Abstracts

Author(s) Title Abstract
Aaron Spink The Two Scientific Methods of the Discourse on Method In this essay I argue that the most common strategy for interpreting the connection between Descartes’ method in the Discourse on Method and the examples appended to that work is misguided. [. . .]
Amirouche Moktefi, Ahti Veikko Pietarinen Pragmatism and Mathematical Logic, 1900-1914 In a paper first published in Leonardo (February 1906) and reprinted in The Monist next to Peirce’s Prolegomena (October 1906), Vailati identified several “pragmatic characteristics” of mathematical logic. [. . .]
Alan Richardson The Discipline of History and the History of Disciplines: “The Left Vienna Circle” Scholarship and Disciplinary History Sarah Richardson (2009a, 2009b) offered both historical counter-evidence to and historiographical criticism of what she terms “Left Vienna Circle scholarship” (henceforth, LVCS), which she associates with the work of Don Howard, Thomas Uebel, and Alan Richardson. [. . .]
Alistair Isaac Dimensions of Understanding: Constructing Perceptual Qualities through Low-Dimensional Measurement In the first decades of the 20th century, a tension emerged between three competing constraints on psychophysical research: 1. the demand for increased empirical precision; 2. a theoretical commitment to decomposing complex sensations into primitive components; and 3. [. . .]
Alexander Douglas Spinozist Psychology and the French Enlightenment Spinoza’s influence on the Enlightenment has been the subject of recent interest, largely kindled by the work of Jonathan Israel. Israel proposes that Spinoza provided the intellectual foundation for a pan-European movement promoting democracy and egalitarianism: the ‘Radical Enlightenment’. [. . .]
Alexander Klein Hypothetical Reasoning and “The Will to Believe” “The Will to Believe” is supposed to have been a flashpoint in a dispute between William James and Charles Sanders Peirce over the epistemic importance of emotion (e.g., Misak 2013, 60). [. . .]
Alison Peterman The Attribute-Neutral Foundations of Spinoza’s Physics The most fundamental principles of Cartesian physics make reference to extension and motion. These have no counterparts in minds and it seems we cannot learn anything about minds by considering them. [. . .]
Andrea Sangiacomo The metaphysics of determination, from Descartes to Spinoz

One of the major features of Spinoza’s Ethics is a particular conception of the nature of finite things, which are there considered not only as modifications of an infinite and unique substance, but also as endowed with active powers to operate in the world.

[. . .]
Andrew Platt Causal Powers in Cartesian Physics: Descartes’ Laws of Nature in La Forge and Clauberg Gary Hatfield (1979) and Daniel Garber (1993) have argued that Descartes’ physics entails that mere bodies are intrinsically passive, and thus do not have any active causal powers or any intrinsic motive force. [. . .]
Angela Axworthy The epistemological and ontological background of the debate on superposition between Jacques Peletier du Mans (1517-1582) and Christophorus Clavius (1538-1612) The general aim of my paper is to present the conditions and limits of the admission of motion in geometry in the commentaries on Euclid’s Elements of Jacques Peletier du Mans and Christophorus Clavius by considering the debate which arose between them regarding the validity of superposition as a me [. . .]
Anna Frammartino Wilks Kant’s Rescue of our Knowledge of Nature from the Problem of Unknowable Essences

The extent to which Kant’s revolutionary account of our knowledge of nature rejects the essentialism endorsed by some of his predecessors, such as Leibniz, Wolff and Baumgarten, is disputed among Kant scholars.

[. . .]
Anton Matytsin The Scientific Revolution Devours Its Children: The Legacy of Descartes in the 18th Century René Descartes’s first supporters were extremely effective in promoting his metaphysics and natural philosophy despite the opposition from traditional intellectual authorities. They managed to penetrate both university curricula and new scientific societies in the second half of the 17th century. [. . .]
Antoni Malet Some 17th-century discussions on the grounds of mathematical knowledge Properly speaking there were no debates about the foundations of mathematics in early modern Europe, nor were there specific sets of axioms and postulates circulating and being compared as to which one was to be preferred to ground mathematics. [. . .]
Ashley J. Inglehart Robert Boyle on Ferments and Fermentation: Abstract The concept of a ferment has described a vast array of processes. [. . .]
Balint Kekedi Descartes's attentive automata: the case of wonder When interpreting the mechanical workings of natural automata in Descartes’ writings, students of Descartes’ physiology almost exclusively focus on the self-motion of automata: how they react to stimuli, how they initiate motion, how they store up representations to guide their later actions, etc. [. . .]
Barnaby Hutchins Reductionism and integrationism in Descartes’s biology This paper argues that Descartes’s theoretical claims about mechanism should be distinguished from his use of mechanism in biology: in his theoretical claims, Descartes is a strong reductionist, but in his biology, he is closer to what Darden and Craver (2009) have termed ‘integrationism’. [. . .]
