Prof. em. Dr. Ulrich Gähde
Philosophy of Science and Epistemology
Faculty of Humanities
Institute of Philosophy
Key aspects of activity
- Studies concerning the logical structure and dynamics of empirical theories
- Problems at the interface between epistemology and philosophy of science
- Holism of confirmation
- Comparisons concerning the structure of descriptive (empirical) and normative (ethical) theories
The CV (January 2018) is also available as a PDF file.
|Visiting Fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh/USA
|Member of the senate of the German National Academy of Sciences – Leopoldina and head of Section 24 – Philosophy of Science
|Re-election as memebr of that board
|Member of the board of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg
|Visiting Fellow at the University of Lund/Sweden
|Head of research group “Models, Simulations, and the Reduction of Complexity in Science“, Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg.
|Founding member of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg.
|Member of the German National Academy of Sciences – Leopoldina
|Head of the Department of Philosophy, University of Hamburg.
|Vice president of the German Society for Analytic Philosophy (GAP
|Chair in Philosophy (C4), Department of Philosophy, University of Hamburg
|Visiting Professor at the „Centre for the Philosophy of the Natural and Social Sciences“, London School of Economics and Political Science. 7 lectures on „Moderate Holism within a Semantic Account of Empirical Theories“
|Professor of Philosophy (C3) at the University of Bayreuth (tenured position)
|Heisenberg-Research-Scholarship (granted by the DFG)
|Prize for an Outstanding Habilitation ("Preis für hervorragende Habilitatons-schriften für das Jahr 1990")
|Habilitation (postdoctoral lecturing qualification) in philosophy, Subject: Theory and hypothesis. Studies on the localization of conflicts between theory and experience
|Member of the Editorial Board of Erkenntnis
|DFG-research project on Immunization Strategies of Classical Utilitarianism
|Assistent Professor at the Department of Philosophy, FU Berlin
|Assistent Professor at the Department of Philosophy, University of Bielefeld
|Research associate with teaching duties at the Department of Philosophy, University of Bielefeld.
|Research associate with teaching duties at the Seminar for Philosophy, Logic and Philosophy of Science / University of Munich
|Ph.D. in philosophy at University of Munich (summa cum laude), supervisor Prof. Dr. Dr. W. Stegmüller, Subject: Formal criteria for the distinction of theoretical terms, Subsidiary subjects of examination: logic, astronoms
|Researcher in a research project supported by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft/German Science Foundation) at the Seminar for Philosophy, Logic and Philosophy of Science / University of Munich
|Studies in philosophy of science, epistemology, logic, and history of philosophy at the University of Munich
|Diploma (M.Sc.) in Physics, Subject: Temperature-dependence of fusion barriers in heavy ion scattering reactions
|Studies in philosophy, mathematics and physics at FU Berlin, since 1971 at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich
|Abitur (equivalent to A-Levels)
|Born in Hamburg, Federal Republic of Germany. German
Areas of Specialization
- Investigations in the philosophy of science concerning the logical structure and development of empirical theories. I am particularly interested in how theories in empirical sciences react to anomalies – i.e. stubborn conflicts with observational data. How can such theories be defended against conflicts of this kind? What is the role of so-called theoretical terms here, and what are the limits to the immunisation potential of empirical theories? At the centre of this debate are the problems of confirmation holism. Located at the intersection of philosophy of science and epistemology they have become crucial for the contemporary discussion in both areas of philosophy, due particularly to the works by Pierre Duhem and Willard Van Orman Quine. In order to deal with these problems in a more precise way I am working on further developing a version of the semantic view of theories that draws on model-theoretic tools. These investigations are supplemented by case studies from the history of science, mostly from astrophysics.
- Model building, simulation, and reduction of complexity. In empirical scientific disciplines, there is more and more research being done on systems that, due to their complexity, can only be grasped theoretically by employing extremely simplifying models and simulations. The focus of my secondary research area is problems in the philosophy of science and epistemology related to model building and simulations. I pursue this research in the context of an interdisciplinary working group that I have established within the Academy of Sciences in Hamburg. The working group includes, among others, physicists, mathematicians, engineering scientists, psychologists, cognitive scientists, and physicians. In 2010, together with colleagues, I organized an international conference on this topic. The conference led to the publication of the corresponding volume U. Gähde, S. Hartmann, J. H. Wolf (eds.) Models, Simulations, and the Reduction of Complexity (Berlin – New York: de Gruyter, 2013). I am currently working – together with a mathematician – on a paper about the problems of model building in fluid dynamics.
- Comparisons between the structures of descriptive-empirical and normative-ethical theories. The basic idea is that there are far wider-reaching parallels between both types of theories than previously assumed. In the context of this research area, two multi-year research projects were carried out that were funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation). The first project concerned the immunisation mechanisms of utilitarian moral philosophy. The second project concerned the question of whether conceptions of coherence that have been developed within theoretical philosophy could also be profitably transferred to, and profitably employed in, practical philosophy. Both projects can be seen as part of a more comprehensive enterprise that aims at, on a trial basis, applying methods developed in the philosophy of science to ethical theories.
The list of publications (Decmber 2016) is also available as a PDF file.