The news archive of the German Society for Philosophy of Science (GWP).

Submitted by Erik Curiel (MCMP, LMU Munich).


Topical Issue of Synthese Call for Papers: “All Things Reichenbach”

Guest Editors:
Erik Curiel
Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, LMU Munich
Black Hole Initiative, Harvard University

Flavia Padovani
English and Philosophy Department, Drexel University, Philadelphia

Topical Collection Description:

Hans Reichenbach is among the most important philosophers of science of the Twentieth Century and without doubt one of the most prominent philosophers of physics of the first half of the past century. His work has ramified in fundamental ways into virtually every major debate in the philosophy of science and physics. While Reichenbach’s philosophical project is no longer seen as viable as a whole, his work continues to be influential often in unnoticed but deep ways. Although many of his ideas still retain their interest and are discussed in current philosophy of science, he remains, in fact, one of the least understood and least carefully studied philosophical thinkers of his time. Because his own work has not been well understood, his influence is not widely recognized. The primary aim of this collection is to fill this gap by illuminating his contributions to advances in many fields in philosophy, and his legacy in the context of current philosophical research across the discipline as a whole. The theme of the collection, therefore, will be an investigation of his work both in its own context and in its continuing contemporary influence in current philosophy. This collection aims, moreover, at reviving the tradition of inter-disciplinary collaboration that was at the heart of Reichenbach’s vision for intellectual work, promoting the cross-pollination of ideas that discussion across traditional disciplinary boundaries can create and so exploring ways in which his insights can continue to be valuable in current scientific and formal approaches to philosophy. It is, in that spirit, a sequel to the conference “All Things Reichenbach” that took place at the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (LMU Munich) in July 2019 (

Appropriate topics for submission include, among others:

1. geometry, space and relativity
2. the relativized a priori and conventionalism
3. coordination and measurement
4. causality and time
5. statistical mechanics and thermodynamics
6. realism, empiricism and scientific philosophy
7. reasoning, induction and confirmation
8. logic and probability

Any other topic related to Reichenbach is also welcome. As emphasized above, submitted papers can focus on Reichenbach’s own work in its historical context, on the influence of his work in contemporary debates, or on approaches to contemporary problems inspired by his work.

It is the aim of the editors that the selected papers will complement each other, both within each category and across categories.

The link for submitting your manuscript to Synthese, along with instructions for doing so, will be sent soon in a subsequent posting.

For further information, please contact the guest editors:
Erik Curiel
Flavia Padovani

The deadline for submissions is 15 November 2020.

Erik Curiel, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat, Munich, Germany
Flavia Padovani, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Submitted by Catherine Herfeld (University of Zurich).


CFP: Synthese Topical Collection: Concept Formation in the Natural and Social Sciences: Empirical and Normative Aspects


Guest Editors:
Georg Brun (University of Bern, Switzerland)
Catherine Herfeld (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
Kevin Reuter (University of Zurich, Switzerland)


Topic overview:
Concept formation has recently become a widely discussed topic in philosophy under the headings of “conceptual engineering”, “conceptual ethics”, and “ameliorative analysis”. Much of this work has been inspired either by the method of explication or by ameliorative projects. In the former case, concept formation is usually seen as a tool of the sciences, of formal disciplines, and of philosophy. In the latter case, concept formation is seen as a tool in the service of social progress. While recent philosophical discussions on concept formation have addressed natural sciences such as physics as well as various life sciences, so far there is only little direct engagement with the social sciences. To address this shortcoming is important because many debates about socially relevant concepts such as power, gender, democracy, risk, justice, or rationality, may best be understood as engaging in conceptual engineering. This topical collection addresses the nature and structure of concept formation in the natural and the social sciences alike, both as a process taking place within science and as an activity that aims at a broader impact in society. This will foster understanding of how concept formation proceeds not only in the natural sciences but also in disciplines such as psychology, cognitive science, political science, sociology and economics. Thereby, we aim at expanding the scope of the philosophical debate about concept formation more generally.


