Norman Sieroka

Norman Sieroka
Universität Bremen | Uni Bremen · Institute of Philosophy

Prof. Dr. Dr.

About

114
Publications
5,147
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Introduction
Full Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bremen, Germany (since 2019). Member of the Directory Board of ETH’s Turing Centre Zurich and of the Governance Board of the ETH think tank "RETHINK". Guest professor in philosophy at Notre Dame (USA, 2015). Doctorate degree and "Habilitation" in philosophy (ETH Zurich, 2009 & 2012). Diploma and doctorate degree in Physics (University of Heidelberg, 2002 & 2004). M.Phil. in History and Philosophy of Science (University of Cambridge, 1999). Research interests: philosophy of time, philosophy of science, natural philosophy, phenomenology, critical thinking in research and education.
Additional affiliations
April 2019 - May 2022
ETH Zurich
Position
  • Lecturer (Privatdozent)
Description
  • website: https://chab.ethz.ch/das-departement/personen/a-z/person-detail.MTE4ODM5.TGlzdC82MDEsLTIxMzAxOTI4MDM=.html
April 2017 - July 2017
Universität Bremen
Position
  • Professor
October 2016 - March 2019
ETH Zurich
Position
  • Managing Director
Education
June 2009 - January 2013
ETH Zurich
Field of study
  • Philosophy
May 2004 - May 2009
ETH Zurich
Field of study
  • Philosophy
July 2002 - May 2004
Universität Heidelberg
Field of study
  • Physics

Publications

Publications (114)
Article
When calculating structural or spectroscopic properties of molecular crystals, the question arises whether it is sufficient to simulate only a single molecule or a small molecular cluster or whether the simulation of the entire crystal is indispensable. In this work we juxtapose calculations on the high‐pressure structural properties of the (period...
Article
Full-text available
Well-being depends not only on what happens but also on when it happens. There are temporal aspects of well-being, and to a large extent those aspects are about relative timing—about being “in-tact.” On the one hand, there is a perspectival aspect about being in-tact with one’s past, present, and future or, in a less involved sense, with one’s life...
Article
Zeit spielt eine grundlegende Rolle im menschlichen Leben. Zu bestimmen, was ihr Wesen ausmacht, ist bekanntermassen nicht einfach – und ist vielleicht auch nicht die philosophisch interessanteste Herausforderung. Wichtiger scheint es, verschiedene Lebensbereiche zunächst auf ihre unterschiedlichen Zeitauffassungen hin zu untersuchen und sich zu fr...
Article
Zusammenfassung Die Auseinandersetzung mit auditorischen Merkwürdigkeiten und Ambiguitäten ist nicht nur unterhaltsam, sie ist auch ein wichtiger Treiber für die auditorische Grundlagenforschung. Der gleiche akustische Reiz kann tatsächlich auf unterschiedliche Weisen wahrgenommen werden. Wir hören eben nicht nur „mit den Ohren“, sondern diverse we...
Article
The aim of this paper is to sketch an approach for integrating the historiography of the sciences and of philosophy. More precisely, the paper suggests a method for investigating interactions within transdisciplinary constellations of researchers working in philosophy and in the exact sciences. I start off by introducing specific notions of analogy...
Chapter
[Full text: https://doi.org/10.11588/oepn.2021.0.7959] Alles das, was individuell von Menschen erfahren und erlebt wird, und auch sämtliche äußeren Geschehnisse und Abläufe – insbesondere in der Natur – können gemäß ihrem Nacheinander, und damit zeitlich, angeordnet werden. In diesem Sinne ist Zeit immer ein Ordnungsparameter von Ereignissen. Stri...
Article
Time is a fundamental dimension for humans, independently of whether they are considered primarily as biological-physical or as mental beings. Accordingly, a broad range of academic disciplines investigates questions about time in its different manifestations: as physical time, as geologic or deep time, as individually experienced or psychological...
Article
In: Archiv für Begriffsgeschichte
Article
Das Phänomen der Zeit gehört zu den grossen Geheimnissen der Existenz, des Denkens und der Wissenschaften. Ein Versuch, sich der Vielfalt der verschiedenen Arten von Zeit, Zeitskalen und Zeitordnungen zu nähern.