Bennett McNulty Chemistry in Kant’s Opus Postumum In Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Naturwissenschaft (MAN), Kant claims that chemistry is an improper science—because it does not allow for the application of mathematics—but a rational science—because it has causal laws. [. . .]
Boris Demarest The structure of developmental time: epistemology and metaphysics in the embryological theories of Harvey, Malebranche, and Buffon This paper will argue that the differences between major embryological theories in the early modern life sciences are primarily due to major epistemological differences of opinion other than those on the acceptability of mechanical or vitalist explanation that are now commonly assumed to be the majo [. . .]
Brian Hepburn Euler gets an 'F' in philosophy — but which 'F'? Euler was one of the most important physicists in that science's history. Yet, at many places in his writings, he seems to make very rudimentary philosophical mistakes. [. . .]
Brigitte van Tiggelen A chemistry without hypothesis ? Maurice Delacre (1862-1938) and the history and philosophy of chemistry At the end of scientific career devoted to organic chemistry, the Belgian chemist Maurice Delacre published a creed in positivist chemistry in 1934. [. . .]
Charles Wolfe Mechanism, capital m and mechanisms, little m: ontological considerations, heuristics and analogies A brief consideration of some of the contemporary ‘mechanisms’ literature reveals that it occasionally engages with early modern forms of mechanism (which ones is never made extremely clear: Galileo? Descartes? Boyle? Hobbes? Spinoza? [. . .]
Christian Damböck Carnap’s route to the Aufbau: An examination of newly available archival sources Since Michael Friedman’s groundbreaking work on neo-Kantian influences on Carnap’s Aufbau there have been a number of further considerations on other possible influences on Carnap’s seminal work. [. . .]
Christopher French Engineering Gone Astray: A Short History of Carnap's Unsuccessful Explication Projects Rudolf Carnap’s brand of scientific philosophy consisted in the use of technical frameworks, like formal syntax and semantics, to reconstruct (or better, to explicate) vague or inexact concepts. [. . .]
Clinton Tolley, Erich Reck Structuralist themes in the early Husserl In the late 1890s and early 1900s, Husserl devoted considerable efforts toward developing a “theory of manifolds [Mannigfaltigkeitslehre]”. There are evidently ties to developments in 19th-century mathematics, e.g., Bernhard Riemann’s novel approach to geometry. In the [. . .]
Colin Maclarty The rise of Euclidean axiomatics We apply ideas from Ian Mueller and David Fowler to the rise of Euclidean axiomatics. Hippocrates of Chios invokes a curvilinear case of the Pythagorean theorem about 200 years before Euclid. A Euclid-style treatment of this case would require extending proofs in Euclid's Books I, VI, and XII. [. . .]
Dana Jalobeanu Disciplining experience: Francis Bacon’s experimental series and the Baconian art of experimenting Francis Bacon’s main contribution to the emergence of experimental philosophy was a new way of thinking about the serial character of experimental practices. [. . .]
Daniel Collette Descartes’s horror vacui: Rohault on the Void and Pascal’s Cartesian Critique A central point for Descartes’s project in the Regulae and Discourse on Method was to build a natural philosophy detached from obscure judgments based on ancient and scholastic authorities. [. . .]
Daniel Schwartz Francis Bacon on the Certainty and Deceptiveness of Sense-Perception There is an important tension within Francis Bacon’s discussions of sense-perception. [. . .]
Danielle Macbeth Revolution and Realism? In the seventeenth century the practice of mathematics was fundamentally transformed; and this transformed mathematics led in turn to a transformed practice of physics. [. . .]
David J. Stump The Science behind C. I. Lewis’s Pragmatic Conception of the A Priori C. I. Lewis’s pragmatic conception of the a priori refers to three conceptual areas, logic, sentences that are true by definition, and some elements of physical theories. The laws of physics present the most interesting part of Lewis’s pragmatic theory of the a priori. [. . .]
David Marshall Miller Descartes and His Critics on Conserved Rectilinear Motion The modern principle of rectilinear inertia—uniform rectilinear motion is conserved—is often attributed to Descartes. But where in Descartes’s work is the modern principle found? I argue that the commonly accepted locus of attribution is misplaced. [. . .]
Davide Crippa Redefining geometrical exactness in pre-axiomatic contexts: on the distinction between geometrical and mechanical curves In this paper, I would like to tackle the following broad question: “by which means, available within an historically given pre-axiomatic mathematical practice, mathematicians could succeed in establishing the subject matter of their theories?” by exploring a well-defined problem in the history of m [. . .]
Delphine Bellis Gassendi’s Theory of Space: its Genesis and some Aspects of its Reception Gassendi is often viewed as a bit of an antiquarian, because of his interest in reconstructing Epicurean philosophy. [. . .]
Dennis Des Chene Figura in Natural Philosophy

Among the modes of extension are figure, size, and motion. Like size and motion, figure was thought to be eminently suited for use in explanation – easy to understand, simple, free of the obscurities attaching to qualities and powers.

[. . .]
