Graham Leigh, a researcher at the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Graham Leigh, researcher in logic at the University of Gothenburg,
Photo: Bahareh Afshari

Logic receives prestigious Wallenberg Academy prolongation grant

Graham Leigh, a researcher at the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science, has been awarded the prestigious extension of the Wallenberg Academy Fellow grant for his project Taming Jörmungandr: The Logical Foundations of Circularity.

Leigh is one of only 16 researchers admitted to this prolongation grant in 2020. Wallenberg Academy Fellows is a long-term program that supports young researchers. At the end of the first five-year period the Wallenberg Academy Fellows can be nominated for another five years of funding.

When Graham Leigh became a Wallenberg Academy Fellow in 2015, he was able to form a research group that studies logic at the intersection of mathematics, philosophy and theoretical computer science.

“We examine questions such as: What is truth and why do we trust it? How do we distinguish true claims from false ones?”, says Graham Leigh.

Similar questions have preoccupied many logicians and philosophers since ancient days, what is new in your approach?
“Rather than investigating these questions in isolation, we view them as instances of more general phenomena: What rules do we rely on when deducing new truths from old? What assumptions underly our acts of abstraction and generalisation?”

When he started five years ago he said:
“There isn’t really a clear ending. It’s all about digging deeper. I’m building an interdisciplinary research team from various fields, but with the same logical underpinnings, and then we’ll see what we find. Perhaps we’ll learn more about computer science, or maybe our focus will be more philosophical. I don’t actually know yet.”

What views do you have today? Have you changed direction?
“When I look at logic as a subject, I don't see the traditional division into Mathematics, Philosophy, Computer Science and Linguistics. Instead, I see different cultures that share the same underlying concepts and problems, just expressed in different languages.”

Please tell us little more about your new project.
“Circularity plays a crucial role in all areas of logic. It manifests in self-reference in language, in algorithms, even in our notions of identity and similarity. This project is an attempt to unify the different manifestations of circularity and develop a general theory for reasoning about such concepts.”

Now Graham Leigh can continue with his research project for another five years thanks to the grant from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW).

Written by Monica Havström


See Graham Leigh's personal web page

More information
Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (external web) Using logic to get to the truth