Article
The idea for a new interactive teaching and learning tool derived from an interdisciplinary project and seminar at ETH called “Philosophical Reflections on Digital Methods in Architecture”. In order to facilitate the integration of the typically text-based work in philosophy with the more image-based work in architecture, we developed a custom-made...
Research
Philosophy is often about “big concepts”; concepts such as knowledge, understanding, autonomy, transparency, intelligence, and creativity. And all these concepts are at stake in the context of current research in data science and artificial intelligence. It seems inescapable that we lose some of our own autonomy once our cars start driving autonomo...
Chapter
Most of the secondary literature on Hermann Weyl’s philosophical writings and on his interest in phenomenology focuses on the 1910s and 1920s and on the relation to the work of Edmund Husserl. In contrast, little attention has been paid to Weyl’s later writings and to how they relate to later phenomenology. The present paper aims to fill part of th...
Article
Artificial intelligence (AI) tools are increasingly being applied in drug discovery. While some protagonists point to vast opportunities potentially offered by such tools, others remain sceptical, waiting for a clear impact to be shown in drug discovery projects. The reality is probably somewhere in-between these extremes, yet it is clear that AI i...
Chapter
This paper shows the interdisciplinary prominence of the concept of neighbourhood (Umgebung) in the work of Weyl. It tracks different appearances of this notion in the contexts of mathematics, physics, and the theory of subjectivity, and describes them as variants of one another. The historical and systematic background of this continuous reliance...
Article
Scholars have claimed repeatedly that Anaximander’s notion of the ἄπειρον marks the first metaphysical concept, or even the first theoretical entity, in Western thought. The present paper scrutinizes this claim. Characterizing natural phenomena as ἄπειρος—that is, as being inexhaustible or untraversable by standard human means—was common in daily p...
Poster
Full-text available
The Science of Consciousness (TSC) 2019 is the 26th annual international interdisciplinary conference on fundamental questions and cutting-edge issues connected with conscious experience. TSC is the largest and longest-running conference of its kind, with key areas such as philosophy of mind, cognitive neuroscience, anthropology, biology, physics,...
Article
“A responsible scientist is able to step back, critically reflect his or her own doings, and also explain them to a wider audience. Critical thinking includes the ability to talk to people working in other areas, as well as the broader public. It has to be taught to students and fostered at the university level, and should be practiced in relation...
Article
„Ein verantwortungsbewusster Wissenschaftler ist in der Lage, über die eigenen Handlungen kritisch zu reflektieren und dies auch verständlich darzulegen. Kritisches Denken schließt die Fähigkeit ein, mit Kollegen aus anderen Wissenschaftsfeldern und mit der Öffentlichkeit zu sprechen. Es sollte schon während dem Universitätsstudium gelehrt und gefö...
Book
Die Zeit fließt oder steht, sie ist, was die Uhren messen, und doch hat jedes Ding seine Zeit, im Moment scheint sie vor allem knapp zu sein: Zeit ist eine grundlegende Dimension des menschlichen Daseins, die in verschiedenen Formen auftritt – als physikalische Zeit, als individuell erlebte Zeit, als gesellschaftlich-intersubjektive und als histori...
Chapter
Die Zeit fließt oder steht, sie ist, was die Uhren messen, und doch hat jedes Ding seine Zeit, im Moment scheint sie vor allem knapp zu sein: Zeit ist eine grundlegende Dimension des menschlichen Daseins, die in verschiedenen Formen auftritt – als physikalische Zeit, als individuell erlebte Zeit, als gesellschaftlich-intersubjektive und als histori...
Chapter
Die Zeit fließt oder steht, sie ist, was die Uhren messen, und doch hat jedes Ding seine Zeit, im Moment scheint sie vor allem knapp zu sein: Zeit ist eine grundlegende Dimension des menschlichen Daseins, die in verschiedenen Formen auftritt – als physikalische Zeit, als individuell erlebte Zeit, als gesellschaftlich-intersubjektive und als histori...
Chapter
Die Zeit fließt oder steht, sie ist, was die Uhren messen, und doch hat jedes Ding seine Zeit, im Moment scheint sie vor allem knapp zu sein: Zeit ist eine grundlegende Dimension des menschlichen Daseins, die in verschiedenen Formen auftritt – als physikalische Zeit, als individuell erlebte Zeit, als gesellschaftlich-intersubjektive und als histori...
