and findings or whether it can still be justified as an aprioristic enterprise. A Kantian strategy to counter scepticism is the use of transcendental arguments. Questions of particular interest are – among others – the following ones: How can metaphysics be justified? Is metaphysics an aprioristic discipline or should it be pursued on the basis of scientific findings or argumentative methods used in the sciences such as induction and abduction? How do transcendental arguments relate to inferences made in the sciences? What is their relevance for modern metaphysical approaches such as naturalised metaphysics or the Canberra plan? Which role do empirical data and empirical methods play in contemporary metaphysics and can their use in metaphysics be justified?

Details:

  • Date: January 31–February 1, 2019
  • Venue: University of Düsseldorf
  • Invited Speakers (8): Sophie Allen (Keele), Matti Eklund (Uppsala), Brigitte Falkenburg (Dortmund), Cord Friebe (Siegen), Gabriele Gava (Frankfurt), Thomas Hofweber (North Carolina), Holger Lyre (Magdeburg), Barbara Vetter (FU Berlin)
  • Participants (#): about 20
  • Workshop Report in Metaphysica
  • Web: http://dclps.phil.hhu.de/possmet/

Workshop: Abduction and Modelling in Metaphysics

(Workshop organised together with Siegfried Jaag, Markus Schrenk, and Gerhard Schurz)

Abstract
Methodological questions have been in the focus of many recent philosophical debates. The role of thought experiments, the method of cases, intuitions, etc. has been studied intensively within metaphilosophy. This reflective attitude is often considered to be a characteristic feature of philosophical investigation and, hence, it is no surprise that occasionally it results in some kind of self-application. In metaphysics, recent severe criticism of traditional investigations led to quite versatile metametaphysical stances: There is the radical sceptical approach according to which metaphysical studies better dissolve in the corresponding branches of science rather than being performed in an encapsulated way; and there is the other end of the spectrum according to which metaphysics is a self-standing endeavour to be conducted in an a priori fashion. In between are more moderate stances proposing that metaphysical investigation ought to employ both, scientific findings and methods on the one hand, and conceptual analysis and methods of traditional metaphysics on the other. Inductive metaphysics, for example, aims at applying the abductive and modelling methodology of science within metaphysical investigation. Such an approach, however, raises several questions: What does the abductive methodology exactly consist in and what is its epistemic rationale? How are metaphysical models to be characterised and evaluated and what constitutes metaphysical data and evidence? What distinguishes such an inductive metaphysical approach from naturalising metaphysics? This workshop aims at exploring some of these and related questions regarding the theoretical presuppositions of metaphysical methodology.

Details:

  • Date: December 6–7, 2018
  • Venue: University of Düsseldorf
  • Invited Speakers (7): Helen Beebee (Manchester), Stephen Biggs (Iowa), Igor Douven (CNRS, Paris), Tim Maudlin (NYU), Ilkka Niiniluoto (Helsinki), Meghan Sullivan (Notre Dame), Timothy Williamson (Oxford)
  • Participants (#): about 35
  • Workshop Report in The Reasoner
  • Web: http://dclps.phil.hhu.de/abdmet/

Workshop: Belief Aggregation and Epistemic Diversity in Science

(Workshop organised together with Gerhard Schurz)

Abstract
Individuals acting within a group very often try to come up with a joint decision. Sometimes they do so by first deliberating, sometimes no process of deliberation is implemented. Sometimes they aggregate by voting procedures, sometimes they apply principles of justice etc. Formal problems of such aggregations are well known, spanning from impossibility results to problems of intuitively plausible constraints that lead to the characterization of implausible aggregation rules. The underlying assumption of aggregation, namely that prima facie groups of individual beliefs should be amalgamated to a single belief, a group belief, is not tackled very often. However, there is a dialectic tension between epistemic diversity and belief aggregation. On the one side, epistemic diversity may have positive effects, e.g. wise-crowd effects or Condorcet effects, which exploit the fact that the average belief of a group may have a significantly higher reliability than the individual beliefs. On the other side this process of aggregation decreases epistemic diversity within a group and thus undermines the epistemic benefits of these effects, especially within a dynamical perspective. In this colloquium questions concerning the interrelation between diversity of beliefs and belief aggregation as well as its application in different fields of research are discussed.

