The Tilburg Center for Logic, Ethics, and Philosophy of Science studies knowledge, reasoning, and value in all their forms.

tilburg university

Academic Staff TiLPS

Former Research Students

Lasha Abzianidze

Lasha Abzianidze's research focuses on natural logic - logic that models natural reasoning in natural languages, in particular, type-logical semantics, syntax-semantic interface, natural language inference, monotonicity calculus, a proof theory for natural logic, modes of reasoning (e.g. abduction) in natural logic and automated reasoning in natural logic. 

Towards Logics that Model Natural Reasoning

Humans are able to recognize logical inferences in natural languages by applying some sort of reasoning to their knowledge about the world. Is it possible to capture, formalize and give the ability of reasoning to computers, that they could perform logical inferences based on their own knowledge base? My research project is a subproject of Prof. Reinhard Musken's NWO project Towards Logics that Model Natural Reasoning which tackles the abovementioned problem and aims to develop a general theory of natural logic behind human reasoning by studying formal logics operating directly on linguistic expressions. My research focuses on developing the proof theory for natural logic, particularly, an analytic tableau system which takes as its input lambda logical forms (LLFs). An analytic tableau system will contain the rules applicable to some algebraic properties of linguistic expressions and will have access to the background knowledge while reasoning. The research intends an automated generation of LLFs from surface forms which seems more straightforward than translating surface forms in some formal language (e.g. first or higher-order logic). Moreover, it is planned to implement a tableau theorem prover for the purpose of final and development testing of the proof theory. Modeling the adduction reasoning within the confines of natural logic is also a part of my research.

Sean Gould

Environment, Mind, and Character

Sean Gould has examined what relevance of cognitive externalism and the extended mind hypothesis might have for character, conceived of in terms of ethically relevant, mentally grounded dispositions. As far as character goes, he is primarily interested in both environmental virtue ethics and the relationship virtue ethics has to social psychology.

Dominik Klein

Social Interaction - A Formal Exploration

Dominik Klein's research is located in the areas of logic, epistemology and epistemic game theory. Many everyday situations consist of several people interacting, each of them having their own knowledge, abilities and aims. In order both, to get a detailed analysis of these situations as well as to design new, better mechanisms, a formal description of these situations is helpful.

A sufficient description must mirror the hard structure of the situation, but also the epistemic status of the agents involved: Their assessments of the state of the world and of each other. It should also be able to reflect the dynamics of interaction: In the course of social interaction agents utter and receive new information and update their assessment of the situation.

Currently, there are several attempted descriptions using various languages: Dynamic Epistemic logic (DEL) concentrates on the dynamics of epistemic situations whereas epistemic game theory is mainly concerned with the translation of beliefs into (rational) actions. The aim of his research is to connect these approaches and combine them to a universal modeling tool for agents acting in dynamic situations. Furthermore, Dominik is interested in belief backtracking, that is the question: Which intermediate reasoning steps and information can have lead to an agent's current belief.

Kristina Liefke

A Single-Type Semantics for Natural Language

Kristina Liefke's research is at the interface of logic, linguistics, and philosophy. In particular, she is interested in the foundations of formal linguistics semantics. Montague's Intensional Logic constitutes a milestone in this project. Its use enables the systematic translation of natural into formal language expressions and allows a mathematically rigorous account of a wide range of semantic phenomena. Despite its success, Montague's logic has, in the last decade, been subject to some interesting criticism (Carstairs-McCarthy, 2000; Partee, 2006). The latter pertains to the descriptive inadequacy of its underlying system of semantic domains, especially of the distinction between the interpretive domains of noun phrases (i.e. individuals) and sentences (i.e. propositions). To address this inadequacy, Kristina developed a semantics for natural language that replaces individuals and propositions by a single type of object. In her dissertation, she compares different single-type alternatives, formulate a logic for its most promising candidate, and show that it models a standard fragment of English.For more information visit her website.

Chiara Lisciandra

The Emergence of Norms in Society: A Philosophical Investigation

Chiara Lisciandra’s PhD research is on the role of identity and social norms in economic decision making. In particular, she focused on the emergence of norms and study how behaviors which were not originally regulated by norms gradually become entrenched practices and acquire a normative force. For this purpose, she developed probabilistic models which help illustrate the features of the emergence of norms and of other social phenomena, such as informational cascades and pluralistic ignorance. This research was accompanied by a family of experimental studies on the effects of social cues on norms compliance. Chiara’s research, then, used a combination of formal and empirical methods. More specifically, she explored the conditions that make, or do not make, formal models an appropriate tool for describing social phenomena and for suggesting interventions in society. For more information visit her website.

Carlo Martini

Consensus and Disagreement in Small Committees

Carlo Martini was a Ph.D. student at TiLPS from 2008 to 2011 and defended his thesis "Consensus and Disagreement in Small Committees" in December 2011. Before coming to Tilburg, Carlo studied Philosophy at the Università degli Studi di Padova (Italy). During his studies, he was visiting student at the University of St Andrews (Scotland) from fall 2004 to spring 2005 and at the University of California Los Angeles (CA) from fall 2006 to spring 2007. In 2007 he wrote his master thesis on the implications of Kenneth Arrow's impossibility theorem in social choice theory. His primary interests are in the philosophy of economics and in the application of theories of decision to economics and the social sciences. For more information, visit his webpage.