Doina-Cristina Rusu “The effecting of all things possible”: Francis Bacon on Forms and Potentiality

Francis Bacon’s natural philosophy was always described as a philosophy of operations, having as its ultimate goal the creation of “all things possible”. Knowledge, defined as the discovery of causes of all phenomena, is not to be sought for itself, but for its use in the production of effects.

[. . .]
Donata Romizi At the interface between epistemology and ethics: Edgar Zilsel’s concepts of “rationalism”, “rational” and “rationalization” Before becoming, as it were, an English-writing sociologist of science, Edgar Zilsel (1891-1944) had been for quite a long time a versatile Viennese philosopher whose work developed to some extent in connection with the rise of Logical Empiricism: not only had Zilsel a close contact with the Vienna [. . .]
Edward Slowik Between Newton and the Neo-Kantians: The Evolution of Absolute and Relational Space in 18th and 19th Centuries The topic of this presentation concerns the historical development of the concepts of absolute and relational space (or substantival and relational space) in the 18th and 19th centuries (i.e., that space is either an independent entity of some sort, or a mere relation among these entities). [. . .]
Emre Keskin Epicurus’ Scientific Method and Cosmology In contrast to Aristotelian cosmology, Epicurean cosmology maintains that the universe is infinite. Yet, the infinity of space comes with a cost. Epicureans had to introduce boundaries between ‘the worlds’ that make up the universe. [. . .]
Eric Palmer Spinoza's Shadow on Science Jonathan Israel has recently made much of the claim that Spinoza cast a long shadow over enlightenment culture, including scientific thought, in the century leading to the French Revolution. [. . .]
Eric Schliesser Toward a Meaningful HOPOS: Metaphysics, Rediscovered Philosophy of Science (hereafter POS) and History of the Philosophy of Science (hereafter HOPOS), as an independent activity within philosophy, have a shared origin in eighteenth century reflection on and intervention in polemics between Newtonians and Spinozists.* It was thought that these polemics [. . .]
Eric Schliesser Spinoza and ‘Anti-Mathematics’ In this paper I define the concept ‘anti-mathematics’ and show how it illuminates a range of philosophical debates through the eighteenth century. By ‘anti-mathematics’ I mean to capture the expressed reservations about the authority and utility of the application of mathematics in the sciences. [. . .]
Eric Watkins What is, for Kant, a Law of Nature? The concept of a law of nature plays a number of highly visible roles in Kant’s theoretical philosophy. Yet we can fully appreciate these roles only if we have an accurate understanding of what his conception of a law of nature is. [. . .]
Clinton Tolley, Erich Reck Structuralist themes in the early Husserl In the late 1890s and early 1900s, Husserl devoted considerable efforts toward developing a “theory of manifolds [Mannigfaltigkeitslehre]”. There are evidently ties to developments in 19th-century mathematics, e.g., Bernhard Riemann’s novel approach to geometry. In the [. . .]
Erik C. Banks Mach and James on Neutral Monism and the Unity of Science According to Ernst Mach (in the Analysis of Sensations of 1886 and Knowledge and Error in 1905) and William James (in his Essays in Radical Empiricism, published beginning in 1904 with “Does ‘Consciousness’ Exist”) sensations, such as colors or sounds, are to be treated as neither mental nor physic [. . .]
Erik Curiel On Newton's Third Rule of Reasoning in Philosophy, “the Universal Qualities of All Bodies Whatsoever," and the Speciation of Physical Systems At the beginning of Book Three of Principia, Newton proposes his “Rules of Reasoning in Philosophy”. Rules I, II and IV are incisively brief, both in the statement of the rules themselves and in their attendant scholia. Rule III, by contrast, is considerably more com- [. . .]
Francesca Biagioli Duhem and Cassirer on the Symbolic Form of Physical Reality The French physicist, philosopher, and historian of science Pierre Duhem maintained that the mathematical development of scientific theories, which is required for inferring theoretical consequences to be put to the test, presupposes that empirical facts have been transformed and put into a symbolic [. . .]
Francesca Bordogna Mathematics and metaphysics in William James’s Some Problems of Philosophy In his posthumously published Some Problems of Philosophy (James 1911/1979) William James drew a distinction between a broader and older conception of philosophy, according to which philosophy “must include the results of all the sciences,” and a more recent and narrower conception of philosophy as [. . .]
Geoffrey Gorham Spinoza on Time, Duration and the Mathematization of Nature When McTaggart (1908) put Spinoza on his short-list of philosophers who considered time unreal, he fell in line with a reading of Spinoza’s philosophy of time advanced by contemporaneous British Idealists and by Hegel. [. . .]
Georg Schiemer Carnap on model structures and invariants Rudolf Carnap’s thinking about mathematics in the 1920s is best characterized as an early form of structuralism. This is most explicit in his work on general axiomatics in the posthumously published manuscript Untersuchungen zur allgemeinen Axiomatik (Carnap 2000). [. . .]
