Carnegie Mellon University

Summer School in Logic and Formal Epistemology

There is a long tradition of fruitful interaction between philosophy and the sciences.

Logic and statistics emerged, historically, from combined philosophical and scientific inquiry into the nature of mathematical and scientific inference; and the modern conceptions of psychology, linguistics, and computer science are the results of sustained reflection on the nature of mind, language, and computation. In today's climate of disciplinary specialization, however, foundational reflection is becoming increasingly rare. As a result, developments in the sciences are often conceptually ill-founded, and philosophical debates often lack scientific substance.

The Department of Philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University holds a three-week summer school in logic and formal epistemology for promising undergraduates in philosophy, mathematics, computer science, linguistics, economics, and other sciences. The goals are to:

  • introduce promising students to cross-disciplinary fields of research at an early stage in their career; and
  • forge lasting links between the various disciplines.

The summer school is usually held the first half of June. There will be morning and afternoon lectures and daily problem sessions, as well as planned outings and social events.

The summer school is free. That is, we will provide:

  • full tuition
  • dormitory accommodations on the Carnegie Mellon campus

So students need only pay for round trip travel to Pittsburgh and living expenses while here. We expect to be able to accept about 25 students in 2018. There are no grades, and the courses do not provide formal course credit.

The summer school is open to undergraduates, as well as to students who will have just completed their first year of graduate school. Applicants need not be US citizens. There is a $30 nonrefundable application fee.

2018 Summer School -- June 11 - June 29

Our Summer School 2018 coordinates with the North American Summer School in Logic, Language and Information, NASSLLI, which constitutes the 3rd week of this year's Summer School, June 25-29, 2018. Weeks #1 and #2 are organized in order to prepare the Summer School participants for attending the NASSLLI.

Week #1
(June 11-15)

Instructor: Mandy Simons and other Linguistics Faculty
Title: Introduction to Linguistics for Philosophers and Logicians

Description: In the first week, we'll provide a whirlwind introduction to the fundamentals of formal linguistics, including phonology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. The course will also include a brief introduction to the computational issues of Natural Language Processing. The goal is to provide the background necessary to understand the linguistic underpinnings of questions in formal semantics, computational linguistics and formal philosophy of language.

Week #2
(June 19-22)

Instructor: Adam Bjorndahl and other Formal Epistemology Faculty
Title: Introduction to Epistemic Logic and the Probability of Consensus

Description: The first part of the week will introduce epistemic logic, a branch of modal logic concerned with reasoning about knowledge and belief. No background in modal logic will be assumed. We'll motivate the development of the formal tools, survey some classic results in the field, and consider some extensions of the basic framework, such as: multi-agent systems and common knowledge, public announcements, and topological approaches. In the second part of the week we will consider applications of the theory of probability to problems involving consensus among rational agents, both with respect to their degrees of belief and with respect to cooperative decision making.

Week #3
(June 25-29)

Title: NASSLLI-2018

The North American Summer School in Logic, Language and Information has been providing outstanding interdisciplinary educational opportunities to graduate students and advanced undergraduates in logic, linguistics, computer science, cognitive science, and philosophy since it was launched as a biennial event in 2002. NASSLLI brings these disciplines together with the goal of producing excellence in the study of how minds and machines alike accomplish the tasks of representing, communicating, manipulating and reasoning with information.