Abstracts (in speaking order):
Title: Topology, Simplicity, Statistics, and my Road Trip to Sweden with Andur
Abstract: Andur has been a tremendous friend and mentor to me since my early career in the 1980s. Back in 1991, Andur and I somehow decided to do a canoe trip on the Swedish Vaenern on our way up to the LMPS conference in Stockholm. Of course, it rained hard most of the time. The canoe filled with rain, and Andur almost cut off his finger trying to make wet tinder for a fire to cook the noodles we were supposed to eat. I will never forget the image of Andur actually floating on his air mattress inside of his tent (there was about 10 cm of water inside at the time)----and enjoying it! Faroese fishermen have deep reserves that the modern world can only imagine.
Anyway, I recall that we had a little debate about the foundations of statistical inference, while walking on a rather scrappy-looking hiking trail (in the pouring rain, of course). At that time, I was writing a tome on a logico-philosophical theory of induction, whereas Andur had done gravimetric surveys for oil in the North Sea, cutting-edge programming for the interpretation of MRI scans, and a computational simulation of blood flow through the heart based on the Navier-Stokes equations. Did I feel some pressure to make my abstract ideas relevant to scientific practice? Absolutely. Did succeed at the time? No.
In this talk, I will close the circle on that fateful canoe trip by explaining (with requisite haste) how to justify inductive statistical inference from a logical (topological) viewpoint. The talk is offered in the spirit of Andur’s enduring commitment to philosophy that escapes the ivory walls of Academe, to engage and inspire a broader, scientific and technical audience.
HENNING BOJE ANDERSEN
Title: Singular causation and risk analysis
Abstract: In a recent US federal court case the judge threw out a lawsuit where parents of prematurely born babies had argued that their babies had suffered serious injuries as a result of the oxygen treatment of a clinical trial. The trial may have increased their risks, the judge wrote, but she stated that the families could not prove that the trial caused the injuries. This case illustrates a theme that I will discuss in this talk: the indeterminacy of singular causation, independent of evidence for statistical correlations. Derived from this, I will touch on the role of singular causal ascriptions in risk analysis where frequencies of certain types of accidents are entirely dependent on expert judgement.
Andur’s previous work in this area, chiefly related to philosophy of medicine and reasoning about diagnostics, has been a strong source of inspiration for this talk.
Title: On the knowledge-sociological problems in using philosophy of science methods to solve transdisciplinary problems: Andur’s contribution to interdisciplinary research across knowledge borders.
Abstract: In 1979 I was almost kicked out of biology for making a philosophy and historical analysis of Konrad Lorenz work in developing Ethology. I was saved by Jesper Hoffmeyer and Iven Reventlow, who was a behavioral psychologist, who then created a prize essay in the problem area, which I answered and got a Gold medal in psychology, which helped me getting three years of research in comparative psychology at Psychological Laboratory Coph. U. My main interdisciplinary problem was how to conceptualize the causal role of experience in cognitive and communicative behavior. At the time the dialectical materialism of Leontjev was a possible way of making a common philosophical framework for biology and psychology that really did not share a common ontological framework at the time. But when I realized that diamat could not contain a phenomenological aspect in its ontological framework I suddenly found myself in conflict with the Marxists that dominated the professional framework of rationality in the psychology department. I had no way to go further within that professional setting. I got a job at the royal Danish Library School. Here I discovered the same type of interdisciplinary problem in information science. Suddenly there was research money to upgrade your position by making a PhD I was looking for a supervisor. But who would support such a project falling outside all professional areas and without any formal PhD study and any economic compensation for the work? Andur of course. We had deep discussions about Daniel Dennet’s take on this problem and on Prigogine and Stengers revolutionary work in physics and how its introduction of irreversible time changed the ontology of the natural sciences. It was very inspirational and confirmed that I was onto something valid and interesting after all. After a couple of years I managed to finish and a year after it was published as a book. "Information er sølv ...: om muligheden for en pragmatisk informationsteori baseret på anden ordens kybernetik, semiotik og sprogspilsteori" Forlaget Biblioteksarbejde 1994. It saved my possibility of having a carrier in Academia and the rest of it has only been possible through people like Andur that had the intellectual capacity and the courage to go across knowledge borders and still keep their position in their own field. I know I am not the only one in that situation Andur has supported over the years. He became an institution in fostering interdisciplinarity in Danish academia. He gave us courage: In 2006 I became Doctor of Philosophy with "Cybersemiotics: Why Information is not Enough" published at Toronto Univ. P. in 2008, (2010, 2013).
MARTIN MOSE BENTZEN
Title: Resituating Research Objects and Model Objects within the Philosophy of Science
Abstract: Stig Andur Pedersen has had a strong interest in the philosophy of science throughout his career and up until present day, see e.g. (Pedersen, 2015). Currently, Andur and I are working on combining the important concepts of research object and model object as discussed by Andur (with various collaborators, in particular Arne Jakobsen, see (Pedersen and Jakobsen, 2003) with insights from mainstream philosophy of science, e.g. (Giere et alt., 2005). In this brief talk, I present the overall framework we have in mind by means of a visual model and explain some elements of the framework by means of a case: the work by Bialek and colleagues in the 1990’s on breaking the neural code through experimenting with the neurons of blow flies, see (Bialek et al.1991).
