Center for Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Studies

Idealizations in Physics

4rd Tuebingen Summer School in the History and Philosophy of Science - 2015
with JOHN D. NORTON, University of Pittsburgh
with a keynote lecture by Stephan Hartmann (LMU Munich)

Tuebingen, July 27th – July 31st 2015

Call for Applications
Application deadline: May 20, 2015

We kindly invite graduate students and junior scientists of philosophy, physics and mathematics, to apply for the 4th Forum Scientiarum's International Interdisciplinary Summer School in the History and Philosophy of Science

The Summer School takes place in Tuebingen (Germany), a classical university town with a charming old town center, from Monday, July 27 to Friday, July 31, 2015.

Idealizations in Physics
Idealizations are used routinely in the physical sciences. Commonly, their use is unproblematic. However there are many cases in which they introduce difficulties that may pass unnoticed and thereby compromise the analysis and our understanding of its foundations. In five lectures John Norton will investigate idealizations of this problematic type. He will look at the nature of idealizations, contrasting them with approximations, and pursue two extended case studies, mostly arising in thermal and statistical physics. First is the case of idealizations produced by the taking of infinite limits. Such limits are treacherous since infinite limit systems can introduce behaviors qualitatively different from those of all the finite systems. The second is the over-idealization of Maxwell demon type systems as information processors and the concomitant neglect of thermal fluctuations.

The Lecturer
John D. Norton is Professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science and Director of the Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh. His research is mainly in the history and philosophy of physics (relativity, quantum theory, and statistical physics). In particular he has published extensively on Einstein's discoveries of general relativity, special relativity and the light quantum and on philosophical aspects of Einstein's work. He also works in general topics in the philosophy of science, including inductive inference, causation and thought experiments.

The Keynote Speaker:
Stephan Hartmann is Chair of Philosophy of Science, Alexander von Humboldt Professor, and Head of the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy at the LMU Munich. He is President of the European Philosophy of Science Association (EPSA) and of the European Society for Analytical Philosophy (ESAP). His research interests encompass general philosophy of science, philosophy of physics, formal epistemology, and social epistemology.

To apply for the international summer school, participants need to submit an online application form. Deadline for the complete applications is May 20, 2015. A letter of admission will reach successful applicants via email by May 30, 2015.

There is no program fee. The Forum Scientiarum may provide participants with limited grants for covering part of their travel expenses and will assist participants finding inexpensive accommodation.

For further information please contact:
Marco Giovanelli