PhD. Students of Philosophy of Science Seminar

TUESDAY, 22 MAY 2001

Dept. of Philosophy, University of Genova
via Balbi 4


    ROOM E: morning
ROOM F: afternoon

The talks will be in Italian or in English depending on the audience

morning room E
10.00 Valeria Ascheri  (Philosophy of Science)
Unification of science
10.50 Massimiliano Badino (History and Philosophy of Physics)
Philosophical Problems in Statistical Mechanics: the equilibrium case
11.40 Gabriella Pigozzi (Logic)
Controlled Revision - A new model for belief change
afternoon room F
14.30 Paola Cantù (Philosophy and History of Mathematics and Logic)
Mathematics as theory of forms: Hermann and Robert Grassmann
 15.20 Giuseppina Ronzitti(Mathematical Logic)
Smaller than  
 16.10 Alessandro Dell'Anna (Epistemology)
The language of perception in Austin
 17.00 Mario Valentino Bramè (Philosophy of Mind)
Philosophy of Mind and Metaphysical Revision




"Unification of science"

After Einstein's revolutions and the elaboration of quantum mechanics, scientists restarted working hard in order to elaborate a new, complete unitary vision of physical nature aiming at explaining why and how what happens ... happens.
This project has ancient traditions and, cyclically, it seems to be impossible because the fundamental physical theories fail or are not completely correct. Nowadays somebody is sure that "the theory of everything" (called also "the final theory") is reachable and quite at end.
I'll debate which its philosophical presuppositions are and introduce some of the scientific and philosophical problems risen.

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"Philosophical Problems in Statistical Mechanics: the equilibrium case"

In the present discussion foundationals problems about statistical mechanics are presented and we illustrate the three most famous solutions:
Gibbs' and Tolman's pragmatism, Jaynes' subjective approach and ergodic theory. About this one we briefly present the classical version (Birkhoff's and von Neumann's theorems) and the Khinchin's "asintotic" version.

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"Controlled Revision - A new model for belief change"

The study of belief change focuses on the understanding of how an agent should revise his beliefs when he gets new information. The seminal paper in this area is by Alchourrn, Grdenfors and Makinson (AGM) who proposed postulates for belief revision, formulating properties which every revision function must satisfy. AGM, however, do not provide a specific revision algorithm. Moreover, no special attention is paid to the process of iterated revision. I will introduce a new model, called Controlled Revision, where theories are structured and labelled sets of formulas. Gabbay's Labelled Deductive Systems theory is a good framework for this model in which realistic features for the revision process can be implemented, and an appropriate revision algorithm can be defined.

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"Mathematics as theory of forms: Hermann and Robert Grassmann"

An enquiry into the first definitions of mathematics as "theory of forms" implies an analysis of some related terms, such as quantity, operation, calculus and structure. The works of Hermann and Robert Grassmann are a rich source of information on this subject: Ausdehnungslehre and Formenlehre contribute to the understanding of the algebraic calculus and to the origins of the concept of structure and in addition reveal connections between the mathematical and the philosophical concept of form.

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"Smaller than"

We define four binary relations "smaller than" on the class of subsets of the Baire space. In ZFC one proves that these definitions are all equivalent. We consider intuitionistic sets and logic and see that then they are not. By means of these definitions four intuitionistically not equivalent notions of countable set are introduced and their properties studied.

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"The language of perception in Austin"

How much is different seeng a rainbow from seeng a colour or a given wave length? Does the definition of the first one presouppose that of the others, and wich kind of definition? The sense-data theory tried from Russell to decompose the observable world and so take account for the reference of a sentence from a subjective point of view. In accordance with some contemporary theory of direct perception, Austin refutes that perspective and discloses some aspects of the common sense ontology.

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"Philosophy of Mind and Metaphysical Revision"

Is it desirable a metaphysical revision in order to explain some ontological problems about the philosophy of the mind? Yes, it is. But the new metaphysics should be weak from an epistemical point of view and it should lead up to an ontological account.

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