Papers could address questions such as:

  • Which methods of concept formation should be distinguished and why do scholars select them?
  • What are similarities and differences between concept formation in the natural and the social sciences?
  • How does concept formation in the social sciences work in specific cases?
  • How does and how should empirical research into concept use bear on concept formation?
  • How is concept formation shaped by factors such as current language use, measurement, theoretical virtues, and socio-political goals?
  • Do values enter processes of concept formation in science generally, and in the social sciences in particular?

We will consider projects that use either a systematic, a historical, or an empirical approach. We are particularly interested in experimental-philosophical work (e.g., questionnaire studies, corpus analysis) that discusses its use and/or its consequences for explicating or engineering socially-relevant concepts.


The deadline for submissions is 30th September, 2020.


For more information, please contact the guest editors.

Georg Brun:
Catherine Herfeld:
Kevin Reuter:

Submitted by Sander Verhaegh (TiLPS, Tilburg University).


CfP: 4th TiLPS History of Analytic Philosophy Workshop

On December 14 and 15, 2020, the Tilburg Center for Moral Philosophy, Epistemology, and Philosophy of Science (TiLPS) organizes the fourth annual TiLPS History of Analytic Philosophy workshop. This workshop aims to bring together researchers interested in a wide range of topics and thinkers from the history of analytic philosophy (broadly conceived).

Confirmed keynotes

  • Michael Beaney (Humboldt University of Berlin & University of Aberdeen)
  • Esther Ramharter (Institute Vienna Circle/University of Vienna)
  • Sami Pihlström (University of Helsinki)

Submission guidelines
Please submit an extended abstract (max. 1000 words) and a short abstract (max. 100 words) suitable for blind review. Submissions in all areas of the history of analytic philosophy are welcome. Especially contributions that discuss underexplored thinkers, topics, and traditions are encouraged. The deadline for submissions is July 1. Please send your abstracts to TiLPS[at]

The proceedings of the workshop will be published as a special issue of Logique et Analyse. When you submit your abstract, please indicate whether you would like it to be considered for inclusion in the special issue.

Dates and Deadlines
July 1: Submission deadline
September 1: Notifications
December 14-15: Workshop

Programme committee
Filip Buekens (TiLPS, Tilburg University)
Sander Verhaegh (TiLPS, Tilburg University)
Nathan Wildman (TiLPS, Tilburg University)

More information Information about the workshop can be found at If you have any questions regarding the workshop, please email us at A.A.Verhaegh[at]

COVID-19 update
Given the ongoing uncertainties about the pandemic, we are currently working on a plan B, which includes the option of holding a virtual congress instead of a face-to-face meeting. If the organization should decide to move the conference online, contributors will be informed well in advance.

Submitted by Kian Salimkhani (Universität Bonn) and Niels Linnemann (Universität Bremen).


Aktuelle Information aufgrund der COVID-19 Krise:
Leider muss die Veranstaltung auf Grund der COVID-19 Krise auf einen späteren Zeitpunkt, voraussichtlich Dezember 2020, verschoben werden. Wir bemühen uns, einen neuen Termin so schnell wie möglich bekanntzugeben; die Terminfindung soll in Absprache mit allen ausgewählten Teilnehmer*innen erfolgen. Bei Fragen, bitte einfach eine Email an schicken.

Neue Bewerbungsfrist: 31. Mai 2020


Veranstaltung: 2. Wochenendseminar zur Philosophie der Physik: Philosophie der Quantenmechanik


Der Workshop richtet sich insbesondere an Bachelor- und Masterstudierende der Physik und der Philosophie und hat zum Ziel, mittels Fachvorträgen (von Sibylle Anderl, Manfred Stöckler, Marij van Strien und Stefan Wolf), einführender Vorlesungen (von Niels Linnemann und Kian Salimkhani) und vertiefender Diskussionsgruppen (geleitet von Jamee Elder, Milla Lifke und Niels Martens) das Forschungsgebiet der Philosophie der Physik vorzustellen.

