This course is co-taught with Fabrice Correia, Joshua Babic, Lorenzo Cocco.

Important philosophers have been captivated by the revolution in formal logic during the 20th century. Many of their arguments rest on new mathematical discoveries. Hilary Putnam has argued that the Löwenheim-Skølem theorem refutes the existence of an objective and mind-independent world. Bas van Fraassen has contended that arguments in the philosophy of science against empiricism are ineffective against a semantic approach to theories. W. V. O. Quine has maintained that the distinction between analytic and synthetic truths is trivialised by the fact that all theories are reducible to theories in which all theorems are analytic.

This seminar will analyse these arguments and others through a detailed investigation of their underlying logical facts. We will give a systematic presentation of key notions such as theory, equivalence, translation, reduction, and model.

The seminar will be held in English and presupposes only an introductory course in predicate logic.

Course Requirements

If this seminar is taken for credit, please let us know. You will have to fulfill requirements, depending on the module for which you are taking this course. For credit in philosophy:

- travail écrit de recherche avec soutenance (env. 25 pages, 50'000 signes)
- travail écrit de recherche (env. 12 pages, 24'000 signes) et présentation orale durant le séminaire
- travail écrit de recherche (env. 12 pages, 24'000 signes) ou présentation orale durant le séminaire

Our expectation is that everyone prepares the assigned readings ahead of time, actively participates in the seminar (including those featuring a guest speaker), and accepts a reasonable share of presentation duties.

Course Materials

Course materials such as lecture notes, handouts, etc may be made available as they will be used in class.

The readings for this seminar will be centred around the recently published monograph by Hans Halvorson:

  • Halvorson, Hans (2019). The Logic in Philosophy of Science. Cambridge University Press. An electronic version of this book is available here.
  • All other reading materials will be made available on Moodle.

Schedule (Fall 2020)

This is the schedule for the seminar. It is subject to adjustment. Reading marked with an asterisk (*) are not mandatory.

Date Readings Presenter(s)
23.09. Halvorson (2019, 1-18) Course instructors
30.09. Sklar (1982) Lorenzo Lorenzetti
07.10. Glymour (1970) Enrico Cinti
14.10. Putnam (1983) Alberto Corti
21.10. Quine (1964); *Quine and Goodman (1940) Lorenzo Cocco
28.10. Wilson (1965); *van Fraassen (2011) Joshua Babic
04.11. No seminar (semaine de lecture)
11.11. Halvorson (2019, 247-257); *Carnap (1966) Fabrice Correia
18.11. Lewis (1970) Lorenzo Lorenzetti
25.11. Putnam (1977); *Button (2013) Lorenzo Cocco
02.12. Halvorson (2019, 257-283) Joshua Babic
09.12. Hirsch (2002) Claudio Calosi
16.12. Barrett and Halvorson (2017) Guest seminar: Hans Halvorson