Research

I have always been interested in the interactions between philosophy and science, and especially between philosophy and mathematics. I started from the conviction that some of the most important developments in the history of philosophy were in fact due to mathematicians and scientists. For obvious reasons, I was especially drawn to philosophers who were also active as mathematicians, as well as to mathematicians with philosophical interests.

For some years now, my research has focussed on the philosopher, mathematician and theologian Bernard Bolzano (1781-1848). Today, Bolzano is best known for his contributions to mathematics, logic and the philosophy of science. He was the first to propose and systematically investigate set theory as a foundation for mathematics, one of the pioneers of modern real analysis, and one of the greatest logicians of the modern period, who formulated the first viable definition of semantic consequence along with a wealth of other things set out in the monumental Theory of Science of 1837. In his own time, however, he was renowned for his work as professor of religion at the Charles University in Prague from 1805 to 1819. In this highly visible position, Bolzano had become one of the most prominent advocates of social justice and reform in his homeland (Bohemia, then a province of the Habsburg Empire). He was equally active in pursuit of ecclesiastical reform, and wrote a number of important works on religion in general and Catholicism in particular.

Though originally drawn to Bolzano through my interest in the interactions between mathematics and philosophy, I have over the years come to study many areas of his wide-ranging thought, writing on subjects ranging from religion and politics to mathematics and logic, and translating a variety of his works. I also maintain interests in the history of philosophy more generally (e.g., Kant, Austrian philosophy, Frege, 20th-century analytic philosophy), and in logic and the philosophy of mathematics.

Work in Progress