Below is a description of each of the symposia we will organise. If you have a question about a symposium, please contact the symposium organiser(s) at their personal email-address.

If you want to present a paper at a symposium, please upload an abstract in PDF format (between 500 and 1000 words) to EasyChair before 1 April 2013. You will be asked to choose between one of the following submission categories:

  • Logical analysis of scientific reasoning processes
  • Methodological and epistemological analysis of scientific reasoning processes
  • Symposium submission

Select the last option and mention the symposium number in the title of your abstract.

If you do not have an EasyChair account you can create one here.

All abstracts for symposia will be refereed by the organisers and other members of the programme committee. Notification of acceptance will be given by 15 May 2013.

Description of Symposia

Logic and action (Mathieu Beirlaen)

The concept of action is of central interest to a wide variety of disciplines, including economics, psychology, linguistics, law, computer science and artificial intelligence. In philosophy, actions have been – and still are – under intensive study. From these philosophical inquiries sprang a discipline in which our actions are studied in a formally precise way. Pioneers in the logical  investigation of the concept of action include Alan Ross Anderson, Stig Kanger, Georg Henrik von Wright and Ghent’s own Leo Apostel.

For this session, we invite submissions related to the formal study of actions. Topics may include:

  • Stit theory
  • Dynamic logic
  • Formal semantics of action
  • Formal ontology of action
  • Agency and logics of knowledge
  • Agency and temporal logic
  • Agency and logics of belief/desire/intention
  • Agency and logics of plans/goals
  • Formal theories of collective/social/cooperative actions
  • Formal theories of deliberative/intentional/voluntary actions


Mathematics and Computation: historical and epistemological issues (Liesbeth De Mol)

Traditionally, mathematics is the home of computation. This is one of the reasons why ``eo ipso computers are mathematical machines'' (Dijkstra, 1985). Therefore, it is not surprising that when the first electronic computers were being developed it was to study and solve mathematical problems. It was partly by way of (applied) mathematics, viz. through the simulation of mathematical models, that the other sciences like biology, physics, etc started to feel the impact of the computer.

While several mathematicians have, in the meantime, embraced massive computation, this almost natural relation between computation and mathematics is not always evaluated positively, as witnessed, for instance, by some of the commotion that still surrounds computer-assisted proofs like the four-color theorem. Such commotion lays bare some fundamental issues within (the philosophy of) mathematics and challenges our understanding of notions such as proof, mathematical understanding, abstraction, etc.  Because of this natural and problematic relation between computation, computers and mathematics, the impact of computation and computers on mathematics, and vice versa, is far from trivial.

The aim of this special session is to bring together researchers to reflect on this relation by way of a historical and/or epistemological analysis. We welcome contributions from mathematicians, computer scientists, historians and philosophers with a strong interest in history and epistemology. Topics include but are not restricted to:

  • discrete vs. continuous mathematics
  • time and processes in mathematics
  • mathematical software systems (e.g. Mathematica, Maple, etc)
  • computer-assisted proofs (e.g. Hales' proof)
  • "experimental" mathematics
  • computation before or without the electronic computer
  • numerical tables
  • role of programs in mathematics
  • on-line mathematics (e.g. Polymath or Sloane's encyclopedia)
  • mathematical style(s)


Causality in/and Medicine (Bert Leuridan& Leen De Vreese)

The concept of causality is of central importance to (the philosophy of) medicine. In medical diagnosis one infers from the presence of a set of symptoms to the possible diseases by which they may be caused. A central goal of medical research is to find the cause(s) of diseases. A central tenet of evidence-based medicine is that drugs and therapies should be tested for their causal effectiveness (and possible side-effects, etc.) on the basis of solid and reliable evidence. We invite contributions in which the relations between causality and medicine are explored. Which concept of causality best suits medical practice? What is the use of causal knowledge in medicine? What evidence can be used to infer causal relations in medicine? etc.


Proofs, programs, procedures: formal and epistemic issues (Giuseppe Primiero)

The proof-theoretical understanding of logical relations and properties has received in the last 40 years a significantly new impact from the intuition underlying the so-called Curry-Howard Isomorphism: the contextual validity of a proof is equivalent to the executability of a program in a network. Given the large impact of this identity on theoretical aspects of logic and their applications, bridging formal properties of proofs with computational aspects of programs is of huge importance. Besides the purely syntactical relation between (proof-)validity and (program-) correctness, proof theories for modal, temporal, dynamic logics can be used to verify software and hardware specification in a decidable way. In the debate between denotational and procedural semantics of proramming languages a similar paradigm change is at stake where the standard approach to truth is replaced by provability of type preservation and termination of procedures.

