Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)

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The members of the MCMP address a broad range of questions from different areas of philosophy. Here is a list of some of them.

In epistemology and social epistemology we ask questions such as:

  • How should one rationally change one’s beliefs or theories in the face of new evidence?
  • Is it possible at all to justify inferences that go beyond the data?
  • What does it mean to say that the evidence confirms a theory?
  • Is coherence truth-conducive? And: How does belief relate to probability?
  • When is it rational to disagree? How should groups deliberate?
  • And: How should we aggregate logically interconnected judgments?

In logic and the philosophy of language, we ask questions such as:

  • How should we deal with sentences that speak about their own truth value, validity, necessity, or probability?
  • Is truth grounded in the facts in a sense than can be made formally precise?
  • What is the meaning of logical symbols? Do conditionals have truth conditions?
  • When should we accept a conditional, and how should we change our beliefs when we learn a conditional?
  • What does formal semantics teach us about natural language?
  • And: Is logic normative?

In philosophy of science and philosophy of mathematics, we ask questions such as:

  • What is the meaning of theoretical terms in science?
  • Is there knowledge of causal relationships?
  • Which types of inter-theoretic relations are there in the various sciences?
  • Why should one reduce one theory to another theory?
  • What is the role of explanations in science and mathematics?
  • Is mathematics the science of structures, and if so, in what sense?

In philosophy of physics, we ask questions such as:

  • Should our physical theories involve notions such as locality and cause and effect?
  • What is the ontological import of information theoretic concepts?
  • What role do probabilities play in quantum theory?
  • What are the formal and philosophical foundations of quantization?
  • How should we understand the analogy between black-hole mechanics and thermodynamics?
  • What is background independence, should it be implemented in a theory of quantum gravity, and, if so, how?
  • Is physics at the Planck scale really without time?

In metaphysics, we ask questions such as:

  • What is distinctive of good criteria of identity?
  • How does abstraction work? Is it possible to logically reconstruct the notion of essentiality of properties?
  • What do modal logic and second-order logic tell us about metaphysical necessity and possibility?
  • What sense can we make of dispositions and propensities?
  • And: What is meant by ontological dependence?

In ethics and political philosophy, we ask questions such as:  

  • What is a reason for an action?
  • How can we make rational decisions when their outcomes depend on some other agents' decisions?
  • How can we deliberate rationally? Are there coherence criteria for practical rationality?
  • Do numbers count? How should one reason with norms?
  • And: How do norms emerge?

Finally, the members of the MCMP are interested in meta-philosophical issues (such as: 

  • Is it possible to support philosophical theories on empirical grounds?
  • What can we learn from the merits and shortcomings of early mathematical philosophy?),

and in the history of mathematical philosophy (esp. Carnap and Logical Empiricism; Richard Swineshead and the "calculators").

If you would like to know more about the research topics that are pursued at the MCMP, please read this document.