Institut für Philosophie, Fakultät für Philosophie und Bildungswissenschaften, Universität Wien, Universitätsstraße 7, A-1010 Vienna, Austria
My philosophical interests are focussed on two related fields of research.
On the one hand, I work on understanding and specifying philosophical implications of contemporary fundamental physics, with a special emphasis on high energy physics and cosmology. An important philosophical question that arises in those fields is concerned with the epistemic character of lines of reasoning that are not directly based on empirical data. Such strategies are essential for understanding the notions of empirical confirmation and discovery in empirically testable high energy physics. This can be exemplified by the case of the discovery of the Higgs particle. Moreover, non-empirical argumentative strategies also play a crucial role in assessing the status of theories which are empirically unconfirmed but nevertheless have attained an influential position in physics. The prime example for such a theory is string theory. I am working on spelling out the structure of those modes of reasoning in contexts of specifc scientific theories.
At a more general level, I try to argue that non-empirical modes of reasoning, which, as described above, can be isolated in the context of specific physical theories, shed new light on a number of issues in the general philosophy of science and in epistemology. Non-empirical theory assessment can be formalized in a way that leads to an extended notion of theory confirmation in a Bayesian framework; it also suggests a new perspective on the classical question of novel confirmation; and eventually it leads to a new take on the question of scientific realism.
Much of my work is related to developing a philosophical framework that can both account for the role of non-empirical theory assessment in specific physical theories and cover the wider philosophical context where it is embedded.
Apart from this main integrated research project, I have recently worked on the issue of Everettian quantum mechanics.