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::: center home >> people >> visiting fellows, 2010-11 >> votsis

Ioannis Votsis
Heinrich-Heine University of Dusseldorf, Germany
Fall Term 2010
Epistemic Structural Realism

Ioannis holds a research fellowship at the University of Duesseldorf. His work is partly funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Prior to this appointment he spent two years on a teaching fellowship at the University of Bristol. His doctoral study was undertaken at the London School of Economics.

Central amongst his active research interests is structural realism. In its epistemic form, this is the view that our knowledge of the world is restricted to structural features. Ioannis has published a number of articles on this topic and is currently preparing a book with F.A. Muller (Utrecht and Rotterdam). Unsurprisingly, some of Ioannis’ other active research interests concern the philosophy of science. For example, he is interested in the extent to which the theoretical content of empirically successful theories changes over time, the conditions under which a datum has more weight in matters of theory-choice, and whether there is a trend towards unification in science. The rest of Ioannis’ active research interests concern a handful of other areas in philosophy, notably epistemology, meta-philosophy, the philosophy of language and the philosophy of logic. As a little foretaste of these interests it is worth noting that Ioannis is at present developing a paper on the high costs our abilities to reason would incur were we to genuinely turn our backs on simple logical laws like the law of non-contradiction.

In his spare time Ioannis can't help but keep getting frustrated over the preposterously irrational conceptions of the world that pervade much of what we proudly call 'culture'. He is particularly incensed at how readily, unreflectively, and often erratically dogmatic views are adopted by educated sections of the population. The upshot of all of this is that Ioannis is a somewhat grumpy and pessimistic individual who is best avoided when he is on an empty stomach. To start a conversation, first lure him with the promise of some scrumptious food.

2014 Update

Since October 2012 I am a regular visiting fellow at the University of Athens for the EU-Greek Government funded project ‘Aspects and Prospects of Realism in the Philosophy of Science and Mathematics’ headed by Stathis Psillos. In the past year I have also been co-editing two special issues: one on novel predictions (to appear in SHPS), the other on theory-ladenness (to appear in the JGPS). Aside from my editing duties, I have written various papers. Two of these are already published: one is a form of perspectivalist realism (Philosophica, 2012), the other is on structural realism and the caloric (SHPS, 2012) and was co-authored with Gerhard Schurz.
Three other papers are scheduled for publication (subject to final approval). Two of them are contributions to the aforementioned special issues. The third concerns structural realism and phlogiston (to appear in a Springer volume on Linguistics and Philosophy and co-authored with Gerhard Schurz). In terms of talks, I have given a number of contributed (e.g. BSPS2012, PSA2012 [kindly presented by Otavio Bueno in my absence], PSF2013) and invited talks (e.g. Barcelona, Athens, Wuhan) as well as a plenary talk at the 7th Quadrennial International Pittsburgh Fellows Conference in Mugla.


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Revised 10/03/2014 - Copyright 2010