Bialek W., Rieke F., Van Steveninck, R.R.d.R., Warland, D. (1991). Reading a neural code. Science 252(5014):1854–1857.
Giere, R., Bickle, J., & Mauldin, R. (2005). Understanding Scientific Reasoning (5 ed.). Wadsworth Publishing.
Pedersen, S.A., Jakobsen, A. (2003). Engineering Science and Reality. Preprints and reprints, 3rd volume, Number 8, Philosophy and Theory of Science at Roskilde University .
Pedersen, S. A. (2015). The Tension between Science and Engineering Design. In S. H. Christensen, C. Didier, A. Jamison, M. Meganck, C. Mitcham, & B. Newberry (Eds.), Engineering Identities, Epistemologies and Values (pp. 179-198). Springer.
Title: The use of logic in philosophy
Abstract: Stig Andur Pedersen is known as a defender of the view that logic is important and useful in philosophical studies. In this way he agrees with A.N. Prior who has argued that logic is not only about how to handle symbols. On the contrary, logic can in fact contribute significantly to the understanding of reality. According to Prior we may even speak of the obligation of the logician to do so.
TINNE HOFF KJELDSEN
Title: The Danish Network for History and Philosophy of Mathematics: an “Andurian” fingerprint
Abstract: In the talk we will revisit some of the many activities that have taken place in the Danish Network for History and Philosophy of Mathematics. It will be a stroll down memory lane beginning with the first meeting which took place almost 20 years ago at IMFUFA, RUC, and the first application to the Danish Science Foundation for support to build the Danish Network for History and Philosophy of Mathematics. The Network is still alive and active. Many conferences, summer schools, and informal meetings have taken place since 1996. We will take a closer look at some of them, and we will meet some of the many researchers and students that have been part of, or in contact with, the Network over the years. Many of us have benefitted tremendously from the Network which was established and grew on the initiative and initial leadership of Andur and his generosity.
Title: Learning Action Models: Qualitative Approach
Abstract: In dynamic epistemic logic, actions are described using action models. In this paper, which is joint work with Nina Gierasimczuk, we introduce a framework for studying learnability of action models from observations. We present first results concerning propositional action models. First we check two basic learnability criteria: finite identifiability (conclusively inferring the appropriate action model in finite time) and identifiability in the limit (inconclusive convergence to the right action model). We show that deterministic actions are finitely identifiable, while non-deterministic actions require more learning power—they are identifiable in the limit. We then move on to a particular learning method, which proceeds via restriction of a space of events within a learning-specific action model. This way of learning closely resembles the well-known update method from dynamic epistemic logic. We introduce several different learning methods suited for finite identifiability of particular types of deterministic actions.
KLAUS FROVIN JØRGENSEN
Title: A Seminar and the Logic of Indexicals
Abstract: About 15 years ago, Andur initiated a regular logic seminar at RUC. Logic at that time didn’t play a big role in the greater Copenhagen area. But the seminar started a growing activity within logic, and at the moment logic is a very active field in the area. After reflecting on the importance of the logic seminar I will report on ongoing work (jointly together with Patrick Blackburn) on the semantics of indexicals. The work is in some sense a result of the seminar and Andur’s love (most of the time) for logic.
Title: Deus ex machina
Abstract: Andur envisioned and helped realize an original interdisciplinary technology and humanities program on Roskilde University. Through teaching this program with Andur I came to learn many things about the history and effect of technology and of Andur. In this presentation I would like to share some of my late lessons from early encounters.
Title: Between Mathematics, Astronomy, and Philosophy
Abstract: In a 1989 textbook on philosophy of science, Andur and I included a brief section on Gauss’ early ideas concerning non-Euclidean geometry and its possible relevance for physical space. Although what we wrote was largely correct, there is much more to the story. In my presentation I will outline the not-well-known case of non-Euclidean astronomy before Einstein and general relativity. It is a rather nice case-study of the interaction between mathematics, philosophy and empirical science.
FREDERIK VOETMANN CHRISTIANSEN
Title: Teaching and research in a changed University
Abstract: Teaching and research are the main tasks of the universities, and ideally there is a strong interplay between the two tasks. Common explorations of problems and subjects in teaching may feed into the research and conversely. The project work at RUC is (at its best) a good example of how this may work. Historically, the idea has been supported politically by providing universities with a basic funding for both teaching and research, and a general policy that staff should engage in both types of activity. I will present data showing how this situation has changed in recent years, and discuss implications for the quality of teaching and research.
PELLE GULDBORG HANSEN
Title: Breaking the Rules of Rationality
Abstract: As a champion of rationality Andur has always aspired to conform to its rules and axioms. Looking at the students he choose he obviously failed. In this brief talk, I will explain why - and why Andur, though like any other human being an irrational one, is a particular fine example of his species.