Soroush Rafiee Rad

Four Essays in Mathematical Philosophy

Soroush Rafiee Rad completed his undergraduate studies in Mathematics at the Sharif University of Technology in 2003 and joined the University of Manchester in 2005. He was awarded a Marie curie Mathlogapp fellowship in 2006 for graduate studies in Mathematical Logic and received his Ph.D. in 2009. In 2010, he joined the TiLPS research group in Tilburg University as Ph.D. student and he defended his thesis 'Four Essays in Mathematical Philosophy' in September 2014. In his thesis he presents four case studies in scientific philosophy, using both mathematical/logical formalizations and computational simulations. He investigates problems from different philosophical disciplines aiming to show how the formal and computational methods can be beneficial to a wide range of philosophical investigations.

Soroush Rafiee Rad’s research interests are in Mathematical Logic and Formal Philosophy, in particular, inductive logic and formal epistemology. He works on uncertain reasoning, para-consistent logic and the related problems in belief revision as well as the logic of conditionals, decision theory and Bayesian models of collective decision making.

Janine Reinert

Formal Artifacts and the Logic of Natural Language

Janine Reinert completed her master degree in Philosophy and Modern Japanese Studies at the University of Dusseldorf in 2011, where she graduated with a thesis on the justification and the consequences of ontological posits in logical semantics.

Her research project was part of Project 1: 'Natural Logic and Linguistic Semantics' of the NWO-funded research program 'Towards Logics that Model Natural Reasoning'. It investigates the discrepancies between formal logics, understood as putative models of reasoning, and informal reasoning. That standard first-order logic falls short of capturing many aspects of the way people reason is a well-known fact that is witnessed by the proliferation of diverse (non-standard) logics that derive their motivations from just these shortcomings.

Stefan Wintein

Playing with Truth

Stefan Wintein's PhD thesis Playing with Truth is a collection of papers that revolve around the topic of self-referential truth.Given a language which contains Liar sentences, Truthtellers and what have you: Which sentences are assertible? Which are deniable? Which inferences are correct? His thesis develops three interrelated frameworks to answer these questions. A common feature of the frameworks is that they allow us to formalize the notion of an assertoric norm; the mentioned questions are answered relative to the specification of such a norm. The frameworks shed novel light on the notions of assertion, denial and truth, which is testified by the various philosophical applications of the frameworks that are discussed in this thesis. For more information visit his website.

Former Visiting Fellows

  • Giulia Andrighetto, Rome Italy (March - April 2012)
  • Jochen Apel, Heidelberg Germany (September - December 2008)
  • Selene Arfini, Chieti Italy (September - December 2016)
  • Peter Brössel, Salzburg Austria (September - October 2013)
  • Fabrizio Cariani, Berkeley USA (September - October 2010)
  • Lorenzo Casini, Kent UK (September - November 2011)
  • Richard Dawid, Vienna Austria (September - November 2011)
  • Luo Dong, Beijing China (September 2015 - September 2016)
  • Mohsen Donyavi, Teheran Iran (March - July 2016)
  • Juan M. Durán, Stuttgart Germany (February - April 2012)
  • Lee Elkin, Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (August - October 2015)
  • Christopher French, UBC Vancouver Canada (February - April 2012)
  • Steven Brian Hood, IU Bloomington USA (February - April 2008)
  • Viktor Ivankovic, Budapest Hungay (October - November 2016)
  • Anne Khmelnitskaya, St. Petersburg Russia (September - December 2008)
  • Kevin Korb, Clayton Australia (September - November 2008)
  • Adam Pavel Kubiak, Lublin Poland (May - June 2015)
  • Pilar Lopez Cantero, University of Manchester (April - June 2018)
  • Roussanka Loukanova, Uppsala Sweden (September - December 2008)
  • Sebastian Lutz, London Canada (September 2007 - June 2008)
  • Aidan Lyon,  College Park USA (April - May 2011)
  • Luca Moretti, Aberdeen Scotland (September - November 2011)
  • Erik Nyberg, Victoria Australia (September - December 2016)
  • James Overton, London Canada (February - April 2011)
  • Matteo Pascuccci, Verona Italy (April - May 2016)
  • Lavinia Picollo, Munich Germany (April - May 2015)
  • Elena Popa, American University of Central Asia (May - June 2017)
  • Charles Rathkopf, Charlottesville USA (August - November 2012)
  • Raphael van Riel, Bochum Germany (February - May 2009)
  • Gillian Russell, St. Louis USA (September - November 2009)
  • Thomas Schindler, Munich Germany (April - May 2015)
  • Jonah N. Schupbach, Pittsburgh USA (September 2008 - June 2009)
  • Sebastian Sequoiah-Grayson, Oxford UK (September - October 2008)
  • Eleonora Severini, Sapienza University of Rome (February - April 2015)
  • Katie Steele, Sydney Australia (April 2008)
  • Tom Sterkenburg, MCMP Munich (September - October 2017)
  • Eran Tal, Toronto Canada (February - May 2010)
  • Karim Thebault, Sydney Australia (September - November 2011)
  • Camilo Thorne, Bolzano Italy (April - May 2011)
  • Christine Tiefensee, Bamberg Germany (March - April 2014)
  • Giovanni Valente, College Park USA (January - July 2008)
  • Carl Wagner, Knoxville USA (October 2008)
  • Lauren Ware, Stirling UK (April - May 2016)
  • Cory D. Wright, St. Louis USA (May - July 2008)
  • Tomasz Żuradzki, Krakow Poland (Sept 2017 - Februari 2018)