Theoretical Philosophy

Research in theoretical philosophy is linked by a central theme: the philosophical analysis of reasoning. Its leading question is: What does reasoning, in all generality as well as in specific domains (such as science, mathematics or metaphysics), look like, and what accounts for its correctness?

Given the multidisciplinary background of many of our researchers, the group can actively reach out to neighbouring scientific disciplines in order to bring highly specific (formal as well as empirical) methods to bear on questions concerning reasoning.

What does reasoning look like, and what accounts for its correctness?

Logic in Utrecht

Partly for historical reasons, partly for the fact that the theoretical philosophy group plays a considerable role in the AI curricula (both BA and Master) of Utrecht University, logic has a central role in our research. In line with our general research focus on reasoning, the Utrecht logicians study questions such as:

  • What is a correct model for reasoning about norms and actions?
  • How can we reason with philosophical concepts, such as permission, metaphysical grounding, or belief?
  • How can a given of reasoning best be formalised?

The logic group uses advanced formal tools to study philosophical questions, and in this way its expertise lies in the humanities as well as in the sciences. Our research in logic is driven both by problems “out there in the world” and by intrinsic problems that emerge in the process of formalisation.