Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)

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Remembering Patrick Suppes

LMU Munich, 9 September 2015


Patrick Suppes (1922-2014) was a true polymath. The list of scientific disciplines to which he significantly contributed ranges from philosophy (esp. the philosophy of science) and logic to psychology (esp. learning and measurement theory), computer science, physics, and neuroscience. After graduating from New York’s Columbia University in 1950, where he had worked under the supervision of Ernest Nagel, Suppes spent the next 64 years at Stanford University. During this time, he published 34 books, including the monumental Representation and Invariance in Scientific Structures, which won the Lakatos Award in 2002, as well as hundreds of papers. Suppes’ research has always been driven by a special combination of empiricism and pragmatism. He has always insisted on taking details seriously, and has always had an eye on practical applications. For example, in 1967, he founded the Computer Curriculum Corporation. This company was the first to focus on interactive computer-assisted learning in the classroom. Suppes also founded and, from 1990 to 2010, directed Stanford’s Education Program for Gifted Youth, which has been a huge success. For the last 15 years his main focus was running the Suppes Bain Lab research program, which focused on three main areas: (I) The continued study of language in the brain, (II) the psychological and neural interactions of couples in psychotherapy, in music experiments, and in neural economic games and (III) continual theoretical research on the applications of weakly coupled phase oscillators, as models of brain computations to current experiments. The goal of this event is to celebrate the life and work of Patrick Suppes, who has had close ties to LMU Munich for many years. Attendance is free and open to everyone.

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