Details:

  • Date: September 18, 2018
  • Venue: GAP.10, University of Cologne
  • Invited Speakers and Commentators (5): Christian List (LSE, UK), Stephan Hartmann (MCMP, Munich), Jan-Willem Romeijn (Groningen), Vlasta Sikimic (Belgrade), Corina Strößner (Düsseldorf)
  • Participants (#): about 25

Conference: The Generalized Theory of Evolution

(Conference organised together with Karim Baraghith, Gerhard Schurz, and Corina Strößner)

Abstract
For several decades now, experts in several fields of the science of human nature, society and culture have been using evolutionary models to explain phenomena specific to their domains. This led to the prominent idea, that the historical development of human culture in all or many of its facets ought to be described as a Darwinian process that is not based on genes but still driven by the principles of variation, selection and reproduction. At the beginning of the 21st century, a generalized theory of evolution seems to appear as an interdisciplinary theoretical structure finding its place between likewise interdisciplinary frameworks such as system theory or action theory. Subdisciplines like evolutionary psychology, evolutionary game theory, evolutionary epistemology and the theory of a cultural evolution in general seem to provide a set of models and explanatory tools that ultimately can be seen as varieties of one and the same basic theoretical structure: a generalized theory of evolution.

The generalization of the theory of evolution has not only had emphatic supporters, but has also been sharply critizised. In either case, various interesting questions can be raised within the framework. Is a Darwinian theory of cultural evolution a proper candidate to synthesize the social sciences? What is the surplus value of evolutionary explanations? More specifically, e.g., can language, meaning and content be explained in terms of evolutionary signaling games of coordination? Which facets of biological evolutionary systems can be applied to cultural evolutionary systems and where do they differ in relevant aspects? For example, are there any, and if, what is the methodological and ontological status of replicators in the cultural realm?

The conference aimed to gather answers to some of these frequently raised questions and explored recent attempts to move beyond mere qualitative theorizing in the domain of generalized evolutionary systems. By bringing together researchers with a common interest but with different backgrounds and toolboxes, we inspired interdisciplinary discussions and new collaborations.

Details:

Conference: GWP.2016

(PC+LOC: Member of the programme committee and the local organising committee)

Abstract
The GWP (German Society for Philosophy of Science) aims to organize an international conference devoted to all fields of philosophy of science every three years. The second triannual international conference of the GWP, GWP.2016, took place at the University of Düsseldorf.

Details:

Conference: EPSA15

(LOC: Member of the local organising committee)

Abstract
EPSA15 was hosted by the Duesseldorf Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science (DCLPS) at Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf, Germany. It took place from September 23 to 26, 2015.

The conference featured contributed papers and symposia covering all subfields of the philosophy of science and bring together a large number of philosophers of science from Europe and overseas. We are also welcoming philosophically minded scientists, e.g. as participants in a symposium.

Details:

Workshop: Risk Assessment and Values in Science

(Workshop organiser)

Abstract
It is an important task of science to provide means and information for applying decision making procedures to everyday life. A controversially discussed sub-task within this area consists in providing value judgements that allow one, e.g., to figure out maximal expected utilities or an adequate way of drawing qualitative conclusions from statistical tests for such decisions. This debate about the permissiveness of or even a duty for value judgements in science has lasted for more than a century now and is, due to recently rekindled proposals for the value-ladenness of science, still unsettled. The main aims of this workshop are …
* … to provide a historical and systematic overview of the value-neutrality and value-ladenness problem,
* … to relate the results to concrete constraints of risk assessment, and
* … to apply the latter results to intensively discussed decisions under risk in areas of public interest as, e.g., climate-, food- and geosciences as well as medicine.