Gregory B. Moynahan Anneleise Maier's [1905-1971] Philosophy and History of Science Anneleise Maier [1905-1971] was one of the most important and influential historians of medieval science of the twentieth century, but her innovative work is singular, I will argue, in that it developed fairly directly from her philosophical studies, notably her 1930 dissertation Kants Qualitätskata [. . .]
Guido Caniglia How Should Philosophers Interrogate the History of Science? Lessons from Edmund Husserl’s Die Krisis der Europeischen Wissenschaften (1935) Most literature about the Krisis has looked at Husserl’s idea that contemporary science lost meaning and value for our lives due to its increasing technical nature. [. . .]
Günther Sandner The Berlin Group in the Making: Politics and Philosophy in the Early Works of Hans Reichenbach and Kurt Grelling In interwar Germany, the Berlin Group centered around Hans Reichenbach, Walter Dubislav and Kurt Grelling was a decisive factor in continental logical empiricism (LE). [. . .]
Hein van den Berg Modeling the History of Ideas The history of ideas has long been a discipline in disrepute. It has been criticized as involving an improper historical method that does not provide understanding of historical texts. [. . .]
Helen Hattab Aristoteliansm in Service of Atomism? Gorlaeus on Knowledge of Universals David Gorlaeus (1591-1612), early seventeenth century atomist and notorious novatore, presents an unusual view regarding the role of experience in scientific knowledge. He denies scientific knowledge of essences, as scientia is strictly about accidental being. [. . .]
Helen Lang Aristotle on The Relation between Matter and Body: A Continuing Philosophical Problem In the Metaphysics, Aristotle argues that substance can be identified in three ways: (1) form, i.e., what is actual, separable, and prior; (2) matter, i.e., what is potential and provides the possibility for change and individuation; and (3) the combination of form and matter, i.e., natural things, [. . .]
Igor Kaufman Forming the historical approach in philosophy of science in the Western and USSR scholarly communities In my paper I aim to to study various scholarly approaches, which were developed in the USSR and in the West, to establish historical approaches in philosophy or methodology of science as a specific discipline. [. . .]
Ilaria Coluccia The Cartesian theme of the divine deception in the Cursus Conimbricensium My paper addresses the question of the divine deception in the Cursus Conimbricensium, the commentaries to Aristotle’s works studied by Descartes at the time of his education at La Flèche (1605-1614). [. . .]
James McElvenny The socio-political implications of behaviourism and the Chomskyan revolution in linguistics A key aspect of the ‘Chomskyan revolution’ of the late 1950s and early 60s – through which generative grammar became established as the dominant paradigm of linguistics in America and the wider world – was the rejection of behaviourist psychology, a received doctrine of the previously dominant appro [. . .]
Janet Folina Mathematical Structure and Intuition, from Kant to Poincaré As a fully-fledged philosophy of mathematics, structuralism is quite young. This contribution will explore one issue connected to its pre-history: the evolution of conceptions of mathematical intuition after Kant. [. . .]
Jean-Paul Cauvin Cavaillès as a Reader of Husserl: Two Versions of the History of Mathematics The paper addresses Jean Cavaillès’ (1901-1944) reading of Edmund Husserl’s (1859-1938) Formal and Transcendental Logic (1929) in the closing pages of Cavaillès’ posthumously published Logic and Theory of Science (1947.) The paper proposes a comparative reading of Cavaillès and Husserl on the epist [. . .]
Jendrik Stelling Philosophy of mathematics in the early works of Moritz Schlick Moritz Schlick never published any text specifically about the philosophy of mathematics. Nonetheless, his views on this topic influenced many of his other positions and the status of the subject was centrally important to the philosophical stances of many members of the Vienna Circle. [. . .]
Jennifer Jhun A Lesson from Economic History: Idealization and Ceteris Paribus Clauses This paper investigates the historical background of ceteris paribus usage in economics. [. . .]
Jens van 't Klooster Carl Menger and the proper subject-matter of economic science The paper discusses Carl Menger's different arguments in his Grundsätze (1971) and Untersuchungen (1883) to motivate his conception of the proper subject-matter of economic science. [. . .]
Joachim Frans Explanatory power of visual proofs Mathematics seems to have a special status when compared to other areas of human knowledge. This special status is linked with the role of proof, that is a formal argument allowing a unique level of certainty and leaving no room for unclarity. [. . .]
Johanna Wolff Pauli’s objection to Weyl and the origins of the divide between Anschaulichkeit and Beobachtbarkeit During the heated debate between developers of matrix mechanics (Heisenberg, Born, Jordan) and the supporters of wave mechanics (Schrödinger, Einstein) around 1926-7, Beobachtbarkeit (observability) and Anschaulichkeit (visualizability) emerged as the respective rallying cries for the two camps. [. . .]
Jutta Schickore HOPOS: Methods and Contexts – Contextualization vs. long-term trajectories? Turning to the history of philosophy can mean quite different things. It can mean contextualization, i.e. examining the historical contexts of a philosophical work, concept, or movement. It can also mean “temporalization”, i.e. [. . .]