Hinweis: Zu den Fachvorträgen sind alle Interessierten herzlich eingeladen, eine Anmeldung ist nicht nötig.

Vorkenntnisse in Physik und Philosophie sind nicht erforderlich.

Die Übernachtungen (inklusive Frühstück) der offiziellen (und nicht aus Bremen kommenden) Teilnehmer*innen während des Zeitraums der Sommerschule werden organisiert und bezahlt. Auch Reisekosten können bei Bedarf erstattet werden (hierzu bitte bei der Bewerbung angeben, ob Reisekostenzuschüsse gewünscht sind).

Wir freuen uns auf eure Bewerbungen!

Bewerbungsfrist: 31. Mai 2020

Veranstaltungsort und -zeit: Universität Bremen; der Termin wird aufgrund der COVID-19 Krise erst zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt festgelegt. Die Terminfindung soll in Absprache mit allen ausgewählten Teilnehmer*innen erfolgen.

Unterlagen: kurzes Motivationsschreiben (max. eine Seite) und Lebenslauf


Website: Aktuelle Informationen werden unter bekannt gegeben.

Organisation: Niels Linnemann und Kian Salimkhani

Submitted by Alexander Gebharter (University of Groningen).



Due to the recent CORONA-19 pandemic the organising committee decided to cancel this year’s SOPhiA conference (originally planned for September 2020). The reason for this is that recent developments make the near future too unpredictable. But even if the conference could, in the end, take place in September 2020, we would be worried that we cannot guarantee the safety of our participants. The next conference, SOPhiA 2021, will be announced as usual later this year, probably in December.

Stay safe and best wishes,

The SOPhiA Organising Committee

Submitted by Leonie Wiemeyer (Leibniz Universität Hannover).


Leibniz University Hannover and Bielefeld University (Germany) invite applications for the position of

5 Doctoral Candidates (m/f/d) (salary scale E13 TV-L, 65%) in Ethics of Science and/or Philosophy of Science

starting 1 October 2020, within the Graduiertenkolleg (research training group) GRK 2073 “Integrating Ethics and Epistemology of Scientific Research”.

The positions are limited to 3 years. At least two of the positions
are expected to be located at Leibniz University Hannover and at least two at Bielefeld University.

For further information, please see

Submitted by Paul Hasselkuß (Heinrich Heine University).


31st Novembertagung on the History and Philosophy of Mathematics

November 26th–28th 2020
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

The Novembertagung is an international graduate conference on the history and philosophy of mathematics and neighbouring fields. It aims to provide an opportunity for graduate students at all levels to present and discuss their research in an informal and safe environment. It also allows young researchers to share experiences, get advice and establish new contacts.

On the theme: While Euclid (c. 3rd century BC) is usually celebrated as the beginning of axiomatic science, many features that are nowadays taken to be essential to axiomatics –– such as the explicit statement of inference rules and the requirement of primitive, undefined notions –– appear to be alien to ancient mathematics. A major contemporary change in the view on axiomatics was initiated by the adoption of the set-theoretic axiomatic framework as a foundation of mathematics in the first half of the 20th century. Proof theory and model theory subsequently developed as independent research fields and had a wide impact on philosophical thought. On the other hand, some philosophers also argue that the axiomatic view on mathematics may be harmful in that it omits fundamental aspects of mathematical practice and idealizes mathematical reasoning in an unfaithful way.

Suggested topics include, but are not restricted to the following:

  • Axiomatics in ancient Greek philosophy and mathematics
  • Pre-Euclidean axiomatics
  • Criticism of ancient Greek mathematics from an axiomatic viewpoint
  • Historical case studies of the development of axiomatics after Greek antiquity
  • Axiomatics in contemporary mathematics
  • The use of axiomatic tools in disciplines besides mathematics
  • Axiomatics in actual mathematical practice
  • The scope and limits of axiomatization

Note that the theme of axiomatics is meant to be a guideline and will not serve as an exclusionary factor for the selection of submissions.