Details:

  • Date: September 2, 2015
  • Venue: University of Salzburg
  • Invited Speakers (5): Alexander Christian (Düsseldorf), Giovanna Cultrera (Rome), Wolfgang Kneifel (Vienna), Gerhard Schurz (Düsseldorf), Charlotte Werndl (Salzburg)
  • Participants (#): about 20
  • Web: http://dclps.phil.hhu.de/risk/

Workshop: Social Epistemology and Joint Action in Science

(Workshop organiser)

Abstract
Already from the beginning on as formal disciplines, the demarcation between formal philosophy of science and formal epistemology was never very strict. Although the former was and is mainly concerned with the construction, justification, and growth of scientific knowledge, whereby the latter deals more generally with problems settled around the broad notion of knowledge, both disciplines aim at normative models of rational belief and by this meet very often on the same formal grounds. This linkage can also be observed easily by considering current philosophy of science conferences’ agendas, where especially the number of contributions out of social epistemology is heavily increasing. Within this workshop some of the links between these two disciplines are considered in detail and discussed to some extent.

Details:

  • Date: September 4, 2014
  • Venue: University of Salzburg
  • Invited Speakers (4): Peter Brössel (Bochum), Anna-Maria Eder (Konstanz), Cédric Paternotte (MCMP, Munich), Paul Thorn (Düsseldorf)
  • Participants (#): about 25

Workshop: Analytic Philosophy of Religion II

(Workshop organiser)

Abstract
The workshop is about topics of analytic philosophy of religion, particularly on meta-theoretical questions of philosophy of religion.

Details:

  • Date: September 13, 2012
  • Venue: University of Salzburg
  • Invited Speakers (3): Adam Green (Innsbruck), Patrick Todd (Innsbruck), Paul Weingartner (Salzburg)
  • Participants (#): about 25

Workshop: Analytic Philosophy of Religion I

(Workshop organiser)

Abstract
The workshop is about topics of analytic philosophy of religion, particularly on meta-theoretical questions of philosophy of religion.

Details:

  • Date: September 8, 2011
  • Venue: University of Salzburg
  • Invited Speakers (3): Norbert Hoerster (Mainz) Reinhard Kleinknecht (Salzburg), Clemes Sedmak (London)
  • Participants (#): about 25

Conferences: SOPhiA 2010–2021

(PC+LOC: Member of the programme committee and the local organising committee)

Abstract
In recent years the opportunities for keeping track of science-business for students of philosophy has increased. The rising number of essay competitions and graduate conferences support this claim. The Salzburg Conference for Young Analytic Philosophy is joining the midst of these events. The title of the conference already reveals some details about the organizers, the contributors and the conference’s guiding principles. To avoid misunderstandings we want to add the following remarks: (i) Because of the high number of international participants, Salzburg stands for the location of the conference only, not for the nationality of its participants. (ii) One of the conference’s distinctive feature compared to similar events is that we do not make any constraints regarding the topic of presentations. (iii) On the contrary, every philosophical discipline — as long as it is carried out in an analytic way — has its place at SOPhiA.
By combining (ii) and (iii) we want to demonstrate, in contrast to some voices which claim that Analytic Philosophy constrains our intellectual life, that all traditional topics can be advantageously examined in the framework of Analytic Philosophy. It is our utmost concern to unite analytic philosophers from all around the world (cf. (i)). This is also in the sense of Carnap, who claims in his early work The Logical Structure of the World:

The new type of philosophy has arisen in close contact with the work of the special sciences, especially mathematics and physics. Consequently they have taken the strict and responsible orientation of the scientific investigator as their guideline for philosophical work, while the attitude of the traditional philosopher is more like that of a poet. This new attitude not only changes the style of thinking but also the type of problem that is posed. The individual no longer undertakes to erect in one bold stroke an entire system of philosophy. Rather, each works at his special place within the one unified science.

