Science and society

Philosophy of Physics

The goal of this project is to analyze the conceptual origins of the naturalness principle and assess its status as a guiding principle in the construction of theories. Since the naturalness principle can be understood as a demand for simplicity, it connects closely with the overarching theme of the Research Unit. In Phase 1, the A2 project has identified several points of weakness in the motivations for the naturalness principle and called into question its purported successful applications, such as the prediction of the charm quark mass. In Phase 2, we are going to analyze to what extent and in which form the attitude of physicists towards the naturalness concept has changed in the light of the lack of any conclusive signs for New Physics at the LHC. We further intend to more deeply explore the connection of naturalness to the foundations of renormalization theory and issues of reduction and emergence, and to consider applications of naturalness in other areas of physics, including the cosmological constant problem and the strong-CP problem.

This project is a subproject of "The Epistemology of the Large Hadron Colider".

Computer simulations (CSs) and machine learning (ML) are important tools for experimental data generation and analysis in contemporary high-energy physics (HEP). In this project, we address epistemic issues related to this use of CS and ML in HEP.

The project’s future objectives are: To address the possibility of concealed uncertainties induced by the use of CSs and ML in HEP; to define the precise sense of robustness that CSs and ML enjoy in HEP; and to understand epistemological challenges arising from CSs’ and ML’s purported opacity, and their management in HEP.

An important concept for our research is that of an epistemic risk, broadly construed. We will use this concept to investigate the impact of CSs and ML on the discovery potential of the experiment. Among other things, this will include an assessment of the scope and epistemological underpinnings of the management of uncertainties in HEP, when these are induced by the use of CSs and ML.

You can find more information on the website of "The Epistemology of the Large Hadron Colider".

Philosophy and History of Sciences

Philosophy of Science

The relationship of lifeworld and science is changing - with an open end. The driving factor of this process is science by enabling mechanization and providing new knowledge. Although the scientification of society continues to advance, the lifeworld still exists on its own.

Finding out more about this amazing phenomenon is the aim of a monography that will demonstrate structural differences of both modes of experience and how they exist with and against each other.

The studies are guided by concepts, the theory of science, and phenomenology, and are based on a concept of science that also encompasses the technical sciences. All examples focus on natural sciences and the concept of nature itself.

The aim of this project is to create a methodological map in order to assess and compare methods of natural scientific research. This map can be used to answer questions of plurality of scientific methods (interrelations and differences between experiments, simulations, thought experiments and analog experiments), to assess "scientificness" of (non-) meta-empirical methods as well as to assess potential progress of science by non-experimental methods.


  • Interdisciplinary anthropology, yearbook 1/2013

    The focus of interdisciplinary debates has been on anthropological research since 2013 as especially biology and empirical anthropology have rapidly progressed within the last decades: The nature of man is not only questioned anew in those fields but also in Humanities. This led to the foundation of a new magazine that is dedicated to the interdisciplinary dialogue of anthropological research.

    Creating space for anthropological research has first happened in Heidelberg, but later on in Wuppertal as well. Researches from various scientific fields and disciplines have worked together and started research initiatives that led to an unique network. Aim of the magazine is to report about cooperations and provide a plattform for interdisciplinary discourses. Each edition focusses on a specific topic by containing a leading article, commentar and reply about it.

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