Chapter
Die Zeit fließt oder steht, sie ist, was die Uhren messen, und doch hat jedes Ding seine Zeit, im Moment scheint sie vor allem knapp zu sein: Zeit ist eine grundlegende Dimension des menschlichen Daseins, die in verschiedenen Formen auftritt – als physikalische Zeit, als individuell erlebte Zeit, als gesellschaftlich-intersubjektive und als histori...
Chapter
Die Zeit fließt oder steht, sie ist, was die Uhren messen, und doch hat jedes Ding seine Zeit, im Moment scheint sie vor allem knapp zu sein: Zeit ist eine grundlegende Dimension des menschlichen Daseins, die in verschiedenen Formen auftritt – als physikalische Zeit, als individuell erlebte Zeit, als gesellschaftlich-intersubjektive und als histori...
Chapter
Die Zeit fließt oder steht, sie ist, was die Uhren messen, und doch hat jedes Ding seine Zeit, im Moment scheint sie vor allem knapp zu sein: Zeit ist eine grundlegende Dimension des menschlichen Daseins, die in verschiedenen Formen auftritt – als physikalische Zeit, als individuell erlebte Zeit, als gesellschaftlich-intersubjektive und als histori...
Chapter
Die Zeit fließt oder steht, sie ist, was die Uhren messen, und doch hat jedes Ding seine Zeit, im Moment scheint sie vor allem knapp zu sein: Zeit ist eine grundlegende Dimension des menschlichen Daseins, die in verschiedenen Formen auftritt – als physikalische Zeit, als individuell erlebte Zeit, als gesellschaftlich-intersubjektive und als histori...
Chapter
Die Zeit fließt oder steht, sie ist, was die Uhren messen, und doch hat jedes Ding seine Zeit, im Moment scheint sie vor allem knapp zu sein: Zeit ist eine grundlegende Dimension des menschlichen Daseins, die in verschiedenen Formen auftritt – als physikalische Zeit, als individuell erlebte Zeit, als gesellschaftlich-intersubjektive und als histori...
Chapter
Die Zeit fließt oder steht, sie ist, was die Uhren messen, und doch hat jedes Ding seine Zeit, im Moment scheint sie vor allem knapp zu sein: Zeit ist eine grundlegende Dimension des menschlichen Daseins, die in verschiedenen Formen auftritt – als physikalische Zeit, als individuell erlebte Zeit, als gesellschaftlich-intersubjektive und als histori...
Chapter
Die Zeit fließt oder steht, sie ist, was die Uhren messen, und doch hat jedes Ding seine Zeit, im Moment scheint sie vor allem knapp zu sein: Zeit ist eine grundlegende Dimension des menschlichen Daseins, die in verschiedenen Formen auftritt – als physikalische Zeit, als individuell erlebte Zeit, als gesellschaftlich-intersubjektive und als histori...
Chapter
Die Zeit fließt oder steht, sie ist, was die Uhren messen, und doch hat jedes Ding seine Zeit, im Moment scheint sie vor allem knapp zu sein: Zeit ist eine grundlegende Dimension des menschlichen Daseins, die in verschiedenen Formen auftritt – als physikalische Zeit, als individuell erlebte Zeit, als gesellschaftlich-intersubjektive und als histori...
Chapter
At times, people feel something which they would describe as “time pressure”. But is time really a substance which could put pressure on us? I shall argue that it is not and that indeed a philosophical revisionism is sought for in this context; namely the avoidance of the permanent use of such false physical and economic metaphors like “time pressu...
Article
In this paper I argue that the term ἄπειρος originally referred to things people experienced as inexhaustible, countless, or untraversable. This everyday usage provided the context for Anaximander’s notion of the ἄπειρον. This observation receives support from Anaximander’s world map, especially from its representation of an agent-indexed boundedne...
Article
This paper aims at closing a gap in recent Weyl research by investigating the role played by Leibniz for the development and consolidation of Weyl's notion of theoretical (symbolic) construction. For Weyl, just as for Leibniz, mathematics was not simply an accompanying tool when doing physics—for him it meant the ability to engage in well-guided sp...
