Sorin Bangu's picture

Sorin Bangu

Professor, Philosophy
  • E-mailSorin.Bangu@uib.no
  • Phone+47 55 58 29 48+47 981 99 964
  • Visitor Address
    Sydnesplassen 12/13, 3. etg.
  • Postal Address
    Postboks 7805
    5020 BERGEN

For a while now I've been working in three areas, connected by my interest in investigating the nature of mathematics. My view is that progress on this can be made by understanding its roles in science (especially in physics) and in everyday life.

In addition to occasionally writing on general topics in philosophy of science (e.g., explanation, understanding, prediction), I have tackled certain issues in philosophy of physics (e.g., idealization in statistical mechanics, symmetry, emergence, fundamentality, etc.) I try to understand the 'more-is-different' idea and its ramifications. A common theme is the role of the mathematical formalism in discovering / inventing theories in physics, as well as in expressing, or even shaping, the actual physical content of a theory.

In the philosophy of mathematics, I continue to work mainly on issues related to the applicability of mathematics. This includes indispensability arguments, the 'unreasonable effectiveness' issue, also topics having to do with the role of mathematics in formulating explanations of physical phenomena, the credibility of various metaphysics of mathematics (realism/platonism, nominalism, fictionalism), the conceptual foundations of set-theory, etc. A new angle on the connection between mathematics and the world is an attempt to evaluate how the experimental evidence gathered by cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists is relevant for the philosophical debates on the nature of mathematical (and logical) knowledge.

My interests in the history of analytical philosophy concentrate on the views of later Wittgenstein. My focus is on his take on modality, in particular in relation to mathematics and logic. The basic question here is what does this thinker (as well as others, e.g., Quine) make of the claim that certain facts can't be otherwise than they are.

Topics in theoretical philosophy.


  • Naturalizing Logico-Mathematical Knowledge: Approaches from Philosophy, Psychology and Cognitive Science. (Routledge, 2018) Edited collection of essays, 306p.
  • The Applicability of Mathematics in Science: Indispensability and Ontology. (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2012) Monograph, 252p.


ARTICLES (for complete list and copies see my personal website)

  • Hard and Blind: On Wittgenstein’s Genealogical View of Logical Necessity. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. Forthcoming. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/phpr.12661
  • Phase Transitions. The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Physics. Eds. E. Knox and A. Wilson. Routledge. Forthcoming.
  • Discontinuities and Singularities, Data and Phenomena: For Referentialism. Synthese. 196: 1919–1937 (2019) In the special issue Infinite Idealizations in Science. Eds. L. Ruetsche, P. Palacios, S. Fletcher, E. Shech. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11229-018-1747-2
  • Later Wittgenstein and the Genealogy of Mathematical Necessity. In Wittgenstein and Naturalism. Eds. K. Cahill and T. Raleigh. Routledge, 2018. Pp. 151-73
  • Indispensability, Causation and Explanation. Theoria. 33(2): 219-32 (2018). In the special issue Updating Indispensabilities: Hillary Putnam In Memoriam. Ed. Mary Leng. https://www.ehu.eus/ojs/index.php/THEORIA/article/view/17619/17827
  • The "Miracle" of Applicability? The Curious Case of the Simple Harmonic Oscillator. (Co-author Robert Moir). Foundations of Physics. 48(5): 507-525 (2018) In the special issue Philosophical Aspects in the Foundations of Physics. Eds. Miklos Redei, Harvey Brown, Klaas Landsman. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10701-018-0152-5
  • Book reivew. Marc Lange Because Without Cause (Oxford Univ. Press, 2017) British Journal for Philosophy of Science. BJPS Review of Books. (2017) http://www.thebsps.org/2017/12/marc-lange-because-without-cause/

For the complete list of my masterpieces please see my personal website above.

Annual Bergen Philosophy of Science Workshop
Univ. of Bergen, Dept. of Philosophy
Sydnesplassen 12-13, Bergen

2019 (link to abstracts)

Thursday 29 Aug.

11.15 Coffee & Welcome. Prof Steinar Bøyum, Head of Dept.

11.30 - 13 Denis Walsh (Toronto)
The Developmental Imperative

Lunch (Christie Cafe)

14.30 - 16 James Ladyman (Bristol)
What if anything is fundamental about physics?

16.15 - 17.45 Patricia Palacios (Salzburg)
Intertheoretic Reduction in Physics Beyond the Nagelian Model

19.00 Dinner

Friday 30 Aug.

9.45 Coffee

10.00 - 11.30 Axel Gelfert (Berlin)
Explanation and Exploration in the Science of Pattern Formation

11.45 - 13.15 Laura Franklin-Hall (NYU)
Why are some kinds historical and others not?

