• Some of the most important developments of symbolic logic took place in the 1920s. Foremost among them are the distinction between syntax and semantics and the formulation of questions of completeness and decidability of logical systems. David Hilbert and his students played a very important part in these developments. Their contributions can be traced to unpublished lecture notes and other manuscripts by Hilbert and Bernays dating to the period 1917-1923. The aim of this paper is to describe th…Read more
  • What is W. V. O. Quine’s relationship to classical pragmatism? Although he resists the comparison to William James in particular, commentators have seen an affinity between his “web of belief” model of theory confirmation and James’s claim that our beliefs form a “stock” that faces new experience as a corporate body. I argue that the similarity is only superficial. James thinks our web of beliefs should be responsive not just to perceptual but also to emotional experiences in some cases; Quine d…Read more
  • This book is a major contribution to the history of analytic philosophy in general and of logical positivism in particular. It provides the first detailed and comprehensive study of Rudolf Carnap, one of the most influential figures in twentieth-century philosophy. The focus of the book is Carnap's first major work: Der logische Aufbau der Welt. It reveals tensions within the context of German epistemology and philosophy of science in the early twentieth century. Alan Richardson argues that Carn…Read more
  • The distinction between the contexts of discovery and justification, this distinction dear to the projects of logical empiricism, was, as is well known, introduced in precisely those terms by Hans Reichenbach in his Experience and Prediction (Reichenbach 1938). Thus, while the idea behind the distinction has a long history before Reichenbach, this text from 1938 plays a salient role in how the distinction became canonical in the work of philosophers of science in the mid twentieth century. The n…Read more
  • Aus dem vielfältigen Werk von Hermann von Helmholtz versammelt diese Ausgabe die im engeren Sinne philosophischen Abhandlungen, vor allem zur Wissenschaftsphilosophie und Erkenntnistheorie, sowie Vorträge und Reden, bei denen der Autor seine Ausnahmestellung im Wissenschaftsbetrieb nutzte, um die Wissenschaften und ihre Institutionen in der bestehenden Form zu repräsentieren und zu begründen. Ein Philosoph wollte Helmholtz nicht sein, aber er legte der philosophischen Reflexion wissenschaftlich…Read more
  • Mechanics without Mechanisms
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 62 45-55. 2018.
    At the time of Heinrich Hertz's premature death in 1894, he was regarded as one of the leading scientists of his generation. However, the posthumous publication of his treatise in the foundations of physics, "Principles of Mechanics", presents a curious historical situation. Although Hertz's book was widely praised and admired, it was also met with a general sense of dissatisfaction. Almost all of Hertz's contemporaries criticized "Principles" for the lack of any plausible way to construct a mec…Read more
  • Relativism in the Philosophy of Science
    Cambridge University Press. 2021.
    'Relativism versus absolutism' is one of the fundamental oppositions that have dominated reflections about science for much of its history. Often these reflections have been inseparable from wider social-political concerns regarding the position of science in society. Where does this debate stand in the philosophy and sociology of science today? And how does the 'relativism question' relate to current concerns with 'post truth' politics? In Relativism in the Philosophy of Science, Martin Kusch e…Read more
  • “Protoplasm Feels”: The Role of Physiology in Charles Sanders Peirce’s Evolutionary Metaphysics
    Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 8 (1): 28-61. 2018.
    This essay is an attempt to explain why Charles Sanders Peirce’s evolutionary metaphysics would not have seemed strange to its original 1890s audience. Building on the pioneering work of Andrew Reynolds, I will excavate the scientific context of Peirce’s Monist articles—in particular “The Law of Mind” and “Man’s Glassy Essence,” both published in 1892—focusing on the relationship between protoplasm, evolution, and consciousness. I argue that Peirce’s discussions should be understood in the conte…Read more
  • The Ways of Hilbert's Axiomatics: Structural and Formal
    Perspectives on Science 22 (1): 133-157. 2014.