Karin Verelst The Correspondence between Huygens, Leibniz and Fatio de Duillier The correspondence between the two main mechanist natural philosophers of the end of the seventeenth century and a close friend of Newton’s has hitherto received surpisingly little attention. [. . .]
Kate Finley Tycho Brahe and the Role of Aesthetics in Scientific Revolution In this paper I explore the role of aesthetics in the astronomical revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries. More specifically, I examine the role of aesthetics in the motivation, execution, dissemination and reception of Tycho Brahe’s scientific work. [. . .]
Katherine Dunlop Is Euclidean Geometry the ‘Form of Outer Sense’ for Kant? Kant is often thought to identify the necessary conditions on our “outer in- tuition” with the principles of Euclidean geometry. On this interpretation of his view, it is refuted by 19th and 20th century developments in mathematics and physics. [. . .]
Ladislav Kvasz Wittgensteins philosophy and the language of mathematics Philosophy of mathematics played in Wittgenstein’s thought an important role. From the Tractatus, as well as from the Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics, it is possible to reconstruct two different, but nevertheless in many respects analogous interpretations of mathematics. [. . .]
Laszlo Kosolosky, Dagmar Provijn Harvey’s bloody motion: ‘the ins and outs of being creative’ In this paper, we intend to bridge the disciplines of history and philosophy of science by showing how the discovery of the circulation of the blood by William Harvey (1578-1657) sheds new light on existing conceptualizations of discovery and creativity in science. [. . .]
Laura Georgescu Experimentation and concepts in Gilbert’s De magnete This paper argues that, on Gilbert’s account, concepts in De magnete (1600) are articulated through experimentation, as a result of the systematic nature of Gilbert’s experimental practice. [. . .]
Lucian Petrescu Descartes’s Reappraisal of Aristotelian Demonstrative Science The combination of the two forms of demonstration defined by Aristotle, demonstratio quia and demonstratio propter quid (apodeixis tou dioti and apodeixis tou hoti) is one of the most enduring ideas elaborated on by medieval philosophers. [. . .]
Lucio Mare Breaking up the atom: early Leibniz against minima naturalia doctrines and atomism Against the received view claiming that throughout the period from 1666 to 1676, Leibniz showed some more or less stronger measure of commitment to atomism,1 I argue for a strong case of anti-atomism in his early works. [. . .]
Lydia Patton The Methodological Arguments of Mach’s Economy of Science In the chapter “The Economy of Science” of Ernst Mach’s 1883 The Science of Mechanics, Mach defends a “biological-economical”, naturalist account of scientific knowledge. According to this account, the aim of science is “to replace” or “save” experiences by the use of memory and anticipation. [. . .]
Madalina Giurgea The science of sound at the beginning of 17th century The main focus of this paper is the move from a qualitative to quantitative explanation of sound at the beginning of the 17th century. More precisely I show that the process of measurement in the study of sound and therefore the quantification by means of experimental practice is problematic. [. . .]
Marcus Adams Materialist Mixed Mathematics: Hobbesian Optics, Natural Philosophy, and Politics When discussing Hobbes’s natural philosophy, there is no better place to start than his optics. Among his contemporaries, Hobbes’s optics was considered a rival to Descartes’s Dioptrique (1637). [. . .]
Marij van Strien How continuity became a convention: Poincaré on the applicability of differential calculus in physics In the early twentieth century, Poincaré argued that it is through convention that we can apply differential calculus in physics. [. . .]
Marius Stan Kant’s Natural Philosophy and Generalized Mechanics In this paper, I uncover in Kant’s Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science a deep conflict: between his Dynamics and Mechanics. Specifically, his theory of matter entails continuous bodies, but his laws of mechanics can handle only discrete particles not continua. [. . .]
Mark Tschaepe Guessing and Scientific Discovery: Hypothesis-generation as a logical process Guessing is considered a central function of scientific inquiry by most scientists and philosophers, but it has mostly been neglected as an object of philosophical analysis. [. . .]
Martin Lenz From Smallpox to Nominal Essences: How Locke changed his mind about natural kinds

As is well-known, Locke endorsed a distinction between real and nominal essences. Since the real essences of things are unknowable to us, our categorizations are based on nominal essences, i.e. conventional classifications that are adapted to our needs.

[. . .]
Mary Domski HOPOS Meets Descartes: Making Old Problems New Again Over the past decade, increased attention to the history of philosophy of science has shed important light on the nuances and complexities that characterize early modern philosophy. [. . .]
Massimo Ferrari Cassirer’s Philosophy of Science, Duhem’s Holism, and Goethe One of the most neglected aspects of Ernst Cassirer’s philosophy of science is the holistic interpretation of scientific theories, which seems to be quite close to Pierre Duhem’s insights. [. . .]
