University of California, Riverside

College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences



Department of Philosophy
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Philos. Dept.


Main Research Areas:

History & 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:

Aesthetics; Historical Epistemology

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Short Description:

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, Tarski). More recently, I have made forays into some related areas as well: 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 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, etc.). But other examples are certain forms of neo-Kantianism (Helmholtz, the Marburg School), pragmatism (Peirce, in particular), and phenomenology (Husserl, both early and late). 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).

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Current Research:

Articles:

  • "Dedekind Abstraction Explained and Defended" (with O. Linnebo), journal article (in progress, based on conference talks)

  • "Why Philosophical History? On Processes, Practices, and Projects", for a collection of essays on historiography, methodology, and meta-philosophy (in progress, based on a conference talk)

Books:

  • Frege, Dedekind, and their Legacies: Essays in the History and Philosophy of Mathematics (in progress, collection of my essays)

  • Metalogic and Metaphilosophy: Essays in the History of Analytic Philosophy (in progress, another collection of my essays)

Editions & Translations:

  • Historiography, Meta-Philosophy, and the Formation of Canons, Sandra Lapointe & E. 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. (in progress, translations)

Further Projects:

Articles:

  • "Thomas Kuhn, Philosophical History, and the Context of Articulation", journal article (in preparation, based on a conference talk)

  • "Structuralism, Dedekind's Exemplars, and their Articulation", for a collection of essays (in preparation, based on conference talk)

Books:

  • Richard Dedekind: The Philosophical Mathematician (in preparation, monograph)

Textbooks:

  • Metalogic: From a Mathematical, Historical, and Philosophical Point of View (in preparation, based on a regular class)

Editions & 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)

 


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