    Hilbert gave lectures on the foundations of mathematics throughout his career. Notes for many of them have been preserved and are treasures of information; they allow us to reconstruct the path from Hilbert's logicist position, deeply influenced by Dedekind and presented in lectures starting around 1890, to the program of finitist proof theory in the early 1920s. The development toward proof theory begins, in some sense, in 1917 when Hilbert gave his talk Axiomatisches Denken in Zürich. This tal…Read more
  • In recent years, Reichenbach's 1920 conception of the principles of coordination has attracted increased attention after Michael Friedman's attempt to revive Reichenbach's idea of a "relativized a priori". This paper follows the origin and development of this idea in the framework of Reichenbach's distinction between the axioms of coordination and the axioms of connection. It suggests a further differentiation among the coordinating axioms and accordingly proposes a different account of Reichenb…Read more
  • Logical Empiricism in International Context (review)
    Adam Tamas Tuboly
    Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science. forthcoming.
  • Pasch’s philosophy of mathematics
    Review of Symbolic Logic 3 (1): 93-118. 2010.
    Moritz Pasch (1843ber neuere Geometrie (1882), in which he also clearly formulated the view that deductions must be independent from the meanings of the nonlogical terms involved. Pasch also presented in these lectures the main tenets of his philosophy of mathematics, which he continued to elaborate on throughout the rest of his life. This philosophy is quite unique in combining a deductivist methodology with a radically empiricist epistemology for mathematics. By taking into consideration publi…Read more
  • Hermann Cohen and Alois Riehl on Geometrical Empiricism
    Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 4 (1): 83-105. 2014.
    When non-Euclidean geometry was developed in the nineteenth century, both scientists and philosophers addressed the question as to whether the Kantian theory of space ought to be refurbished or even rejected. The possibility of considering a variety of hypotheses regarding physical space appeared to contradict Kant’s supposition of Euclid’s geometry as a priori knowledge and suggested the view that the geometry of space is a matter for empirical investigation. In this article, I discuss two diff…Read more
  • On Tait on Kant and Finitism
    Journal of Philosophy 113 (5/6): 274-285. 2016.
    In his “Kant and Finitism” Tait attempts to connect his analysis of finitist arithmetic with Kant’s perspective on arithmetic. The examination of this attempt is the basis for a distinctive view on the dramatic methodological shift from Kant to Dedekind and Hilbert. Dedekind’s 1888 essay “Was sind und was sollen die Zahlen?” gives a logical analysis of arithmetic, whereas Hilbert’s 1899 book “Grundlagen der Geometrie” presents such an analysis of geometry or, as Hilbert puts it, of our spatial i…Read more
  • A Companion to Latin American Philosophy (edited book)
    Susana Nuccetelli, Ofelia Schutte, OtÁ Bueno, and Vio
    Wiley-Blackwell. 2009.
  • This chapter explores perspectivism in the American Pragmatist tradition. On the one hand, the thematization of perspectivism in contemporary epistemology and philosophy of science can benefit from resources in the American Pragmatist philosophical tradition. On the other hand, the Pragmatists have interesting and innovative, pluralistic views that can be illuminated through the lens of perspectivism. I pursue this inquiry primarily through examining relevant sources from the Pragmatist traditio…Read more
  • Editorial: The Review Process
    Ethics 130 (1): 1-4. 2019.
  • Ernst Mach’s philosophical ideas were warmly received in America, which already had a pragmatist tradition close to Machian empiricism and budding schools of philosophy, psychology, and physics more or free of the neo-Kantian influences which were a strong academic competitor to the spread of empiricism in Europe. The founding pragmatists Charles Sanders Peirce and William James engaged directly with Mach and Paul Carus, the editor of the Monist and publisher of the Open Court press actively tra…Read more
  • The paper aims to investigate some aspects of Ernst Mach’s epistemology in the light of the problem of human orientation in relation to the world (Weltorientierung), which is a main topic of Western philosophy since Kant. As will be argued, Mach has been concerned with that problem, insofar as he developed an original pragmatist epistemology. In order to support my argument, I firstly investigate whether Mach defended a nominalist or a realist account of knowledge and compare his view to those e…Read more
  • Mach, Jerusalem and Pragmatism
    In Friedrich Stadler (ed.), Ernst Mach – Life, Work, Influence, Springer Verlag. 2019.