Proofs, programs, procedures represent the foundational elements in this novel understanding of traditional logical problems. In this session we will explore formal and epistemic issues that are relevant to proof-theoretical and type-theoretical systems, program logics and procedural semantics. Topics of interest include but are not restricted to:

  • proof-theories and type-theories for multi-agent systems, distributed and parallel computing
  • formal and meta-theoretical issues in modal, temporal, concurrent systems
  • applications of proof-theoretical and type-theoretical models to issues of trust, security, reliability, functioning and malfunctioning
  • type-checking, proof-checking and automatization
  • procedural semantics for epistemic purposes

Rational Disagreement in Science (Dunja Seselja & Christian Strasser)

The role and significance of disagreement among scientists is one of the key issues in contemporary philosophy of science and (social) epistemology. On the one hand, disagreement is sometimes regarded as a threat to scientific rationality and the objectivity of scientific  knowledge. On the other hand, disagreement is also considered to be fruitful and even essential for pluralism in scientific theory and practice. The aim of this symposium is to explore this tension. In  particular, we aim to highlight the question, whether certain types of disagreement can be regarded as rational, and if so, what kind of consequences does such disagreement have for scientific rationality  and objectivity. We welcome papers discussing issues such as:

  • Is there rational disagreement in science?
  • Rational disagreement and expertise
  • Disagreement as a threat to rationality and objectivity in science
  • (Rational) disagreement and incommensurability
  • What are the epistemological, semantic, ontological, etc. features of rational disagreement in science?
  • Different types of (or different roles of) rational disagreement in different types of theory assessment (pursuit worthiness, theory acceptance, theory endorsement etc.)
  • Rational disagreement and the fact/value distinction
  • Sociological and psychological features of rational disagreement in science
  • Rational disagreement at the object- and meta-level
  • Resolvability of rational disagreement in science
  • Methodological fruitfulness of rational disagreement in science
  • Distinguishing features of rational disagreement in science (in contrast to rational disagreement in other contexts)
  • Formal models of rational disagreement
  • Rational disagreement, heuristics and ampliative reasoning.


Functional analysis and explanation (Dingmar van Eck)

Functional analysis is considered an important aspect of explanation in several scientific domains. For instance, functional decomposition is an often used research technique in domains like neuroscience, cognitive science and engineering science. This importance also gets highlighted in philosophical analyses of explanation in these domains; function ascription and functional decomposition are taken to play a key role in the construction of mechanistic explanations and are also emphasized in dynamical (embodied cognition) explanations.

Yet, what is the precise relevance/explanatory import of functional analyses for explanation? For which explanatory tasks are they suited? This symposium aims to explore these questions. We invite contributions related to functional analysis and explanation. Topics may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Function ascriptions play a key role in the construction of mechanistic explanations. Yet, this relevance is less emphasized in assessing the adequacy of such explanations. Evaluations are rather advanced in terms of norms that mechanistic explanations ought to meet. Can functional analysis play a more substantial role in evaluative tasks as well?
  • Although functional analysis plays a key role in constructing mechanistic explanations, the end result, a model of a mechanism, does not include functional descriptions.  Is functional analysis then still relevant to make intelligible how phenomena are produced by mechanisms, or is this use rendered otiose once mechanistic models are in place? And how to think about the relevance of functional analysis in the case of malfunctioning mechanisms?
  • Recently, mechanistic analyses have been expanded to novel domains, such as astrophysics, engineering science and embodied cognitive science. Does functional analysis play a similar role here as in the traditional domains?  What are the commonalities and differences of functional analysis across domains?
  • The concept of technical function is used by engineering scientists systematically in a variety of meanings, and it has been argued that also biologists employ a variety of notions of biological function. Given this ambiguity of function, how to understand the aim and scope of philosophical function theories that aim to cover biology and/or engineering science yet advance specific meanings of function? Do such theories count as empirically-informed conceptual analyses of these domains, or are they better seen as choices for or stipulations of what count as engineering and biological functions, respectively? In addition, what are the ramifications of functional ambiguity for mechanistic analyses/explanations that hinge on a single meaning of function and are intended to cover these domains? More generally, how to understand the relationships between particular concepts of function and explanation-seeking contexts?
  • Some authors make much of the distinction between constitutive and causal relevance of mechanisms, whereas others question the distinction and argue that constitutive relevance threatens to imply causal relevance. How to understand function ascription in the context of this (disputed) distinction. Do function ascriptions highlight constitutive or causal contributions, or both?

We invite contributions on these and other topics relating to assessing the role/relevance of functional analysis for explanation.


Solving/handling/avoiding paradoxes by means of non-classical logics  (Peter Verdée)

This symposium aims at novel and original approaches to solve, handle or avoid a particular kind of paradoxes by means of non-classical logics. The kind of paradoxes considered here cause intuitively sound and valuable principles to trivialize when combined with classical logic. The naive truth schema, the full comprehension schema and the principle of tolerance for vague predicates are typical examples of such intuitively valuable principles. It is generally known that, in a classical logic setting, these principles lead to several disastrous paradoxes such as the Russell, Curry, Liar and sorites paradoxes. There are two ways to solve these paradoxical problems. Either one revises the intuitive principles involved or one revises the logical machinery. Here we investigate the second option. Nowadays, non-classical logic has become a  fully developed discipline with many well-established and philosophically well-motivated formal techniques in different directions (paraconsistent, paracomplete, fuzzy, relevant, substructural, non-monotonic and many other logics). With this toolbox at hand, one can start an open minded search for sensible logical solutions to either avoid, handle or solve the paradoxes and thus provide new philosophical perspectives on those topics that are susceptible to paradoxes.