Prof. Dr. Michael Stöltzner

November 1st 2021 until April 30th, 2022

Affiliation: University of South Carolina

Research for a study about:

Categoricity and Completeness: Two Ideals of mathematical physics and its Philosophy

I am investigating the guiding role that logical motives from the foundational debates of the 1920s and 1930s have played in the axiomatization of physical theories and mathematical physics more generally. A specific focus lies (i) in the various notions of completeness emerging in early model theory and the foundations of geometry, and (ii) in the precise meaning of categoricity and its role in the axiomatization of quantum mechanics. Among the guiding overall questions are: (i) What is the relationship, in mathematical physics, between foundational motives and more specific goals, such as obtaining a more rigorous or a more general answer to a physical problem? (ii) Do the mentioned logical motives function as quality criteria for axiomatic structures in physics along the lines of structural realism, or are they also attractive for a problem-centered research agenda? (iii) If foundational motives act as guiding principles rather than figure in ex post logical analyses of theory structures, does this require taking logic ‘as a calculus’ instead of ‘a universal language’ in the sense of the Heijenoort-Hinitkka distinction?

Michael Stöltzner is professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina and a founding Co-PI of the interdisciplinary DFG-FWF Research Unit “Epistemology of the Large Hadron Collider”. He has held positions at the Universities of Salzburg, Bielefeld, and Wuppertal, and was a visiting scholar at UC Irvine; the Universities of Notre Dame, Vienna, and Bielefeld; the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy; the Deutsches Museum in Munich; and the University of Stockholm. His main areas of research are the philosophy of elementary particle physics, especially the dynamics of models and explanations; the philosophy of mathematical physics and applied mathematics; history of philosophy of science, especially the Vienna Circle and the debates about causality and probability in the early 20th century; and the principle of least action and formal teleology. He has won the 2021 Russell Research Award for Humanities and Social Science of the University of South Carolina.


Foundational motives in heuristic gear: On the philosophical virtues and scientific limits of categoricity and completeness in mathematical physics

Date:  January 17th, 2022

Time: 5–6.30 pm (CET)

Online Plattform: Please find further information at Logik Café

Abstract: To appear soon