    Ernst Mach’s positivism, it is argued in this paper, may be regarded as a version of pragmatist philosophy of science. Already James’s biographer Perry detected such tendencies in Mach and this is confirmed here by close attention to Mach’s early works, esp. History and Root of the Principle of the Conservation of Energy and The Science of Mechanics. Both Mach’s principle of the economy of thought and his principle of scientific significance are shown to bear out his pragmatism. A similar conclu…Read more
  • Mach has long been an important figure in the history of relativity, but the nature of his role has remained controversial. This essay contributes to this discussion by connecting Mach’s critical philosophical perspective more fully to his diverse experimental research and pedagogical contributions to mechanics, and charting his changing presentations of these over some time. In particular, linking Mach’s early research in sense perception and psychophysics to his conceptual critiques of mechani…Read more
  • This paper attempts to show how the logical empiricists’ interpretation of the relation between geometry and reality emerges from a “collision” of mathematical traditions. Considering Riemann’s work as the initiator of a 19th century geometrical tradition, whose main protagonists were Helmholtz and Poincaré, the logical empiricists neglected the fact that Riemann’s revolutionary insight flourished instead in a non-geometrical tradition dominated by the works of Christoffel and Ricci-Curbastro ro…Read more
  • Traditions in Collision: The Emergence of Logical Empiricism between the Riemannian and Helmholtzian Traditions
    Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 7 (2): 328-380. 2017.
    This paper attempts to explain the emergence of the logical empiricist philosophy of space and time as a collision of mathematical traditions. The historical development of the ``Riemannian'' and ``Helmholtzian'' traditions in 19th century mathematics is investigated. Whereas Helmholtz's insistence on rigid bodies in geometry was developed group theoretically by Lie and philosophically by Poincaré, Riemann's Habilitationsvotrag triggered Christoffel's and Lipschitz's work on quadratic differenti…Read more
  • Hermann Cohen’s Principle of the Infinitesimal Method: A Defense
    Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 10 (2): 440-470. 2020.
    In Bertrand Russell's 1903 Principles of Mathematics, he offers an apparently devastating criticism of the neo-Kantian Hermann Cohen's Principle of the Infinitesimal Method and its History (PIM). Russell's criticism is motivated by his concern that Cohen's account of the foundations of calculus saddles mathematics with the paradoxes of the infinitesimal and continuum, and thus threatens the very idea of mathematical truth. This paper defends Cohen against that objection of Russell's, and argues …Read more
  • Völkerpsychologie and the Origins of Hermann Cohen’s Antipsychologism
    Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 10 (1): 254-273. 2020.
    Some commentators on Hermann Cohen have remarked on what they take to be a puzzle about the origins of his mature anti-psychologism. When Cohen was young, he studied a kind of psychology, the Völkerpsychologie of Moritz Lazarus and Heymann Steinthal, and wrote apparently psycholgistic accounts of knowledge almost up until the moment he first articulated his anti-psychologistic neo-Kantianism. To be sure, Cohen's mature anti psycholgism does constitute a rejection of certain central commitments o…Read more
  • Philosophy of History and History of Philosophy of Science
    Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 7 (1): 1-30. 2017.
    hilosophy of history and history of philosophy of science make for an interesting case of “mutual containment”: the former is an object of inquiry for the latter, and the latter is subject to the demands of the former. This article discusses a seminal turn in past philosophy of history with an eye to the practice of historians of philosophy of science. The narrative turn by Danto and Mink represents both a liberation for historians and a new challenge to the objectivity of their findings. I will…Read more
  • Curing Pansophia through Eruditum Nescire: Bernard Nieuwentijt’s Epistemology of Modesty
    Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 7 (2): 272-301. 2017.
  • Making Medical Knowledge
    Oxford University Press. 2015.
    How is medical knowledge made? There have been radical changes in recent decades, through new methods such as consensus conferences, evidence-based medicine, translational medicine, and narrative medicine. Miriam Solomon explores their origins, aims, and epistemic strengths and weaknesses; and she offers a pluralistic approach for the future
  • Measurement, coordination, and the relativized a priori
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics. forthcoming.