Matias Slavov Hume and Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity In the 14th of December, 1915, Einstein wrote a letter to Schlick where he declared that it was “Mach, and, even more, Hume, whose Treatise of Human Nature I studied with passion and admiration shortly before discovering the [special] theory of relativity. [. . .]
Matteo Collodel Intention vs. Position in HOPOS: The Instructive Case of Paul K. Feyerabend (1924-1994) Over the last few decades intellectual history and the history of philosophy, HOPOS included, were characterized by a general lack of methodological theorizing, which only lately has shown some signs of resurgence. [. . .]
Mattia Mantovani From epistemology to dissections: Descartes' two-step argument for a distinction between primary and secondary qualities In his seminal Il Saggiatore (1623), Galileo famously claimed that, contrary to triangles and circles, which are the real characters in which the book of Nature is written, flavours and colours do not exist independently of the perceiving subject. [. . .]
Michael Heidelberger Helmholtz criticized: Mach, Riehl, Laas, James The critics of Helmholtz that are usually treated in existing expositions of Helmholtz’s philosophy are mostly Kantians who are relatively unknown and are justly forgotten for their contributions to philosophy. [. . .]
Mihnea Dobre Experimental Cartesianism and the problem of space Notoriously, Descartes does not have a concept of space. Or better said, he uses space as indistinguishable from matter or extension. Yet, to some of his contemporaries, his physics was successful at providing mechanical descriptions of the natural world. [. . .]
Miklos Redei Hilbert's 6th problem and constructive quantum field theory Hilbert formulated the program of axiomatizing physical theories in his 1900 lecture in Paris onopen problems in mathematics; this was the 6th of the 23 open problems. [. . .]
Monica Solomon Berkeley's Criticism of the Newtonian Account of Rotation Earman (1989, pp. 73-5) mentions Berkeley's response to the Newtonian treatment of rotation derived from Berkeley's Principles (1710) and De Motu (1721). Earman starts by mentioning that Berkeley's views did not get serious consideration and he cites Leibniz's three-line dismissal. [. . .]
Nabeel Hamid S.S. Stevens, operationalism, and logical positivism This paper argues for two related theses. First, I submit that the arrival of logical positivism in North America in the mid-1930s influenced the development of operationalism in psychology, as evidenced in a series of papers by S.S. Stevens from 1935 to 1939. [. . .]
Nahuel Sznajderhaus A Historical and Philosophical Account ofthe Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics The first modal interpretation (MI) of quantum mechanics (QM) was put forward by van Fraassen ([6]). By rejecting the well known projection postulate, he formally considered the measurement in QM as a passage from the possible to the actual. [. . .]
Nikolay Milkov On Walter Dubislav Walter Dubislav (1895–1937) was, together with Hans Reichenbach, a leading member of the Berlin Group of scientific philosophy (not to be confused with the Berlin Society for Empirical / Scientific Philosophy that was organized and led by the Group), the “sister group” of the Vienna Circle. [. . .]
Paolo Mancosu Definitions by abstraction: From stable practice to global foundations One of the most influential programs in contemporary philosophy of mathematics is the neo-logicist program. At the core of neo-logicism are a technical result and a set of philosophical considerations. [. . .]
Patrick j. Connolly Locke on Hypotheses: A Via Media In this paper I examine John Locke’s views on the proper role and status of hypotheses in natural philosophy. Locke’s texts display a markedly mixed attitude toward hypotheses. [. . .]
Peter Anstey Principles in early modern natural philosophy: a provisional taxonomy The term ‘principle’ is almost ubiquitous in early modern natural philosophy and yet its semantic range is enormously varied. [. . .]
Peter Distelzweig “Mechanics” and Mechanism in William Harvey’s Anatomy: Varieties and Limits William Harvey’s De motu cordis (1628) is an important text in the history of medicine and played a prominent role in the rise of mechanical and experimental approaches to natural philosophy in the 17th century. [. . .]
Petter Sandstad Aristotle on exceptions in biology Prima facie, one would think that exceptions should disprove a rule (viz. a universal predication). E.g. [. . .]
Phillip Honenberger Grene and Hull on Type-Concepts in Biology Ernst Mayr’s contrast between “typological” and “population” thinking has recently come under attack both for its historical accuracy and its conceptual perspicuity (Amundson 1998, 2005; Winsor 2006, Lewens 2009). In this paper I review three disputes between the late [. . .]
Ralf Krömer Category theory and matters of trust In this talk, I intend to pursue the overall aim of the symposium by reading the 20th century debates related to category theory as a case study of how mathematics has been organized and done in order for it to be sound, and of questioning the grounds for having confidence in mathematical arguments. [. . .]
Robert DiSalle Kantian and post-Kantian approaches to scientific representation Kant’s account of the foundations of science foundered, according to a wide- spread and plausible view, because of the progress of science in the century following his death. [. . .]
Roger Ariew Prime Matter in Descartes and the Late Scholastics Descartes wrote the Principles of Philosophy as something of a rival to Scholastic textbooks. [. . .]
