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Laszlo Szabo (Eotvos University), “Meaning, Truth and Physics”
5 June 2018, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Abstract: A physical theory is a partially interpreted axiomatic formal system (L, S), where L is a formal language with some logical, mathematical and physical axioms, and with some derivation rules, and the semantics S is a relationship between the formulas of L and some states of affairs in the physical world. In our ordinary discourse, the formal system L is regarded as an abstract object or structure, the semantics S as something which involves the mental/conceptual realm. This view is of course incompatible with physicalism. How can physical theory be accommodated in a purely physical ontology? The aim of the talk is to outline an account for meaning and truth of physical theory, within the philosophical framework spanned by three doctrines: physicalism, empiricism, and the formalist philosophy of mathematics.
László Szabó is a Professor of Philosophy at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest.
This talk is part of a two part lecture series on Professor Szabó on the foundations of physics hosted by the Sigma Club and the CPNSS. The other lecture occurs on the evening before this one, on June 4th.