Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic; Early Analytic Philosophy; Neo-Kantianism
Areas of Competence:
Mathematical Logic; Philosophy of Science; Philosophy of Technology
Other Areas of Interests:
Historical Epistemology; Aesthetics
My research over the last 2-3 decades falls into several overlapping areas: the philosophy of mathematics (logicist and structuralist views, the transformation of mathematical methodology, with special focus on Dedekind's role in it); the history and philosophy of logic (the nature of logic, the emergence of metalogic, and its impact on philosophy); early analytic philosophy (Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Carnap, etc.). More recently, I have also made forays into some related areas: 19th/20th-century philosophy more broadly (Cassirer, partly Peirce and Husserl); general philosophy of science (conceptions of explanation and understanding, Thomas Kuhn's work); and meta-philosophy (the varieties of analysis, conceptual engineering, and the role of philosophical history).
A central strand in my research concerns the radical transformation of mathematics in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the related reconfiguration of "logic" and of "a priori reasoning", and the ways in which both have shaped Western philosophy in decisive ways. (This can be viewed as part of studying the "dynamics of reason".) The rise of analytic philosophy provides a clear case in point (Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Ramsey, Carnap, etc.). But other examples are certain forms of neo-Kantianism (Helmholtz, the Marburg School), pragmatism (Peirce), and phenomenology (Husserl). Yet another development that I see as related, but haven't explored in as much detail yet, is the emergence of historical epistemology in French philosophy (Bachelard, Cavailles, etc.).
In all of my research, I combine considerations of historical figures and developments with contributions to current debates. Thus I don't make a strict distinction between doing history of philosophy (or of logic, mathematics, and science) and doing systematic philosophy. I am also often interested in connections between questions arising out of the mathematical sciences and broader questions about language, thought, and reality (involving the notions of symbol, structure, abstraction, articulation, explanation, objectivity, infinity, etc.). More on the side, I like to think about questions in aesthetics (asthetic judgments in music, mathematics, and everyday life) and the philosophy of technology (issues concerning digital and other recent technologies, in particular).
"Thomas Kuhn's Notion of Articulation and its Philosophical Significance", colloquium talk (2020/2021?)
"Cassirer and Kuhn on Articulation, Aesthetic Judgment, and the Dynamics of Reason", conference talk (HOPOS 2021?)
"Dedekind Abstraction Explained and Defended" (with O. Linnebo), journal article (in progress, based on conference talks)
"Why Philosophical History? On Problems, Projects, and Processes", for a collection of essays on historiography, methodology, and meta-philosophy (in progress, based on a conference talk)
"Thomas Kuhn, Philosophical History, and the Context of Articulation", journal article (in preparation, based on a conference talk)
Wittgenstein and Frege: The Elements in the Philosophy of Wittgenstein, Cambridge University Press (in progress, short monograph)
Frege, Dedekind, and their Legacies: Essays in the History and Philosophy of Mathematics (in progress, collection of my essays)
Richard Dedekind: The Philosophical Mathematician (in preparation, monograph)
Editions & Translations:
Historiography, Meta-Philosophy, and the Formation of Canons, Sandra Lapointe & Erich Reck, eds. (in progress, collection of essays, based on a workshop)
Rudolf Carnap, Collected Works, Vol. III: Pre-Syntax Logic, 1927-1934 (bilingual edition), E. Reck, G. Schiemer & D. Schlimm, eds. (long in progress, translations)
Paul Bernays, Essays in the Philosophy of Mathematics, Volumes I-II (bilingual edition), W. Sieg & W.W. Tait, eds., S. Awodey, B. Buldt, G. Heinzmann, E. Reck, D. Schlimm, R. Zach, et al., trans., Oxford University Press (long in progress)
Metalogic: Mathematical, Philosophical, and Historical Perspectives (in preparation, based on a regular class)