History and Philosophy of Science
Eötvös University, Budapest
Philosophy of Science Colloquium
Room 6.54 (6th floor) Monday 4:00 PM

Pázmány P. sétány 1/A  Budapest Phone/Fax: (36-1) 372 2924 Location?


4 October  4:00 PM   6th floor 6.54   
 Andrej Ule
 Philosophy, University of Ljubljana
Thought and Machine: Some Wittgenstein's

I analyze Wittgenstein's criticism of several assumptions that are crucial for a large part of cognitive science. These involve the concepts of computational processes in the brain which cause mental states and processes, the algorithmic processing of information in the brain (neural system), the brain as a machine, psychophysical parallelism, the thinking machine, as well as the confusion of rule following with behaviour in accordance with the rule. In my opinion, the theorists of cognitive science have not yet seriously considered Wittgenstein's criticism so they, quite surprisingly, frequently confuse the question "how does it work?" with "what does it do?" But their most "deleterious" mistake  is their confusion of the internal computational (or parallel) processes taking place in the brain (which possibly cause mental states) with socially-based, everyday criteria of recognition and classification of, and knowledge about, the content of mental states.
How to catch a thought-bird Related paper: Thought and Machine: Some Wittgensteinian Comments to Computational Modelling of Mind [DOC]

11 October  5:00 PM  CEU (Nádor u. 9), Gellner Room (2nd floor)
Joint seminar session of the
HPS Department of Eötvös University
and the CEU Mathematics Department
Mark Steiner
Philosophy, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Philosophy, Columbia University
Mathematics: Application and Applicability
This paper attempts a new classification of types of applications of mathematics by dividing applications into: (a) canonical versus noncanonical applications; (b) empirical versus nonempirical applications.  This generates four different kinds of applications, each of which has its own interest.  The canonical applications of a mathematical concept or theory are those applications the concept or theory was formulated to describe in the first place.
A good part of this paper is devoted to a new look at elementary arithmetic, with an eye to discovering its canonical applications.  One of the surprises of this paper is the discovery that some of the canonical applications of arithmetic are nonempirical, a conclusion that has importance for the teaching of arithmetic.  Another discovery with pedagogic implications is that there is a tendency to confuse arithmetic operations with their canonical applications.  If there is time, I will discuss noncanonical applications, such as those ones treated in my recent book (Harvard, 1998).

18 October  4:00 PM   6th floor 6.54   
Katalin Farkas
 Philosophy, Central European University, Budapest
Time and Tense
Temporal features of events can be characterised in two different ways: first, using the unchanging relations of Earlier than, Later than, or Simultaneous with. If an event is ever earlier than another event, it is always earlier. The second way to characterise temporal features is to use the changing categories of Past, Present, and Future; an event that was once future is now present, and soon will be past. Following McTaggart, we call the series formed by the first type of relations the B-series. and the series formed by the second categorization the A-series.
    Temporal features of events can be described in a language by tensed and tenseless expressions. The truth-value of tensed sentences depends on the time of their use, the truth-value of tenseless sentences  doesn't.
     These features may suggest an immediate affinity between tensed language and the A-series on the one hand, and tenseless language and the B-series on the other. And indeed, many philosophers argued that we can reach conclusions about the nature of time on the basis of certain features of temporal language.
     In this talk, I develop an outline of a theory of temporal language, and see whether we can infer anything from this about the nature of time. 

25 October  4:00 PM   6th floor 6.54   
Gyula Bene
 Theoretical Physics, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
Gyorsuló univerzum
(Accelerating universe)
Napjaink kozmológiája látványos és váratlan eredményeket produkál: nagy pontossággal megmérték a kozmikus háttérsugárzás szögeloszlását, a galaxisok térbeli eloszlásfüggvényét, közben kiderült, hogy az univerzum gyorsulva tágul, és hogy az általunk ismert anyag a teljes tömegnek mindössze 5 százalékát alkotja. Lehet, hogy mégis van kozmológiai állandó, amely sötét energia fedőnéven 75 százalékát adja a teljes energiának. Az előadás ezekről a kérdésekről és a ma rájuk adott magyarázatokról kiván rövid áttekintést adni. Felvetjük azt a kérdést, hogy az univerzum jövőjére vonatkozóan mit mondhatunk az új tények ismereteben.

The 60-minute lecture is followed by a 10-minute break. Then we hold a 30-60-minute discussion. The language of the presentation is indicated in the following way:
   English, except if all participants speak Hungarian
The participants may comment on the talks and are encouraged to initiate discussion through the Internet. The comments  should be written in the language of the presentation.

The organizer of the colloquium: László E. Szabó  (email: leszabo@hps.elte.hu)