Ronan le Roux “French epistemology” and the technical conditions of science or how non-Comtian insights remained captive of a Comtian horizon Auguste Comte is both the founder of a French style mixing philosophy and history in the study of science, and the author of a philosophical system dedicated to a rational development of society stating that technology shall be the vector of an application of science to the shaping and improvement o [. . .]
Sahotra Sarkar Logical Empiricism and the Philosophy of Biology in the 1940s and 1950s Critics and historians of logical empiricism often take it for granted that the movement ignored details of the special sciences in its alleged deification of modern physics. [. . .]
Sanne Stuur Between psychology and physics: Schlick’s Philosophy of Time In this paper an attempt is made at an integrated account of Moritz Schlick’s philosophy of time. In particular, we attempt to reconstruct Schlick’s ideas about the relationship between time’s objective features and the subjective experience thereof. [. . .]
Scott Edgar Hermann Cohen’s rationalist philosophy of mathematics In his 1883 Principle of the Infinitesimal Method and its History, the Marburg School neo-Kantian Hermann Cohen gives a philosophically critical history of calculus’ development in the early modern period. Despite being an interpreter of Kant, his account is deeply rationalist. [. . .]
Sophie Roux What kind of mechanism for Cartesian physics? Our conception of what is a mechanism and of what its function is in biological explanations has been renewed in the last decade (Machamer, Darden and Craver 2000, Bechtel and Abrahamsen 2005, Nicholson 2012). [. . .]
Stefan Heßbrüggen-Walter Metaphysics, Mathematics, Certainty: the Pre-History of the Preface to Kant’s Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science Research on the preface to Kant’s Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science focuses mostly on its role within critical philosophy e. g. with regard to the changes Kant made in the second edition of the Critique of Pure Reason, appearing one year after the Metaphysical Foundations. [. . .]
Stefano Zappoli Benedetto Croce and late History of the Philosophy of Science Well known as a theorist of aesthetics, the Italian idealist thinker Benedetto Croce is practically unknown among historians of the philosophy of science working on the crucial period between the 19th and the 20th century. [. . .]
Steffen Ducheyne Petrus van Musschenbroek’s Appropriation of Newton’s Natural-Philosophical Methodology Petrus van Musschenbroek (1692-1762) has rightfully been considered as an important trailblazer in the diffusion of Newtonianism on the Continent. Together with W. J. [. . .]
T.W. Staley SPECULATIVE PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE & ENGLISH-LANGUAGE EDUCATION – SOME EPISODES FROM c.1850-1950 The mid-nineteenth century witnessed an increasingly dominant – but far from unanimous – movement in academic philosophy toward methods advertising themselves as explicitly ‘scientific’ in character. [. . .]
Tammy Nyden An Aristotelian and Cartesian Walk into a Physics Theatre: The Story of Senguerd and de Volder We all know the story, that of Scholastics stubbornly clinging to their Aristotelian assumption that the world is as it appears, of taking scientia to be a matter of explaining why it is such by describing its causes. [. . .]
Teru Miyake Operationalization and Intuition in the Development of the Theory of Flight This talk discusses operationalization in the development of fluid dynamics and the theory of flight in the early twentieth century, particularly by Ludwig Prandtl. [. . .]
Thomas Oberdan The Sign-Theory of Perception from Helmholtz to Schlick The transformations of philosophical thought at the turn of the Twentieth Century, and their relations to the scientific developments which stimulated them, pose a daunting challenge to a synthetic understanding of the historical development of the philosophy of science. [. . .]
Tzuchien Tho Leibniz’s Dynamic Error One of the key claims of Leibniz’s two decade long dynamics project (c. 1678-1700) was the calculation of force (vis) as mv2. [. . .]
Uljana Feest Physicalism, Introspection, and Psychophysics: The Carnap/Duncker Exchange In 1932, Rudolf Carnap published his article “Psychology in a Physical Language,” in which he laid out the idea that all first-person experiential reports can be translated into a “physical” language (Carnap 1932a). [. . .]
Valter Alnis Bezerra Networks in contemporary philosophy of science: tracking the history of a theme between metaphor and structure In this work, an attempt is made at reconstructing and interpreting a certain part of the history of a theme in contemporary philosophy of science, through a temporal window of approximately 120 years — namely, the theme of networks. [. . .]
Veronika Hofer Logical Empiricism and Theoretical Biology: The context of Schlick’s patronage of Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s Habilitation in Vienna 1934 In order to look afresh at what impact the discussions of the Logical Empiricists had on the special sciences in their local contexts in Vienna, in Berlin and in Prague, this paper suggests taking Schlick’s support for a habilitation of the young and ambitious Ludwig von Bertalanffy seriously. [. . .]
Vincenzo De Risi Leibniz on the Parallel Postulate and the Structure of Space Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) worked at the foundations of geometry during all his life, often labeling his various researches on the topic under the general name of analysis situs. [. . .]
