Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)
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Reading Groups

Logic and Reasoning

This reading group focuses on psychological and epistemological problems concerning the relationship between formal logic and reasoning. From February 10 to April 6, the group will be dedicated to investigating the role (if any) that deductive logic plays in grounding epistemic norms of reasoning, as well as the explanatory role it plays (if any) in theories about how we reason. Here are some of the questions we are interested in:

  • Do we mostly reason in a logically sound way? If so, how do we do it (e.g., is it by following rules)?
  • Should we ground epistemic norms of reasoning on formal logic systems? Or is that too unrealistic/too demanding for human reasoners?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the main theories about how we reason in contemporary psychology?

The group meets once in a week throughout the semester, and it is open to anyone who is interested. For more information, please contact the organizer for the summer semester, Luis Rosa: Luis.Rosa@lrz.uni-muenchen.de.

Philosophy of Physics

This reading group focuses on the foundations of modern physics and addresses conceptual, formal, and philosophical problems. We discuss contemporary papers from mathematics, physics, and philosophy of science journals that often relate to research conducted by members of the group. In the summer semester 2015, we focus on the topic: Renormalization Group (RG) Methods.

RG methods have played an important role in the theory of fundamental interactions at the microscopic scale and the theory of continuous macroscopic phase transitions. Apart from their importance in physics, RG methods have been regarded as a crucial case to look at in the philosophical debates about reduction, emergence, explanation and the role of idealizations and models in physics. The reading group aims to explore these and other related debates by discussing physical and philosophical papers. The idea is to discuss RG methods not only as they are used in the theory of phase transitions but also in QFT and Quantum Gravity.

The group holds usually bi-weekly meetings throughout the academic term, and all are welcome. For further information, please contact the reading group convener for the summer semester 2015, Patricia Palacios.

The Philosophy of Physics group at the MCMP also hosts the mailing list philphysmunich. The list is a subscription-based electronic mailing list for the announcement of events relating to the foundations and philosophy of physics within Munich. In general, these will be talks, conferences, workshops or public lectures. The intended users of the list include physicists, philosophers and historians of physics. Speakers interested in giving talks at the MCMP related to philosophy of physics should contact Dr. Karim Thébault.

Philosophy of Physics

This reading group focuses on the foundations of modern physics and addresses conceptual, formal, and philosophical problems. We discuss contemporary papers from mathematics, physics, and philosophy of science journals that often relate to research conducted by members of the group. In the winter semester 2015/16, we focus on the topic: Inconsistency in Physics.

What role, if any role at all, does consistency play in physics? What is actually meant with consistency in physical theories and are there different kinds of inconsistencies?
The reading group aims to explore these and other related debates by discussing the literature on this topic while also having discussion sessions on some of the specific questions.

The group holds usually bi-weekly meetings throughout the academic term, and all are welcome. For further information, please contact the reading group convener for the winter semester 2016, Radin Dardashti: Radin.Dardashti@lrz.uni-muenchen.de.

Philosophy of Statistics

This reading group focuses on foundational questions and conceptual problems in statistics and probability theory. On occasion of Glenn Shafer’s visit to LMU in spring 2016 we will start with Shafer’s A Mathematical Theory of Evidence (1976) which we will be able to discuss with the author himself who will be giving a series of lectures on various topics ranging from interpretations of probability to causality between 14 March and 3 April, 2016.

The reading group is jointly organized by MCMP’s ERC project group Philosophy of Pharmacology and the Arbeitsgruppe Method(olog)ische Grundlagen der Statistik und ihre Anwendungen of LMU’s statistics department. The winter semester 2015/16 is dedicated to formal approaches towards the concept of evidence and on how to model inference with and learning from a given body of evidence. Among the questions we are interested in are the following:

  • Can there be absolute, objective evidence or does any concept of evidence need to be relativized (to subject, purpose, perspective, etc.) in order to capture scientific practice? If so, what are the components of such a relational concept?
  • How can concrete evidence and theoretical constructs (such as theories or hypotheses) be formally related in order to capture the meaning of confirmation and falsification?
  • And what formal concept should be adopted to compare two bodies of evidence as to their confirmatory strength?

The group meets weekly throughout the semester and is open to all. For further information, please contact the organizers for the winter semester 2015/16, Georg Schollmeyer and Dr. Roland Poellinger.

Reading Group on Biological Information

The goal of this reading group is to discuss recent work on biological information and signaling. It is divided in two main parts. In the first half we will look at different intepretations and uses of the notion of information in some areas of biology, such as genetics or animal comunication theory. In the second part, we will dicuss some papers offering a game-theoretic approach to information. We are specially interested in the notion of deceptive information, which has recently gathered a significant amount of attention.