Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)

Breadcrumb Navigation


Bridges 2014: Philosophical Exchange on Inter-Theoretical Relations (New York, September 2 - 3, 2014)


“Bridges 2014″ will take place in the German House, New York City, on 2 and 3 September, 2014. The 2-day trans-continental meeting in mathematical philosophy will focus on inter-theoretical relations thereby connecting form and content of this philosophical exchange.

Idea and Motivation

We use theories to explain, to predict and to instruct, to talk about our world and order the objects therein. Different theories deliberately emphasize different aspects of an object, purposefully utilize different formal methods, and necessarily confine their attention to a distinct field of interest. The desire to enlarge knowledge by combining two theories presents a research community with the task of building bridges between the structures and theoretical entities on both sides. Especially if no background theory is available as yet, this becomes a question of principle and of philosophical groundwork: If there are any – what are the inter-theoretical relations to look like? Will a unified theory possibly adjudicate between monist and dualist positions? Under what circumstances will partial translations suffice? Can the ontological status of inter-theoretical relations inform us about inter-object relations in the world? Our spectrum of interest includes: reduction and emergence, mechanistic links between causal theories, belief vs. probability, mind and brain, relations between formal and informal accounts in the special sciences, cognition and the outer world.


This LMU-organized event is to bridge ideas and bring together philosophers from North America and from the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy in the German House, New York City. Questions will be discussed in tandem talks on the same topic.


Tuesday, 2 September

10:15 - 10:30 Welcome
10:30 - 12:30 Alvin I. Goldman (Rutgers) & Stephan Hartmann (MCMP/LMU):
Bridging the Gap between Informal and Formal Social Epistemology (view abstracts and slides)
12:30 - 14.00 Lunch Break
14:00 - 15:30 Tim Maudlin (NYU) & Sebastian Lutz (MCMP/LMU):
Reduction and the Ontology of Physical Theories
15:30 - 16:00 Coffee Lounge
16:00 - 17:30 Lucas Champollion (NYU) & Kristina Liefke (MCMP/LMU):
Inter-Theoretical Relations in Linguistics (view abstracts)


18:30 - 20:00 Climbing Ladders, Building Bridges: Mathematical Philosophy at Work
The German Center for Research and Innovation (GCRI) invites you to an
Evening Lecture by Stephan Hartmann (MCMP/LMU) on Mathematical Philosophy, Science, and Public Policy (view abstract and slides)

Introduction and Moderation: Branden Fitelson (Rutgers)
Welcome: Andrea Adam-Moore (Executive Director, German Universities Alliance)
20:00 Evening Reception

Wednesday, 3 September

10:30 - 12:30 Supported by Goethe-Institut New York:
David Chalmers (NYU) & Thomas Meier (MCMP/LMU)
Structural Realism
12:30 - 14:00 Lunch Break
14:00 - 15:30 Michael Strevens (NYU) & Roland Poellinger (MCMP/LMU)
Unifying Causal and Non-Causal Knowledge
15:30 - 16:00 Coffee Lounge
16:00 - 17:30 Branden Fitelson (Rutgers) & Hannes Leitgeb (MCMP/LMU)
Belief vs Probability
17:30 Closing Words


Travel Diary

Follow our preparations: Check out the Bridges event blog at to sneak a peek behind the scenes of our project!

Video Recordings

The MCMP regularly records lectures and talks and makes them publicly available on iTunes U (find our media archive on the MCMP website). All Bridges talks have been recorded by the MCMP media team, as well. If you want to bookmark or share all Bridges videos from one place, you will find the whole collection through LMUcast Search here. Access the single recordings online here (in chronological order):


Find all the official pictures from the evening event online in the GCRI event gallery.


Bridges 2014 is made possible and supported by