Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)

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Models and Decisions (MuST Conference) (10-12 April 2013)


Idea and Motivation

Mathematical and computational models are central to decision-making in a wide-variety of contexts in science and policy: They are used to assess the risk of large investments, to evaluate the merits of alternative medical therapies, and are often key in decisions on international policies – climate policy being one of the most prominent examples. In many of these cases, they assist in drawing conclusions from complex assumptions. While the value of these models is undisputed, their increasingly widespread use raises several philosophical questions: What makes scientific models so important? In which way do they describe, or even explain their target systems? What makes models so reliable? And: What are the imports, and the limits, of using models in policy making?

This conference will bring together philosophers of science, economists, statisticians and policy makers to discuss these and related questions. Experts from a variety of field will exchange first-hand experience and insights in order to identify the assets and the pitfalls of model-based decision-making. The conference will also address and evaluate the increasing role of model-based research in scientific practice, both from a practical and from a philosophical point of view.

Papers are welcomed from researchers across philosophy and science, including papers emphasizing the development of models (or the use of models for decision-making) through the history of their respective disciplines.

The Munich-Sydney-Tilburg Conference Series

This series of annual conferences is a joint undertaking between the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science (SCFS), the Tilburg Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science (TiLPS) and, since 2012, the MCMP. For a list of previous conferences, click here.


Wednesday, 10 April

08:45 Registration and Coffee Reception (Cafeteria near Room V002)
09:15 Stephan Hartmann: Welcome
Invited Session 1 – Chair: Stephan Hartmann (Room V002)
09:30 Luc Bovens: Evaluating Risky Prospects: The Distribution View
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10:45 Coffee Break
Contributed Session 1 – Chair: Roland Poellinger (Room V002) Contributed Session 2 – Chair: Martin Rechenauer (Room VU107)
11:00 Jason Konek: Accuracy Without Luck (Graduate Paper Award) Raphael van Riel: Truth According to a Model
11:45 Bengt Hansson: General Probabilistic Updating Wolfgang Pietsch: Big Data: Is More Different?
12:30 Lunch Break
Contributed Session 3 – Chair: Ulrike Hahn (Room V002) Contributed Session 4 – Chair: Bengt Hansson (Room VU107)
14:00 Wes Anderson: Population Viability Analysis with Explicit Causal Models? Franz Dietrich: Reasons for Choice and the Problem of Individuating the Alternatives
14:45 Kevin Korb: A Bayesian Approach to Evaluating Computer Simulations Dominik Klein and Eric Pacuit: Expressive Voting: Modeling a Voter's Decision to Vote
15:30 Roland Poellinger: Unboxing the Concepts in Newcomb’s Paradox: Causation, Prediction, Decision in Causal Knowledge Patterns Peter Stone and Koji Kagotani: Optimal Committee Performance: Size versus Diversity
16:15 Coffee Break
Invited Session 2 – Chair: Roland Poellinger (Room V002)
16:45 Michael Strevens: Idealization, Prediction, Difference-Making
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18:00 Break
Evening Lecture at Historisches Kolleg (Kaulbachstr. 15) – Introduction: Kärin Nickelsen
19:00 Evening Lecture by Julian Nida-Rümelin: Cooperation and (Structural) Rationality
20:00 Dinner Reception

Thursday, 11 April

09:00 Coffee Reception
Invited Session 3 – Chair: Mark Colyvan (Room V002)
09:30 Ulrike Hahn: Modelling Human Decision Making: Some Puzzles
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10:45 Coffee Break
Contributed Session 5 – Chair: Dominik Klein (Room V002) Contributed Session 6 – Chair: Olivier Roy (Room VU107)
11:00  Mark Colyvan: Value of Information Models and Data Collection in Conservation Biology Brad Armendt: Imprecise Belief and What's at Stake
11:45  Koray Karaca: Modeling Data-Acquisition in Experimentation: The Case of the ATLAS Experiment Alistair Isaac: Uncertainty about Uncertainties: A Plea for Integrated Subjectivism
12:30  Lunch Break
Contributed Session 7 – Chair: Itzhak Gilboa (Room V002) Contributed Session 8 – Chair: Brad Armendt (Room VU107)
14:00 Michael Kuhn: Models in Engineering: Design Tools Jeff Barrett: Description and the Problem of Priors
14:45  Szu-Ting Chen: Representation as a Process of Model-Building Brian Hill: Confidence in Beliefs and Decision Making
15:30 Mariam Thalos: Expectational v. Instrumental Reasoning: Why Statistics Matter Francesca Toni, Robert Craven and Xiuyi Fan: Transparent Rational Decisions by Argumentation
16:15 Coffee Break
Invited Session 4 – Chair: Olivier Roy (Room V002)
16:45 Itzhak Gilboa: Rationality and the Bayesian Paradigm
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18:00 Break
19:00  Joint Dinner (Dutch Treat) at Augustiner Bräustuben (Landsberger Straße 19)

Friday, 12 April

09:00 Coffee Reception
Invited Session 5 – Chair: Jan Sprenger (Room V002)
09:30  Claudia Tebaldi: Making Sense of Multiple Climate Models' Projections
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10:45  Coffee Break
Contributed Session 9 – Chair: Claudia Tebaldi (Room V002) Contributed Session 10 – Chair: Matteo Colombo (Room VU107)
11:00  Erich Kummerfeld and David Danks: Model Selection, Decision Making, and Normative Pluralism: Theory and Climate Science Application Ekaterina Svetlova: Financial Models as Decision-Making Tools
11:45  Mathias Frisch: Modeling Climate Policies: A Critical Look at Integrated Assessment Models Carlo Martini: Modeling Expertise in Economics
12:30  Lunch Break
Contributed Session 11 – Chair: Michael Strevens (Room V002) Contributed Session 12 – Chair: Carlo Martini (Room VU107)
14:00  Susan G. Sterrett: Models of Interventions Frederik Herzberg: Aggregation Prior to Preference Formation: How to Rationally Aggregate Probabilities
14:45  David Danks, Stephen Fancsali and Richard Scheines: Constructing Variables for Causal vs. Predictive Inference Jennifer Jhun: Modeling Across Scales and Microeconomics
15:30 Coffee Break
Contributed Session 13 – Chair: Frederik Herzberg (Room V002) Contributed Session 14 – Chair: David Danks (Room VU107)
16:00 Roger Stanev: Data and Safety Monitoring Board and the Ratio Decidendi of the Trial Matteo Colombo: For a Few Neurons More… Tractability and Neurally-Informed Economic Modelling
16:45  Jan Sprenger: Could Popper have been a Bayesian? On the Falsification of Statistical Hypotheses.

Sam Sanders: On Models, Continuity and Infinitesimals


The conference is supported by the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP), Tilburg Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science (TiLPS) and the Sydney Center for the Foundation of Science (SCFS). The conference is also generously supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation through a Humboldt Professorship.