Science and Metaphysics

July 2, 2012 - July 3, 2012
Rutherford College, University of Kent at Canterbury

Lecture Theatre 1
United Kingdom

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  • Analysis Trust

Main speakers:

Helen Beebee
University of Birmingham
Maureen Donnelly
University at Buffalo
James Ladyman
University of Bristol (UK)
Barry Loewer
Rutgers University
Laurie Paul
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Jason Turner
University of Leeds
Maarten Van Dyck
University of Ghent

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The aim is to discuss:

  1. General methodological issues around the relationship between science and metaphysics (e.g., the status of metaphysical explanations; underdetermination and inference to the best explanation in science and in metaphysics)
  2. Specific examples. These might be cases where science impinges on debates in metaphysics (e.g., "Does modern physics support monism/perdurantism/anti-Humeanism/...?"), or uses of analytic metaphysics to address questions in particular sciences (e.g., "What is the ontological status of species?"), or more practical applications of ideas originating in metaphysics (e.g., in bio-informatics), or highlights from the history that has shaped the current relationship.


Monday 2nd July

09.00-11.00 James Ladyman (Bristol), "Science, Metaphysics and Method", and L. A. Paul (North Carolina), "Metaphysics as Modeling: the Handmaiden's Tale". 

11.00-11.30 Break

11.30-12.45 Helen Beebee (Manchester), "Science, Metaphysics and Humean Supervenience"

12.45-14.15 Lunch

14.15-16.15 Session on methodology, especially explanation, in metaphysics. 

  • Stephen Boulter (Oxford Brookes), "Science, Metaphysics and the Aporetic Method",
  • Brian Cutter (University of Texas at Austin), "Toward a Unified Theory of Explanation", 
  • Juha Saatsi (Leeds), "On the epistemic status of inference to the best explanation in science and philosophy"

16.15-16.45 Break

16.45-18.00 Maarten Van Dyck (Ghent), "Science and Metaphysics in the Scientific Revolution"

Tuesday 3rd July

09.00-11.00 Session on causality and relativity. 

  • Alexander Reutlinger (University of Cologne), "Can Interventionists be Neo-Russellians? A Meta-Metaphysical Puzzle for Naturalist Philosophers of Causation", 
  • Stephan Torre (LOGOS, University of Barcelona), "Restricted Diachronic Composition and Special Relativity", 
  • Fiona Roxburgh (University of East Anglia), "Structuralism and the Regulative Unity of Science; The demand for unity in the case of Special Relativity" 

11.00-11.30 Break

11.30-12.45 Maureen Donnelly (Buffalo), "Distinguished Relations"

12.45-14.15 Lunch

14.15-16.15 Jason Turner (Leeds), "Everettian Libertarianism", Alastair Wilson (Birmingham/Monash) "Everett and Underdetermination"

16.15-16.45 Break

16.45-18.00 Barry Loewer (Rutgers and CEU Institute for Advanced Study), "What Gives Direction to Time?" 

If you would like to attend, an early email (even if tentative) would be appreciated for administrative purposes. And please feel free to email with any other queries: Dr George Darby ([email protected])

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