Article
The present paper starts off with the observation that, today as well as throughout history, philosophical debates on suffering and on its possible prevention commonly and prominently refer to time perception and to phenomenal concepts of time (section 1). After specifying the concepts of time and suffering involved (section 2), prominent debates a...
Article
The present paper starts off with the observation that, today as well as throughout history, philosophical debates on suffering and on its possible prevention commonly and prominently refer to time perception and to phenomenal concepts of time (section 1). After specifying the concepts of time and suffering involved (section 2), prominent debates a...
Article
Interview: Die „Critical Thinking“ - Initiative nimmt an der ETH Gestalt an: In der neuen Vorlesung „Philosophische Betrachtungen der Physik II“ diskutieren Michael Hampe (Philosophie), Norman Sieroka (Physik und Philosophie) und Rainer Wallny (Physik) mit Studierenden über Erkenntnisgewinn im Studium.
Conference Paper
In 1918, Hermann Weyl proposed a generalisation of Riemannian geometry, in order to unify general relativity and electrodynamics. This paper investigates the physical, mathematical and philosophical reasons for his subsequent abandonment of any such attempt towards a unified field theory.
Conference Paper
Holography is sometimes claimed to be a fundamental principle in the advancement of quantum gravity. This paper critically evaluates this claim and provides a look back at an important historical forerunner of the modern concept of holography, which is to be found in the work of Hermann Weyl. By the same token, a brief and rather skeptical response...
Book
The book is about the structural relations between phenomenological and neurophysiological aspects of perception, consciousness and time. Its focus lies with auditory perception, since nearly all perceived qualities in hearing – such as pitch, rhythm and the localization or origin of a sound – are most intimately related to temporal patterns and re...
Chapter
The aim of this part (Part II) — that is, of the present and the following two chapters — is to introduce Leibniz’s concept of perception, to argue against approaches of perception which are restricted to conscious states, and to give a first impression as to how this concept might be a helpful means for interpreting results from contemporary neuro...
Chapter
Having introduced Leibniz’s concepts of unconscious perceptions and appetites, the question arises whether there is contemporary empirical evidence for their existence. In Leibniz’s own time the assumption that there are unnoticeable and therefore unconscious perceptions was an uncommon one. As the brief references to Hobbes, Locke, and Descartes h...
Chapter
Having introduced empirical findings about hearing and especially about the close relation between hearing and time, the announced phenomenological re-consideration of their philosophical importance is now due.
Chapter
In the previous chapters, Leibniz’s concept of simple reflection has been identified with a transition from what is in the present into immediate memory, and appetites have been suggested to be differential predispositions referring to the possibility of bringing about something in the immediate future. Hence, the most pervasive processes or dynami...
Chapter
In the previous chapters I have introduced Leibniz’s principle of continuity and have already mentioned his assumption of a continuous accumulation process of unnoticeable perceptions which somehow gives rise to, or results in, noticeable and conscious perceptual states. Then the discussion of the readiness potential (Libet’s experiment) served as...
Chapter
The previous chapter started off with phenomenological considerations about time or, to be a little more specific, about what one might call experiential or perceptual time. Toward the end of the chapter I hinted at several issues and details where a fruitful interaction and mutual enrichment between phenomenology and neuroscience, especially with...
Chapter
During the second half of the last century famous analytic philosophers convincingly argued for a contemporary re-thinking of the works of philosophers from the seventeenth and eighteenth century. John Mackie (1976) considered Problems from Locke, Wilfrid Sellars (1967) wrote Variations on Kantian Themes (book subtitle), and in Individuals Peter St...
Chapter
The initial motivation for the present study, which in turn led me to the work of Leibniz and Husserl, is the simultaneous appreciation of neurophysiology and philosophy — that is, the acknowledgment that philosophy and neurophysiology are important and sensible enterprises which help with understanding the world around us and how we act in it. The...
Chapter
In the previous chapters I have mainly argued from within a Leibnizian perspective — first giving an outline of his account of (unconscious) perception, then relating it to some empirical findings, notably from auditory research, and finally explicating Leibniz’s account of the transition between unconscious and conscious states. In this chapter I...
