2 episodes

Mathematical Philosophy - the application of logical and mathematical methods in philosophy - is about to experience a tremendous boom in various areas of philosophy. At the new Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, which is funded mostly by the German Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, philosophical research will be carried out mathematically, that is, by means of methods that are very close to those used by the scientists.
The purpose of doing philosophy in this way is not to reduce philosophy to mathematics or to natural science in any sense; rather mathematics is applied in order to derive philosophical conclusions from philosophical assumptions, just as in physics mathematical methods are used to derive physical predictions from physical laws.
Nor is the idea of mathematical philosophy to dismiss any of the ancient questions of philosophy as irrelevant or senseless: although modern mathematical philosophy owes a lot to the heritage of the Vienna and Berlin Circles of Logical Empiricism, unlike the Logical Empiricists most mathematical philosophers today are driven by the same traditional questions about truth, knowledge, rationality, the nature of objects, morality, and the like, which were driving the classical philosophers, and no area of traditional philosophy is taken to be intrinsically misguided or confused anymore. It is just that some of the traditional questions of philosophy can be made much clearer and much more precise in logical-mathematical terms, for some of these questions answers can be given by means of mathematical proofs or models, and on this basis new and more concrete philosophical questions emerge. This may then lead to philosophical progress, and ultimately that is the goal of the Center.

MCMP – Philosophy of Mind Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

    • Philosophy

Mathematical Philosophy - the application of logical and mathematical methods in philosophy - is about to experience a tremendous boom in various areas of philosophy. At the new Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, which is funded mostly by the German Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, philosophical research will be carried out mathematically, that is, by means of methods that are very close to those used by the scientists.
The purpose of doing philosophy in this way is not to reduce philosophy to mathematics or to natural science in any sense; rather mathematics is applied in order to derive philosophical conclusions from philosophical assumptions, just as in physics mathematical methods are used to derive physical predictions from physical laws.
Nor is the idea of mathematical philosophy to dismiss any of the ancient questions of philosophy as irrelevant or senseless: although modern mathematical philosophy owes a lot to the heritage of the Vienna and Berlin Circles of Logical Empiricism, unlike the Logical Empiricists most mathematical philosophers today are driven by the same traditional questions about truth, knowledge, rationality, the nature of objects, morality, and the like, which were driving the classical philosophers, and no area of traditional philosophy is taken to be intrinsically misguided or confused anymore. It is just that some of the traditional questions of philosophy can be made much clearer and much more precise in logical-mathematical terms, for some of these questions answers can be given by means of mathematical proofs or models, and on this basis new and more concrete philosophical questions emerge. This may then lead to philosophical progress, and ultimately that is the goal of the Center.

    • video
    The Mind-Brain Entanglement

    The Mind-Brain Entanglement

    Roland Poellinger (MCMP/LMU) gives a talk at the MCMP Colloquium (14 May, 2014) titled "The Mind-Brain Entanglement". Abstract: Listing "The Nonreductivist’s Troubles with Mental Causation" (1993) Jaegwon Kim suggested that the only remaining alternatives are the eliminativist’s standpoint or plain denial of the mind’s causal powers if we want to uphold the closure of the physical and reject causal overdetermination at the same time. Nevertheless, explaining stock market trends by referring to investors’ fear of loss is a very familiar example of attributing reality to both domains and acknowledging the mind’s interaction with the world: "if you pick a physical event and trace its causal ancestry or posterity, you may run into mental events" (Kim 1993). In this talk I will use the formal framework of Bayes net causal models in an interventionist understanding (as devised, e.g., by Judea Pearl in "Causality", 2000) to make the concept of causal influence precise. Investigating structurally similar cases of conflicting causal intuitions will motivate a natural extension of the interventionist Bayes net framework, Causal Knowledge Patterns, in which our intuition that the mind makes a difference finds an expression.

    • 51 min
    • video
    Multiple Realization and the Computational Mind

    Multiple Realization and the Computational Mind

    Paul Schweizer (Edinburgh) gives a talk at the MCMP Colloquium (11 July, 2012) titled "Multiple Realization and the Computational Mind". Abstract: The paper addresses a standard line of criticism of the Computational Theory of Mind, based on the claim that realizing a computational formalism is overly liberal to the point of vacuity. In agreement with the underlying view of computation used to support this criticism, I argue that computation is not an intrinsic property of physical systems, but rather requires an observer dependent act of interpretation. The extent to which a given configuration of matter and energy can be said to realize an abstract formalism is always a matter of approximation and degree, and interpreting a physical device as performing a computation is relative to our purposes and potential epistemic gains. And while this may fatally undermine a computational explanation of consciousness, I argue that, contra Putnam and Searle, it does not rule out the possibility of a scientifically defensible account of propositional attitude states in computational terms.

    • 53 min

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