Details:

  • Date: September, 2010–2021
  • Venue: University of Salzburg
  • Keynote Speakers:
    • SOPhiA 2021: Marian David (Graz), Herlinde Pauer-Studer (Vienna), Markus Schrenk (Düsseldorf)
    • SOPhiA 2019: Hilary Greaves (Oxford), Philip Kitcher (Columbia), Hannes Leitgeb (MCMP, Munich)
    • SOPhiA 2018: Elisa Aaltola (Turku), Helen Beebee (Manchester), Wolfgang Künne (Hamburg)
    • SOPhiA 2017: Johannes Brandl (Salzburg), Christian List (LSE), Michela Massimi (Edinburgh), Stathis Psillos (Athens)
    • SOPhiA 2016: Jeremy Butterfield (Cambridge), Dorothy Edgington (Oxford), Julien Murzi (Salzburg), Sylvia Wenmackers (Leuven)
    • SOPhiA 2015: Christopher Gauker (Salzburg), Friederike Moltmann (CNRS, Paris), Sonja Smets (Amsterdam), Ulla Wessels (Saarland University)
    • SOPhiA 2014: Elke Brendel (Bonn), Winfried Löffler (Innsbruck),
      Jeanne Peijnenburg (Groningen), Benjamin Schnieder (Hamburg)
    • SOPhiA 2013: Catarina Dutilh-Novaes (Groningen), Ole T. Hjortland (MCMP, Munich), Simon M. Huttegger (Irvine), Martin Kusch (Vienna)
    • SOPhiA 2012: Stephan Hartmann (Tilburg), Jeffrey Ketland (MCMP, Munich), Charlotte Werndl (LSE)
    • SOPhiA 2011:  Carlos Ulises Moulines (Munich), Hans Rott (Regensburg), Gerhard Schurz (Düsseldorf)
    • SOPhiA 2010: Alexander Hieke (Salzburg), Hannes Leitgeb (MCMP, Munich), Edgar Morscher (Salzburg)
  • Participants (#): about 120
  • Conference Reports:
  • Web: http://www.sophia-conference.org/











Workshop: Moderner Atheismus (New Atheism)

(Workshop organised together with Albert J.J. Anglberger, Stefan H. Gugerell, and Paul Weingartner)

Abstract
Unter dem Titel „Moderner Atheismus – kritisch und wissenschaftlich betrachtet“ fand vom 13.-14.11.08 ein Forschungsgespräch des Instituts für Wissenschaftstheorie (Forschungsbereich: Fides et Ratio) statt. Löffler (Phil., Innsbr.) untersuchte Argumentationstrukturen früherer Atheisten und behauptete, dass neue Atheisten sich aller dieser bedienen. Kreiner (Theol., Münch.) versuchte zu zeigen, dass die neuen Atheisten primär die real existierende Religion, weniger die theoretische Theologie kritisieren. Wickler (MPI, Seewiesen) versuchte zu zeigen, dass die theol. Rede von der Schöpfung u.a. im Katechismus im Widerspruch zur wirklichen Schöpfung steht. Achtner (Theol., Giessen) versuchte die Evolutionstheorie mit biblischem Denken durch moderne exegetische Deutung zu verbinden. Nieznanski (Phil., Warschau) zeigte mit logischen Mitteln, dass bei Annahme des Satzes vom zureichenden Grund die Existenz eines immateriellen und notwendigen Seienden beweisbar ist. Czermak (Math., Salzb.) befasste sich mit dem Gottesbeweis Gödels, in dem Gott als die Summe aller positiven Eigenschaften bezeichnet wird. Weingartner (Phil., Salzb.) zeigte, dass von Zufall im absoluten Sinn nicht gesprochen werden kann, da man Zufall immer nur relativ zu Ordnungsstrukturen definieren kann. Fischer (Wissenschaftsgesch., Konstanz) plädierte für eine stärkere Zusammenführung von Religion und Wissenschaft und wies auf die religiösen Erlebnisse von Wissenschaftlern beim Staunen über die Natur hin. Fahr (Astrophysik, Bonn) behauptete, dass der Kosmos kein gottloser Kosmos sei, da Gott für die Natur und unsere Verständnisfähigkeit der Natur verantwortlich sei.

Details:

  • Date: November 13–14, 2008
  • Venue: University of Salzburg
  • Invited Speakers (8): Wolfgang Achtner (Giessen), Johannes Czermak (Salzburg), Hans Jörg Fahr (Bonn), Ernst Peter Fischer (Konstanz), Armin Kreiner (Munich), Winfried Löffler (Innsbruck), Eduard Nieznanski (Warschau), Wolfgang Wickler (MPI Seewiesen)
  • Participants (#): about 30
  • Proceedings: https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110319736