Article
Viele Menschen fühlen etwas, das sie als «Zeitnot» bezeichnen, und haben ein Bedürfnis, «zur Ruhe zu kommen». Doch was genau ist damit gemeint? Kann es wirklich so etwas wie «Zeitnot» geben? Wo ist die Schraube, an der man drehen muss, um sich die Sehnsucht nach Ruhe erfüllen zu können?
Article
When a high harmonic is removed from a cosine-phase harmonic complex, we hear a sine tone pop out of the perception; the sine tone has the pitch of the high harmonic while the tone complex has the pitch of its fundamental frequency, f0. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as Duifhuis Pitch (DP). This paper describes the cortical representation...
Book
This small volume provides a systematic introduction to philosophical questions in and about physics and to their historical development. The book starts by introducing important stages in the history of physics from antiquity and the early modern period up until the last two centuries. In doing so, the central epistemological characteristics of ph...
Article
Holography is a fruitful concept in modern physics. However, there is no generally accepted definition of the term, and its significance, especially as a guiding principle in quantum gravity, is rather uncertain. The present paper critically evaluates variants of the holographic principle from two perspectives: (i) their relevance in contemporary a...
Chapter
This paper attempts to reconstruct a process of change, to make explicit a historical wavering between different ways of describing matter in physics and to investigate its broader philosophical significance. Such an investigation of a conceptual development by closely inter-twining systematic and historical considerations can be viewed as a partic...
Article
Der Aufsatz bieten einen skizzenhaften Überblick über das Wechselverhältnis von Weyl und Medicus um 1920 und über die Rolle, die sie Fichte für die Diskussionen in der Philosophie der Mathematik und Physik zuschreiben. Mit Fichte und Husserl distanziert sich Weyl schon früh vom Logizismus in der Mathematik. Im Zuge der Grundlagenkrise unterscheide...
Article
Der Aufsatz skizziert das Wechselverhältnis von Weyl und Medicus um 1920 und reflektiert die Rolle, die sie Fichte für die Diskussionen in der Philosophie der Mathematik und Physik zuschreiben. Mit Fichte und Husserl distanziert sich Weyl schon früh vom Logizismus in der Mathematik. Im Zuge der Grundlagenkrise unterscheidet er ein intuitionistisch-...
Chapter
Im Folgenden werde ich den Begriffen der Wahrnehmung (Perzeption) und des Strebens (Appetits) bei Leibniz nachgehen; genauer: ihrer kontinuierlichen Komposition und ihrem Verhältnis zueinander. Anschließend soll exemplarisch die Relevanz und mögliche Stärke aufgezeigt werden, die der Leibnizsche Ansatz für gegenwärtige Fragestellungen im Kontext de...
Article
This article investigates an intertwined systematic and historical view on theories of matter. It follows an approach brought forward by Hermann Weyl around 1925, applies it to recent theories of matter in physics (including geometrodynamics and quantum gravity), and embeds it into a more general philosophical framework. First, I shall discuss the...
Book
Hermann Weyl (1885–1955) ist einer der bedeutendsten Mathematiker und theoretischen Physiker des vergangenen Jahrhunderts. Seine Arbeiten sind in auffälliger Weise von umfassenderen philosophischen Überlegungen inspiriert und durchdrungen. Die innermathematische Debatte um Intuitionismus und Formalismus versteht er entlang einer Auseinandersetzung...
Article
This paper contrasts Jonathan Bennett’s field metaphysical interpretation of Spinoza with field theoretic approaches from modern physics. Following on from the variety of examples given by Bennett and his followers, this discussion encompasses both classical as well as quantum field theories; in particular, different versions of geometrodynamics an...
Article
This paper aims to show the importance of both phenomenological and neuroscientific investigations into hearing with the intention of gaining an adequate understanding of the relation between subjective and objective time. On the basis of examples taken from the auditory domain, I will present structural analogies between the concepts of an extende...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
http://www.europhilosophie.eu/recherche/IMG/pdf/19B-Sieroka-beitrag.pdf
Article
Around 1918 Hermann Weyl resisted the logicists’ attempt to reduce mathematics to logic and set theory. His philosophical points of reference were Husserl and Fichte. In the 1920s, Weyl distinguished between the position of these two philosophers and separated the conceptual affinity between intuitionism and phenomenology from the affinity between...
