Home About Subscribe Search Member Area

Humanist Discussion Group

< Back to Volume 34

Humanist Archives: June 25, 2020, 8:19 a.m. Humanist 34.132 - pubs cfp: simplicity from complexity?

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 34, No. 132.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org

        Date: 2020-06-24 09:41:56+00:00
        From: Miguel Ángel 
        Subject: CfP Synthese Topical Collection: "Simplicity out of Complexity? Physics and the Aims of Science”

Call for Papers

Synthese Topical Collection on
Simplicity out of Complexity? Physics and the Aims of Science

Deadline: 31 July 2020

Guest Editors

Florian J. Boge (University of Wuppertal)
Paul Grünke (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)
Martin King (University of Bonn)
Miguel Ángel Carretero Sahuquillo (University of Wuppertal)


The world we live in is notoriously complex: there is an outright zoo of
material particles, a vast variety of different species, a whole
plethora of stars and galaxies, and so forth. Yet many scientific
achievements, such as the Standard Model of particle physics or Darwin’s
theory of natural selection, allow us to manage part of this complexity
by means of a simple set of laws or general rules.

Simplicity has often been assumed to be an epistemic ideal, most clearly
exemplified in physics, with its trend towards encompassing theories
that feature only a small number of fundamental laws, capable of
explaining a large number of diverse phenomena.

This view of science, with physics at the center stage, has arguably
provided the dominant narrative in mainstream philosophy of science
throughout the 20th century. Yet many questions arise when one zooms in
on the details. For instance: in what sense can the laws of physics be
said to be simple, when concrete computations based on them are tedious
or even impossible? How do notions of simplicity differ across the
sciences, and what are their commonalities? Does the striving for
simplification of perceived complexity imply an unjustified reductionism?
Is simplicity really an epistemic ideal or just endorsed for pragmatic
reasons, and maybe even an unreliable guide to truth? If so, what should
it be replaced with?

The aim of this Topical Collection is to bring together contributions
from different fields, such as (the philosophy of) physics, biology,
economy, psychology, linguistics, or general philosophy of science.
Topics may include but are not limited to:

• epistemic vs. practical: Is simplicity an epistemic goal of science or
just a practical benefit? (Why) should theories aim for simplicity, or
(why) not?

• physics vs. other sciences: Does the complexity of the world largely
preclude simple science? Is complexity also an aim of the special
sciences? Does contemporary physics really aim at simplicity?

• the concept of simplicity in science: What does it mean to be a
‘simple’ theory? What is simplicity? Can there be a unified account of
simplicity or should one embrace pluralism?

We invite contributions from the full spectrum of disciplines and their
respective philosophies, scientists and scholars reflecting on their
respective and neighboring research fields, as well as historians,
philosophers and sociologists of science investigating the
epistemologies, practices, and discourses of fellow epistemic communities.

     For further information, please contact the guest editors:
       o Florian J. Boge fjboge@uni-wuppertal.de
       o Paul Grünke paul.gruenke@kit.edu 
       o Martin Kingmking@uni-bonn.de 
       o Miguel Ángel Carretero Sahuquillo

     The deadline for submissions is 31 July 2020

Submit your paper through the Synthese Editorial Manager under a
dedicated heading entitled "T.C.: Simplicity out of Complexity? Physics
and the Aim of Science". Please visit Editorial Manager®
https://www.editorialmanager.com/synt and select this heading when
submitting the manuscript.

Submitted papers will be peer-reviewed as per usual journal practice. At
least two reviewers will be assigned to each paper and final decisions
will be taken by Synthese Editors in Chief, following the recommendation
of the Guest Editors, which is based on the reviewers’ reports. Please
prepare papers for anonymous reviews.

Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted
List posts to: humanist@dhhumanist.org
List info and archives at at: http://dhhumanist.org
Listmember interface at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted/
Subscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/membership_form.php

Editor: Willard McCarty (King's College London, U.K.; Western Sydney University, Australia)
Software designer: Malgosia Askanas (Mind-Crafts)

This site is maintained under a service level agreement by King's Digital Lab.