Basic information
Original title:
The Structure of the Void
Researchers involved:
1 July 2011–30 June 2014

The basic aim of the proposed project is to explore the contemporary range of Alexandre Koyré's thesis about the “philosophical underpinning” of scientific theories. We will determine under what conditions and in which areas can it be applied to the most current scientific theories. In the course of the project, we will answer the question of how philosophy—as an autonomous discipline of thought—can actively contribute to progress in the physical and chemical sciences. Our research will stem from the conviction that the potential contribution of philosophy is indirect, concerning issues that surface in scientific practice and are not in the absolute domain of individual sciences. In the project, we label these problems of science as “intrinsically philosophical”. On this basis, we will also appraise the elementary conditions of interdisciplinary studies in philosophy and science, taking into account both existing theories of science and an analysis of contemporary science practice. The central axis of the project is the concept of the void, which is paramount for two reasons. Firstly, the void is historically one of the key intersections between scientific and philosophical thought (ancient atomism, the mediaeval and modern problem of vacuum). Secondly, several contemporary scientific and philosophical theories feature a cognate trend towards redefining the void. A new perception of the void appears in both quantum physics and various philosophical theories. The void is no longer empty—it boasts its own internal structure.

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Project manager