Chapter
The aim of this short essay is to show that the view of physics as a symbolic construction of nature is specially suitable for the examination of epistemic problems of modern particle physics. We point out that the awareness of these problems arose already with the foundation of classical electrodynamics. Then we give a short description of salient...
Article
Full-text available
Harmonic tone complexes with component phases, adjusted using a variant of a method proposed by Schroeder, can produce pure-tone masked thresholds differing by >20 dB. This phenomenon has been qualitatively explained by the phase characteristics of the auditory filters on the basilar membrane, which differently affect the flat envelopes of the Schr...
Article
[article in English incl. the following German summary:] Nach Leibniz sind es die Summe und das Zusammenspiel der, wie er sie nennt, perceptions insensibles (nicht-wahrnehmbare Perzeptionen), die die (wahrnehmbaren) Perzeptionen begründen. Nicht-wahrnehmbare Perzeptionen bilden für ihn eine Voraussetzung für bewusste Zustände und sind konstitutiv...
Article
This paper investigates Hermann Weyl’s reception of philosophical concepts stemming from the German Idealist Johann Gottlieb Fichte. In particular, Weyl’s ‘agens theory’ of matter, which he held around 1925, will be looked at. In the extant literature, the—admittedly also important—influence of Husserl on Weyl has mainly been addressed. Thus, apart...
Article
This paper investigates Hermann Weyl's reception of philosophical concepts stemming from the German Idealist Johann Gottlieb Fichte. In particular, Weyl's 'agens theory' of matter, which he held around 1925, will be looked at. In the extant literature, the admittedly also important-influence of Husserl on Weyl has mainly been addressed. Thus, apart...
Article
This paper shows how different axiomatic and constructive approaches within quantum field theory can be understood in terms of the so-called ,picture theory' of Heinrich Hertz. Each approach will count as a different picture due to the different status of the various concepts (symbols) they are employing, like observables, gauge invariance, confine...
Article
The aim of this paper is the introduction and comparison of consistent albeit passive mechanical models for the whole cochlea. A widely used transmission line filterbank, which hydrodynamically speaking is a long wave approximation (L model), suffers from a well-known inconsistency: its main modeling assumption is not valid within the resonance reg...

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
Science, it seems, is always about critical reflection, is always about inquiring and questioning things rather than taking them simply at face value. But perhaps this is just an ideal? Daily practices may often look very different. There are numerous constraints such as economic needs, funding and time limits, peer pressure, and ethical concerns. These constraints often discourage efforts to critically assess the scientific methods employed, the concepts presupposed, and the conclusions drawn. Obviously, one cannot always question everything. A constant critical awareness, however, is important. And fostering this awareness is the aim of the present project. If asked, a scientist should be able to justify his or her terminology, research question, and experimental setup. He or she should be able to step back, critically reflect his or her own doings, and also explain them to a wider audience. In fact, this ability to answer queries in a reliable and critical fashion is the first and maybe the most important way of being responsible – as already suggested by the word “response-ability” itself.
Project
This project consists of two parts. The first part consists in an investigation of the concepts and issues which stand at the beginning of the occidental tradition in philosophy and which became formative for later intellectual history. The aim here is to show historical and systematic relations between particular concepts from presocratic philosophers and some central issues in modern philosophy and science. The second part of the project investigates the historical and systematic relations between certain concepts in contemporary physics and in the natural philosophy of the early modern period and of classic German philosophy. The focus there is on the concepts of matter and field.
Project
Time is a fundamental dimension in our encounter with the world in which we live both as biophysical and as mental beings. And time appears in different guises: for instance, as physical time, as perceived time, as social-intersubjective time, and as historical time. Accordingly, time was and is a prominent theme of fundamental discussions in various philosophical subdisciplines, such as metaphysics, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, history of philosophy, and ethics. Comparatively little attention, however, has been devoted to the communalities and interconnections between these discussions. The present project aims to partially fill this gap. The project intends to show how particular assumptions and presuppositions about time, stemming from one of these subdisciplines or from one specific philosophical tradition, do have consequences regarding assumptions about other subdisciplines. By doing this, the project develops its own multiperspectival view on time, without falling prey to a premature philosophical reductionism.