2018 (link to abstracts)

Thursday 24 May

12.55 Welcome. Prof. Reidar Lie, Head of Dept.

13.00 - 14.30 P. Kyle Stanford (UC Irvine)
A Difference that Makes a Difference: Howard Stein on Realism, Instrumentalism, and Intellectually Nourishing Snacks

14.45 - 16.15 Kirsten Walsh (Nottingham)
Inventing Units of Measurement: Causal Reasoning in Newton's Optics

16.30 - 18.00 Dirk Schlimm (McGill)
Towards a cognitive and pragmatic account of notations for propositional logic

19.30 Conference dinner

Friday 25 May

10.00 - 11.30 Mark Colyvan (University of Sydney and the Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich) Analogical Reasoning via Mathematical Models

11.45 - 13.15 Adrian Curie (Cambridge)
How are moa like sheep? Pursuit and value in science

13.15 - 15.00 Lunch break

15.00 - 16.30 Julie Zahle (Bergen)
Data, Epistemic Values, and Multiple Methods in Case Study Research

16.30 - 18.00 Alan Baker (Swarthmore)
Mapping Mathematics to the World

18.30 Henrik Pub

2017 (link to abstracts)

Wed. 31 May

13.30 Welcome. Coffee

13.45-14.45 Stathis Psillos (Univ. of Athens) 
Laws and Powers in the Frame of Nature

14.45-15.45 Alexander Bird (Univ. of Bristol) 
Is there meta-scientific knowledge? Against both the no-miracles argument and the pessimistic induction


16.00 - 17.00 Gordon Belot (Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor) 
Gravity and GRACE: Does Underdetermination Undermine Objectivity?

17.00 -18.00 Laura Ruetsche (Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor) 
Renormalization Group Realism: An Unduly Skeptical Review


18.15-19.15 Michael Baumgartner (Univ. of Geneva / Univ. of Bergen) 
Boolean difference-making: A modern regularity theory of causation

19.15-20.15 Eleanor Knox (King's College London) 
Spacetime Functionalism

2016 (link to abstracts)

Tue. 14 June

9.50 - 10.00  Coffee & Welcome

10.00 - 11.15 Carl Hoefer (ICREA / Barcelona)
Current Great Theory Realism

11.30 - 12.45 Stephanie Ruphy (Grenoble)
Pluralist challenges to a science-based metaphysics

Lunch @ Christie Cafe

15.00 - 16.15 Jamie Tappenden (U. Michigan, Ann Arbor)
Frege, Carl Snell and Romanticism; Fruitful Concepts and the 'Organic/Mechanical' Distinction

16.30 - 17.45 Sam Schindler (Aarhus)
Prediction and testability

18.00 - 19.15 James Conant (Chicago)
Thomas Kuhn on Problems and Puzzles

2015 (link to abstracts)

Thursday 4 June

14.00 – 15.00 Mark Steiner (Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem)
The Silent Revolution of Wittgenstein in the Philosophy of Mathematics, 1937
15.15 –16.15 Catherine Wilson (York Univ. UK) 
The 'Hard Problem' of Consciousness: Scientific Explanation and Philosophical Ineffability
16.30 – 17.45 Juha Saatsi (Leeds Univ.)
Emergence and Explanation
19.00 Conference dinner
Friday 5 June
9.30 - 10.30 Mary Leng (York Univ.)
Mathematical Realism and Naturalism
10.45 – 11.45 Anjan Chakravartty (Notre Dame Univ.)
Property Ontology in Fundamental Physics
11.45 – 12.15 Lunch
12.15 – 13.15 Øystein Linnebo (Univ. of Oslo)
Mathematics and Inference to the Best Explanation

2014 (link to abstracts)

Thursday 5 June 

14.45 Coffee. Welcome from the Chair, Prof. Reidar Lie 

15.00 - 16.00 Robert Batterman (Pittsburgh) 
Minimal Model Explanations 

16.00 - 17.00 Michael Moreau (Tromsø)
Mr. Fit, Mr. Simplicity and Mr. Scope: from Social Choice to Theory Choice in Science

17.00 - 18.00 Dennis Dieks (Utrecht)
Emergence, Reduction, Underdetermination and Explanation in Recent Quantum Gravity Research 

Friday 6 June 

9.45 Coffee 

10.00 - 11.00 Mauricio Suarez (London / Madrid) 
Propensities, Chances, and Experimental Statistics 

11.00 - 12.00 Mark Sprevak (Edinburgh)
Fictionalism about Neural Representations 

12.00 - 12.30 Lunch 

12.30 - 13.30 Anouk Barberousse (Lille / Paris)
Bayesian Methods in Climate Modeling 

2013 (link to abstracts)

Thursday 20 June

12:45 Coffee
Welcome, Philosophy Dept. Chair Prof. Reidar Lie

13:00 - 14:00 Margaret Morrison (Univ. of Toronto)
Inconsistent Models: Problems and Perspectives

14:15-15:15 Wendy Parker (Durham Univ. UK)
Simulation, Measurement & the Construction of Global Climate Datasets

15:15 - 15:30 Coffee break

15:30 - 16:30 Michal Walicki (Univ. of Bergen, Institute of Informatics)
The holism of truth and paradox
(joint work with Sjur Dyrkolbotn)

Friday 21 June

9:45 Coffee

10:00 - 11:00 Alexander Paseau (Oxford Univ.)
Knowledge of Mathematics Without Proof

11:15 - 12:15 Rani L. Anjum (Norwegian Univ. of Life Sciences UMB)
Causation, Powers and Probability (joint work with Stephen Mumford)

12:15 - 13:00 Lunch 

13:00 - 14:00 Colin Howson (LSE)
The Importance of Being Bayesian

FRIPRO-FRIHUMSAM senior research grant co-held with K. Cahill (Univ. of Bergen) awarded by the Norwegian Research Council, 2019-2023. Title: Mathematics with a Human Face. Set Theory within a Naturalized Wittgensteinean Framework