Deadline for submission: 1st July, 2020. Abstracts should be submitted using our form: (in English, around 250-350 words, prepared for blind review). Notifications will be sent out in August. Submissions by graduate student members of an underrepresented group in History of Mathematics or Philosophy of Mathematics are particularly encouraged.

Bursaries: For those who are unable to obtain funding for travel and accommodation from their home institutions, every effort will be made to cover travel and accommodation costs at least in part, if not fully. Please indicate in your application whether you intend to apply for such a grant. There is no conference registration fee.

Organization: Paul Hasselkuß (Universität Düsseldorf), Tiago Hirth (ULisboa), Deborah Kant (Universität Konstanz), Deniz Sarikaya (Universität Hamburg), Tobias Schütz (Universität Mainz), Anna Kiel Steensen (ETH Zurich), and Benjamin Wilck (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin).

This event is hosted by the Research Training Group Philosophy, Science and the Sciences of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and generously supported by the Chair for Logic and Philosophy of Language of the Department of Philosophy of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Contact: For any query, do not hesitate to send us an e-mail at novembertagung2020 [at] gmail [dot] com. Further information can be found here:

On Covid-19: We are monitoring the pandemic which might make it necessary to postpone the event or to opt for alternatives.

Submitted by Benedikt Loewe (DLMPST/IUHPST)


The Executive Committee of DLMPST is sad to report that Mario Bunge
passed away last month. We celebrated his life and work at CLMPST 2019 in Prague with a mini-symposium. You can find a brief obituary on the website of the DLMPST at:

Submitted by Florian J. Boge (University of Wuppertal).


Synthese Topical Collection on
Simplicity out of Complexity? Physics and the Aims of Science

Deadline: 31 July 2020

Guest Editors
Florian J. Boge (University of Wuppertal)
Paul Grünke (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)
Martin King (University of Bonn)
Miguel Ángel Carretero Sahuquillo (University of Wuppertal)

The world we live in is notoriously complex: there is an outright zoo of material particles, a vast variety of different species, a whole plethora of stars and galaxies, and so forth. Yet many scientific achievements, such as the Standard Model of particle physics or Darwin’s theory of natural selection, allow us to manage part of this complexity by means of a simple set of laws or general rules.
Simplicity has often been assumed to be an epistemic ideal, most clearly exemplified in physics, with its trend towards encompassing theories that feature only a small number of fundamental laws, capable of explaining a large number of diverse phenomena.
This view of science, with physics at the center stage, has arguably provided the dominant narrative in mainstream philosophy of science throughout the 20th century. Yet many questions arise when one zooms in on the details. For instance: in what sense can the laws of physics be said to be simple, when concrete computations based on them are tedious or even impossible? How do notions of simplicity differ across the sciences, and what are their commonalities? Does the striving for simplification of perceived complexity imply an unjustified reductionism? Is simplicity really an epistemic ideal or just endorsed for pragmatic reasons, and maybe even an unreliable guide to truth? If so, what should it be replaced with?
The aim of this Topical Collection is to bring together contributions from different fields, such as (the philosophy of) physics, biology, economy, psychology, linguistics, or general philosophy of science. Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • epistemic vs. practical: Is simplicity an epistemic goal of science or just a practical benefit? (Why) should theories aim for simplicity, or (why) not?
  • physics vs. other sciences: Does the complexity of the world largely preclude simple science? Is complexity also an aim of the special sciences? Does contemporary physics really aim at simplicity?
  • the concept of simplicity in science: What does it mean to be a ‘simple’ theory? What is simplicity? Can there be a unified account of simplicity or should one embrace pluralism?

We invite contributions from the full spectrum of disciplines and their respective philosophies, scientists and scholars reflecting on their respective and neighboring research fields, as well as historians, philosophers and sociologists of science investigating the epistemologies, practices, and discourses of fellow epistemic communities.

