SOPhiA 2018

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

A Computational Look at Bolzano
(Philosophical Methodology, English)

How can computers be employed to support philosophical research?
My work seeks to advance the understanding of methodological assumptions as well as technical prerequisites of computer-supported philosophy. This effort is firmly embedded within a larger research project which unites experts in philosophy, artificial intelligence (AI), and computational linguistics to combine logic-based modeling of expert knowledge about philosophical domains with natural language processing (NLP) techniques. Besides its philosophical importance, the present project pursues a methodological goal: Demonstrating the viability of harnessing computational power for philosophical research, an approach currently taken by very few researchers.
Specifically, I propose ways to use description logics (DL) together with automated theorem provers (ATPs) to support exegetical philosophy. DL are decidable fragments of first order logic, widely used in AI to model knowledge, and powerful reasoners are available for them. Additionally, I can rely on a clean, machine-readable corpus of Bernard Bolzano's philosophical writings. Combining formalization in DL, ATP, and NLP techniques, I will use these techniques to compare two conflicting interpretations of Bolzano's notion of grounding (Abfolge), that is, of explanatory proof.
Importantly, my approach goes beyond a mere formal redescription of the contentious issue. Instead, it is used to obtain computationally testable implications from an interpretation. The process looks as follows:
First, I formalize an exegetical dispute in DL as gleaned from Bolzanian scholarship.
Second, I apply ATP to the formalizations, thus obtaining its deductive closure, that is, everything that is implicitly implied by the interpretation.
Third, using NLP techniques on the Bolzano corpus, I link the output of the ATP back to the original text in order to obtain evidence regarding the interpretation and assess it.

Chair: Albert Anglberger
Time: 10:00-10:30, 14 September 2018 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.005

Silvan Hungerbuehler 
(ILLC, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Silvan Hungerbühler did his undergraduate studies at the Universität Zürich where he read Philosophy and Economics, and at the Universidad de Buenos Aires where he read Philosophy. He then moved on to the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation in Amsterdam where he is in the process of finishing with a MSc in Logic. He followed the specialization on Computation and is currently writing his master thesis at the the intersection of Philosophy and Artifical Intelligence.

Pauline van Wierst 
(Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Italy)

Pauline van Wierst completed her Master's at the VU University Amsterdam with a thesis on the concept of analitycity in Bolzano and the application of computational tools in philosophical research. She spent three semesters as a visiting student and research assistant at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend (IN), to specialize further in philosophy of mathematics. She is currently finishing her PhD at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa with a dissertation on infinite idealizations in physics, and recently started a post-doc position at the ILLC in Amsterdam within the project e-Ideas, which is dedicated to developing digital humanities tools for the history of philosophy.

Testability and Meaning deco