Dealing with Inconistencies in the Sciences and Philosophy

August 10, 2023 - August 11, 2023
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina

Sala Selvino Assmann Centro de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (CFH) Bloco D, 2º andar, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina


Johannes Kepler University of Linz
Johannes Kepler University of Linz
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina


Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina

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Workshop: Dealing With Inconsistencies in the Sciences and Philosophy

Date:   August 10th-11th, 2023

Room:Sala Selvino Assmann, Centro de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (CFH), Bloco D, 2º andar, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil

Contact: [email protected]

No registration necessary.


Ivan Ferreira da Cunha (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina)


Alexander Linsbichler (Johannes Kepler University Linz and University of Vienna)



            Alexander Linsbichler

            Ivan Ferreira da Cunha

            Michalis Christou (Johannes Kepler University Linz)


            Jonas Becker Arenhart (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina)


            Guadalupe Mettini (Universidad de Buenos Aires)


            Decio Krause (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro)


August 10th Dealing with Inconsistencies, Classical Approaches

            09:30 – 10:30 Avoiding Explosion in Philosophy and Economics (Alexander Linsbichler)

A central theme in methodology of economics is reconstructing how economists reason with models. Acknowledging that the role of thought experiments in economics as well as the relation between thought experiments and models are contested, this paper provides an account of reasoning with models as centrepieces of thought experiments.

Numerous thought experiments can be reconstructed as one or more arguments. More specifically, many thought experiments in philosophy and the natural sciences can even be spelled out by Häggqvist’s argument template. This paper substantiates the applicability of Häggqvist’s template to economics and presents a refined template devised by Linsbichler and da Cunha which focuses on the avoidance of explosion in reasoning.

            11:00 – 12:00 Neurath's Utopianism Between Science and Activism (Ivan Ferreira da Cunha)

Otto Neurath proposes that scientific models for the transformation of society should never be offered in isolation, but always in 'groups of utopias', as Neurath calls them. Thereby, such models can be discussed and compared by the community of decision-makers. This talk will present a logical template for thought experiments with Neurathian utopias. An example will be given with the recent transition to ecological energy sources in Germany. This offers an opportunity to discuss the limits between science and political activism.

            14:30 - 15:30 Reliability Criteria for Scientific Thought Experiments (Guadalupe Mettini)

Thought experiments have played a key role in theoretical Physics and Cosmology since the Scientific Revolution, influencing the works of Newton and Einstein. These imaginative exercises draw upon a range of resources, including theories, visual representations, and accumulated empirical knowledge, enabling us to make inferences about the natural world without direct experimentation. As a result, they have become a crucial topic within the realm of Philosophy of Science, generating numerous philosophical papers exploring their functioning and evidential significance. Despite the extensive analysis, a consensus on criteria to distinguish successful thought experiments from spurious ones remains elusive. In my presentation, I will introduce a set of criteria that independently assesses the reliability of scientific thought experiments, regardless of one's perspective on their nature. This discussion aims to shed light on the evaluation process and provide clarity on their utility in advancing scientific knowledge.

August 11th Dealing with Inconsistencies, Paraconsistent Approaches

            09:30 – 10:30 Inconsistent scientific reasoning without an inconsistent world (Michalis Christou)

I will argue that in the history of science, scientists sometimes reasoned based on inconsistencies (either in the premises of their arguments or in their theories). I will present a paraconsistent logic that can accommodate for this phenomenon in theoretic reasoning. By combining logic and scientific theories, philosophers and scientists aim at arriving at the best explanation of the empirical world. I will show that accepting a contradiction in scientific theory (and logic) does not necessarily commit us in the belief that the empirical world is actually contradictory.

            11:00 – 12:00 What Tarski Said to the Dialetheists (Jonas Becker Arenhart)

Dialetheism is the view that some contradictions are true. At least in principle, it is possible that the view could be motivated by inconsistent scientific theories, provided that a paraconsistent logic is also embraced. In this talk, some remarks by Alfred Tarski on the significance of antinomies in our system of knowledge shall be reconsidered, and their impact on dialetheism and paraconsistentism will be discussed.

            14:30 - 15:30 Inconsistencies in Science: What Could They Be? (Decio Krause)

We discuss several stages in the formation of a scientific theory where inconsistencies may appear. We discuss a possible meaning of `inconsistency’ in informal theories and also in axiomatized/formalized ones and guess that the corresponding notions are distinct. Some sample cases are discussed.

Selected References

Arenhart, J. R. B. 2018. The Price of True Contradictions About the World. In: Walter Carnielli and Jacek Malinowski (eds.) Contradictions, from consistency to inconsistency. Trends in Logic 47. Cham: Springer, 11-31.

Arenhart, J. R. B. 2022. Dividing paradoxes and theorems. Inference: International review of science, v.6.

Cunha, I.F. (2022). Objectivity in social inquiry: a discussion between pragmatism and logical empiricism. Cognitio 23(1): e56666.

Cunha, I.F. (2022). Experimentos de Pensamento na Crise das Ciências Humanas e Sociais: Articulando Duas Ideias de Kuhn e o Utopianismo de Neurath. Em Construção 11: 73-85.

            Cunha, I. F. d., Linsbichler, A. (2023). Ciência, Imaginação e Valores na Virada Energética Alemã: um exemplo da metodologia de Neurath para a tecnologia social, under review.

Linsbichler, A. (2021). Rationalities and Their Limits: Reconstructing Neurath’s and Mises’s Prerequisites in the Early Socialist Calculation Debates, Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology (RHETM), 39B, pp. 95-128.

Linsbichler, A. (2023). Jan Tinbergen and the Rise of Technocracy, in: F. Stadler (ed.), Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle. 100 Years After the ‘Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus’. Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 28 (pp. 597-604), Springer, Wien, 2023.

Linsbichler, A. (2023). An Ultra-Refined Grammar for Interactions: Thoughts on Robert

Aumann’s Philosophy of Game Theory, Revue Économique, forthcoming.

Linsbichler, A. & Cunha, I. F. d. (2023). Otto Neurath’s Scientific Utopianism Revisited: A Refined Model for Utopias in Thought Experiments, Journal for General Philosophy of Science, 54(2), pp. 233-258.

Tarski, A. 1944. The Semantic Conception of Truth and the Foundations of Semantics. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 4 no.3: 341-376.

Tarski, A. 1969. Truth and proof. Scientific American, June 1: 63-77.

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