Warren Schmaus Was Renouvier as Scientifically Conservative as Comte? Over the course of his career, Renouvier moved progressively further from Comte’s positivism, defining his own philosophy of science in opposition to Comte’s. [. . .]
Yafeng Shan Kuhn’s Real Wrong Turning The significance of Thomas Kuhn in the history of the philosophy of science is somehow paradoxical. On the one hand, Kuhn was one of the most influential philosophers of science in the second half of twentieth century. [. . .]
Zdenka Brzovic A short historical overview of the debate on reductionism in biology This paper examines the development of the debate on the possibility of epistemic reductionism in biology and its relation to the question about the status of biology as an autonomous science. [. . .]
Zvi Biener Substance & Property, System & Relation: Metaphysical Orthodoxy in Newton’s Rational Mechanics Isaac Newton’s heterodoxy is a unifying theme of Newtonian scholarship. [. . .]
Christoph Lüthy How many types of matter for a mechanical philosophy? Aristotle’s notion of prime matter became one of the main targets of the early modern novatores. It was decried as a ridiculous entity that was at once pure potentiality and yet capable of giving body to substantial forms. [. . .]
Daniel Garber Leibniz and Materia Prima: Force and Monadic Perception In his middle period, Leibniz proposed a radical reinterpretation of scholastic materia prima. In the 1680s and early 1690s, Leibniz set out a world whose basic constituents were corporeal substances. [. . .]
Menachem Fisch HOPOS and the Paradigm Shifts of Philosophy Michael Friedman has famously argued that to account for the rationality of scientific framework transitions, one must look to philosophy (and other neighboring disciplines) where alternatives to the reigning scientific framework, and hence unthinkable within science, were discussed. [. . .]
Michael Stoeltzner Causality, Teleology, System: Laws in the Special Sciences from Frank to Nagel The special sciences, so the usual characterization goes, do not possess laws of the same kind as physics and are based on concepts that cannot be reduced to physical ones. This makes, so the argument continues, the disunity of science a plausible working hypothesis. [. . .]
Laszlo Kosolosky, Dagmar Provijn Harvey’s bloody motion: ‘the ins and outs of being creative’ In this paper, we intend to bridge the disciplines of history and philosophy of science by showing how the discovery of the circulation of the blood by William Harvey (1578-1657) sheds new light on existing conceptualizations of discovery and creativity in science. [. . .]
Greg Frost-Arnold Carnap’s Semantic Project: What Was It? And Why Did So Many People Hate It? Logical empiricism’s leading figure, Rudolf Carnap, famously took a ‘semantic turn’ in the late 1930’s, shortly after publishing his Logical Syntax of Language. [. . .]
Daniel J. Hicks Otto Neurath: Physicalism, Socialism, and the Foundations of economics In this talk, I consider the work of Otto Neurath (1882-1945). [. . .]
Thomas Uebel Schlick and Wittgenstein: The Theory of Affirmations Revisited This talk broaches one aspect of the complex and far-reaching issue of the philosophical relationship between the Vienna Circle and Wittgenstein. [. . .]
Artur Koterski The Response to the Vienna Circle’s Critique of Metaphysics in the Inter-war Poland Logical positivism caught considerable attention of variety of philosophical centers in the inter-war Poland. Most notable reactions came from the Lviv-Warsaw School where Viennese philosophy was commented quite early, i.e., before the Circle went public. [. . .]
Holly VandeWall In Praise of Erroneous Models Most historians of science have a favorite example of a now-discarded model whose errors themselves offered a fundamental insight. [. . .]
Matthew J. Barker Rethinking Reductionism in Robert Boyle’s Time and Our Own I offer two innovations that span from Robert Boyle’s time to now. I do this by clarifying and addressing an apparent tension in Boyle’s work that has surfaced with the recent enthusiasm for scholarship on Boyle’s philosophy of science. [. . .]
Hein van den Berg Modeling the History of Ideas The history of ideas has long been a discipline in disrepute. It has been criticized as involving an improper historical method that does not provide understanding of historical texts. [. . .]
Marco Giovannelli A matter of principles. Ernst Cassirer's reading of the theory of relativity as a principle theory Considerable attention—partially raised by the so-called ‘neo-Lorentzian interpretations’ of SR (Brown, 2005)—has been drawn recently to Einstein’s distinction between principle and constructive theories. [. . .]
Lisa Downing Efficient causation and volition in Malebranche and Berkeley In the early modern period, explicit consideration of how causation itself should be understood and characterized is fairly rare, and this despite the fact that questions about the causal structure of the world are being asked with a new urgency and are receiving new answers. [. . .]
Amirouche Moktefi, Ahti Veikko Pietarinen Pragmatism and Mathematical Logic, 1900-1914 In a paper first published in Leonardo (February 1906) and reprinted in The Monist next to Peirce’s Prolegomena (October 1906), Vailati identified several “pragmatic characteristics” of mathematical logic. [. . .]