Synthese S.I. on Decision Theory and the Future of Artificial Intelligence

Guest Editors:
Stephan Hartmann (LMU Munich)
Yang Liu (University of Cambridge)
Huw Price (University of Cambridge)

There is increasing interest in the challenges of ensuring that the long-term development of artificial intelligence (AI) is safe and beneficial. Moreover, despite different perspectives, there is much common ground between mathematical and philosophical decision theory, on the one hand, and AI, on the other. The aim of the special issue is to explore links and joint research at the nexus between decision theory and AI, broadly construed.

We welcome submissions of individual papers covering topics in philosophy, artificial intelligence and cognitive science that involve decision making including, but not limited to, subjects on

  • causality
  • decision making with bounded resources
  • foundations of probability theory
  • philosophy of machine learning
  • philosophical and mathematical decision/game theory

Contributions must be original and not under review elsewhere. Although there is no prescribed word or page limit for submissions to Synthese, as a rule of thumb, papers typically tend to be between 15 and 30 printed pages (in the journal’s printed format). Submissions should also include a separate title page containing the contact details of the author(s), an abstract (150-250 words) and a list of 4-6 keywords. All papers will be subject to the journal’s standard double-blind peer-review.

Manuscripts should be submitted online through Editorial Manager: Please choose the appropriate article type for your submission by selecting “S.I. : DecTheory&FutOfAI” from the relevant drop down menu.

The deadline for submissions is February 15, 2018.
For further information about the special issue, please visit the website:

Button: Internal categoricity and internal realism in the philosophy of mathematics

Internal categoricity and internal realism in the philosophy of mathematics

Tim Button (University of Cambridge)
4:10 pm, Wednesday, April 19th, 2017
Faculty House, Columbia University

Abstract. Many philosophers think that mathematics is about ‘structure’. Many philosophers would also explicate this notion of ‘structure’ via model theory. But the Compactness and Löwenheim–Skolem theorems lead to some famously hard questions for this view. They threaten to leave us unable to talk about any particular ‘structure’.

In this talk, I outline how we might explicate ‘structure’ without appealing to model theory, and indeed without invoking any kind of semantic ascent. The approach involves making use of internal categoricity. I will outline the idea of internal categoricity, state some results, and use these results to make sense of Putnam’s beautiful but cryptic claim: “Models are not lost noumenal waifs looking for someone to name them; they are constructions within our theory itself, and they have names from birth.”

Columbia Festival of Formal Philosophy

A series of logic related talks at Columbia University in the next a few weeks. Please click the link of each talk series below for more information.

by Kenny Easwaran (Texas A&M University)

Graduate Workshop
Measuring Beliefs
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Friday, March 31, 2017
716 Philosophy Hall, Columbia University

Departmental Lecture
An Opinionated Introduction to the Foundations of Bayesianism
4:10 pm – 6:00 pm, Tuesday, April 4, 2017
716 Philosophy Hall, Columbia University
Reception to follow in 720 Philosophy Hall

Public Lecture
Unity in Diversity: “The City as a Collective Agent”
4:10 pm – 6:00 pm, Thursday, April 6, 2017
603 Hamilton Hall, Columbia University

Gödel’s Disjunction
Peter Koellner (Harvard University)
5:00 pm, Friday, April 7th, 2017
716 Philosophy Hall, Columbia University
Dinner to follow at Faculty House

Saturday, April 8th, 2017
716 Philosophy Hall, Columbia University

10:00 am – 11:30 am
Gordon Belot (University of Michigan)

11:45 am – 13:15 pm
Schnorr Randomness and Lévi’s Martingale Convergence Theorem
Simon Huttegger (UC Irvine)

2:45 pm – 4:15 pm
Probing With Severity: Beyond Bayesian Probabilism and Frequentist Performance
Deborah Mayo (Virginia Tech)

4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Radically Elementary Imprecise Probability Based on Extensive Measurement
Teddy Seidenfeld (Carnegie Mellon University)
Reception to follow

Koellner: Gödel’s Disjunction

Gödel’s Disjunction
Peter Koellner (Harvard University)
5:00 pm, Friday, April 7th, 2017
716 Philosophy Hall, Columbia University

Abstract. Gödel’s disjunction asserts that either “the mind cannot be mechanized” or “there are absolutely undecidable statements.” Arguments are examined for and against each disjunct in the context of precise frameworks governing the notions of absolute provability and truth. The focus is on Penrose’s new argument, which interestingly involves type-free truth. In order to reconstruct Penrose’s argument, a system, DKT, is devised for absolute provability and type-free truth. It turns out that in this setting there are actually two versions of the disjunction and its disjuncts. The first, fully general versions end up being (provably) indeterminate. The second, restricted versions end up being (provably) determinate, and so, in this case there is at least an initial prospect of success. However, in this case it will be seen that although the disjunction itself is provable, neither disjunct is provable nor refutable in the framework.