Like the international organization, HOPOS, we understand history of the philosophies of logic and mathematics, as well as the natural sciences, to be included in the purview of this group. In practice this includes much of the History of Analytic Philosophy as well as historical precursors in the more distant past.
Jeremy Heis Professor Heis works on the history of the philosophy of mathematics, logic, and natural science from the 18th through early 20th centuries. His work focuses on Kant’s philosophy of mathematics, logic, and natural science, as well as the reception of Kant’s philosophy in the 19th century and among early analytic philosophers. This research includes a detailed examination of the philosophy of math, logic, and science of the Neo-Kantian, Ernst Cassirer. He has also written on individual early analytic philosophers, especially Frege and Russell. Last, he has a more general interest in the history of logic from the 18th through early 20th centuries, as well as the history of mathematics during this period — especially as it touches on issues of mathematical methodology, such as the role of diagrammatic reasoning.
Penelope Maddy Professor Maddy has investigated the ground of logical truth in Kant’s critical philosophy, and in Wittgenstein’s thought, both early and late. Her work in the philosophy of set theory includes attention to the development of thinking on the nature and methods of the discipline in Cantor, Dedekind, Zermelo and Gödel. Most recently, her interest in skepticism and metaphilosophy involve historical inquiry into the relations between philosophy and science (‘natural philosophy’) since the scientific revolution, in modern figures like Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Reid, and more recent thinkers like Moore, Austin, Carnap and Quine.
Kyle Stanford Professor Stanford has published work concerning Hume on causation and Locke on real essences, and he has highly varying degrees of interest and expertise concerning other central figures in this period, up to and including the work of Immanuel Kant. He also has a fair knowledge of the history of biology, and has published philosophically-informed history of his own concerning our theorizing about ‘generation and inheritance’ during the second half of the 19th Century. He puts the history of science to work in a number of other ways in other work, including serving as the primary source of positive evidence supporting the thesis of his book concerning the scientific realism debate: Exceeding Our Grasp: Science, History, and the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives (2006).
James Weatherall Professor Weatherall has broad interests in the history of philosophy of physics and philosophy of science, particularly in the late 17th and early 18th centuries and in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His work has focused on accounts of the structure of space and time and on the nature of body, with special attention to the development of the concept of "field" in physics, beginning with Newton. He has also written on other topics in the history of science and philosophy, including G. E. Moore's epistemology, the history of ideas moving from physics into financial economics, and the history of philosophy of physics in the mid 20th century.
Kai Wehmeier Professor Wehmeier has worked on Frege's logical system and his philosophy of mathematics, both from an historical and a systematic perspective. He has also studied the logical aspects of Wittgenstein's Tractatus, especially with regard to its theory of identity and the N-operator.
John Manchak is also interested in the history of early modern philosophy of science, Descartes in particular, and the history of philosophy of physics.
Current and recent students in this group include Marian Gilton (Aristotle's physics; history of quantum theory), Sam Eklund (Leibniz), Chris Mitsch (the role of axiomatization in physics and philosophy), Bennett McNulty (Kant’s philosophy of chemistry and of the special sciences more generally), Brian Rogers (Wittgenstein, especially On Certainty), and Waldemar Rohloff (Kant’s philosophy of applied mathematics). Faculty elsewhere on campus with allied interests include Sean Greenberg and Nicholas Jolley in the Department of Philosophy.
Upcoming and Recent Workshops
Ongoing Activities of the HOPOS Group