For further information, please contact the guest editors:
Florian J. Boge
Paul Grünke
Martin King
Miguel Ángel Carretero Sahuquillo

The deadline for submissions is 31 July 2020
Submit your paper through the Synthese Editorial Manager under a dedicated heading entitled “T.C.: Simplicity out of Complexity? Physics and the Aim of Science”. Please visit Editorial Manager® ( and select this heading when submitting the manuscript.

Submitted papers will be peer-reviewed as per usual journal practice. At least two reviewers will be assigned to each paper and final decisions will be taken by Synthese Editors in Chief, following the recommendation of the Guest Editors, which is based on the reviewers’ reports. Please prepare papers for anonymous reviews.

Submitted by Silvia Jonas (MCMP, LMU Munich).


The Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy invites registrations for the following event:

Mathematics and Analogical Reasoning

MCMP, LMU Munich

11-12 September, 2020



The goal of this conference is to investigate the role of mathematics as a heuristic device for analogical reasoning in science and philosophy.


QUESTIONS we aim to address at the conference include (but are not limited to):

  • How can a positive mathematical analogy generate support for a particular theoretical view about otherwise disconnected physical systems?
  • Can we be sure that epistemic lessons from one domain carry over to another domain, given that there are always known points of disanalogy? If so, how?
  • Does the fact that shared mathematical structures can generate new scientific insights have a bearing on (enhanced) indispensability arguments for mathematical realism?
  • How can a mathematical analogy generate understanding of one system given our understanding of the model system?
  • What is an adequate methodology for analogical reasoning about meta-empirical domains (like mathematics or ethics)?
  • Are the mathematical background assumptions of recent arguments featuring mathematical analogies plausible (specifically in light of recent pluralist developments in set theory)?


More Information is available on the conference website:


The conference also has a PhilEvents website:


In order to register please visit the conference website ( or contact Silvia Jonas ( for further information.



  • Silvia Jonas (MCMP/LMU Munich)
  • Mark Colyvan (University of Sydney/MCMP)



Submitted by Rose Trappes (Bielefeld University).


Workshop: Niche Construction and Other Mechanisms in Ecology & Evolution

2-3 July 2020, Bielefeld University

Evolutionary and ecological theories have been developed separately, often concerning different phenomena and time scales, and with different explanatory goals. Yet the many points of connection between the two fields call for cooperation and integration between ecologists and evolutionary biologists and for integrative philosophical reflection. For instance, niche construction theory has been developed by evolutionary biologists to describe how changes made by organisms to their environments can cause evolutionary change. Niche construction is evidently just as much an ecological as an evolutionary mechanism, yet its meaning and relevance for ecology and for evolution has yet to be assessed.

This workshop brings together philosophers, ecologists, and evolutionary biologists interested in niche construction, mechanisms, fitness, and function. Our goal is to clarify the concept of niche construction and to discuss in how far it can be distinguished from related concepts, such as the extended phenotype. Niche construction (as well as niche choice and niche conformance) seems to be a paradigmatic example of an ecological (or ecological-evolutionary) mechanism. We will thus use this case to discuss more generally how the concept of a mechanism, developed primarily in regard to fields such as molecular biology and neuroscience, can be applied to the ecological and evolutionary context. Furthermore, we will examine the roles that concepts of fitness and function play in studies of niche construction mechanisms. We hope that thinking about niche construction in terms of mechanisms, fitness and function will contribute to overcome some of the challenges of integrating ecology and evolutionary biology.
This workshop takes place as part of the DFG-funded Collaborative Research Centre at the University of Münster, Bielefeld University and Jena University “A Novel Synthesis of Individualisation across Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution: Niche Choice, Niche Conformance, Niche Construction (NC³)”.

Confirmed Speakers

  • Jan Baedke (Ruhr University Bochum)
  • Tina Heger (University of Potsdam)
  • Arnaud Pocheville (Paul Sabatier University and University of Sydney)
  • Lynn Chiu (University of Bordeaux and St. Andrews University)
  • Viorel Pâslaru (University of Dayton)
  • Grant Ramsey (KU Leuven)
  • Etienne Roux (University of Bordeaux)
  • Joachim Kurtz (University of Münster)

Student bursaries
We offer a limited number of travel grants (up to 250 EUR for travel and accommodation) for students and PhD students to participate in the workshop. If you want to apply, please include a brief letter of motivation and your CV with your registration for the workshop.

Registration and further information
For more information and the full programme, check the website.
To register, contact Rose Trappes at


  • Marie I. Kaiser (Bielefeld University)
  • Rose Trappes (Bielefeld University)
  • Ulrich Krohs (University of Münster)
  • Behzad Nematipour (University of Münster)

Submitted by Andrea Reichenberger (Paderborn University).


Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, sehr geehrte Kolleg*innen,

Wir möchten Ihnen den Pilot für ein Mentoring-Programm für akademische Philosoph*innen von SWIP Germany e.V. vorstellen und Sie einladen, bei Interesse als Mentor*in oder Mentee teilzunehmen.

Mit diesem Programm möchte SWIP Germany einen Beitrag zur Geschlechtergerechtigkeit und Chancengleichheit leisten und dazu beitragen, die Unterrepräsentation von Frauen auf den höheren Qualifikationsstufen (vor allem auf der Ebene von PostDocs und Professor*innen) zu beheben, die in der deutschsprachigen akademischen Philosophie nach wie vor besteht.

Wir wollen “Nachwuchs”wissenschaftler*innen die Möglichkeit bieten, Wissenschaftler*innen, die bereits einige Karrierestufen weiter sind, punktuell und zu konkreten Problemen um Rat zu fragen. Anders als bei anderen Mentoring-Programmen geht es nicht zwingend um eine längerfristige Mentoring-Beziehung. Wir haben folgendes Vorgehen geplant:

– Die Mentor*innen geben in einem Formular an, zu welchen Themen sie Tipps geben können und wollen:

– Potentielle Mentees können ein Formular ausfüllen und die Themen angeben, zu welchen sie Beratungsbedarf haben:

– SWIP Germany sucht eine*n passende*n Mentor*in und fragt an, ob diese*r für ein Gespräch zu den von der Mentee angegebenen Themen zur Verfügung steht. Das Gespräch kann persönlich, telefonisch oder über Skype erfolgen und soll in der Regel nicht mehr als max. 1,5 Stunden in Anspruch nehmen.

–  Wir behandeln Ihr Engagement natürlich vertraulich, d.h. SWIP Germany veröffentlicht nicht, wer als Mentor*in oder Mentee involviert ist.

– Gerne können potentielle Mentorinnen zugleich auch Ihr Interesse äußern, Mentees zu sein. Das heißt konkret: Haben Sie als Mentorin das Formular ausgefüllt, dürfen Sie auch gerne das Formular für Mentees einreichen.

SWIP Germany bemüht sich darum, kein*e Mentor*in überproportional oft für Beratungsgespräche anzufragen, und zudem muss natürlich kein*e Mentor*in jede einzelne Anfrage annehmen. Ebenso können Mentees bestimmte Personen als Mentoren ablehnen. Wir sind dankbar, wenn Sie sich ein- bis zweimal im Jahr Zeit dafür nehmen, einer “Nachwuchs”wissenschaftlerin mit Ihrem Wissen zur Seite zu stehen!

Website des Programms:

Falls Sie Rückfragen oder Anregungen zum Programm haben, zögern Sie bitte nicht, sich bei uns zu melden:

Wir freuen uns über Ihr Engagement für mehr Chancengleichheit in der deutschsprachigen Philosophie.

Mit den besten Grüßen
Ihr SWIP-Mentoring-Team: Christine Bratu, Lisa Herzog, Insa Lawler, Johanna Müller, Andrea Reichenberger, Almut von Wedelstaedt