Dr. Gilad Nir

Dr. Gilad Nir

Postdoctoral Minerva Fellow

Period at the center: October 2021 - September 2023

Research Project: The Riddle of Transformation

Email: gilad.nir@uni-potsdam.de


I studied philosophy, sociology and anthropology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem from 2002 to 2008. I received my PhD in philosophy from the University of Chicago in 2017 with a dissertation titled Rules of Inference: A Study in Early Analytic Philosophy. Since then I have held postdoc positions at the University of Leipzig and the University of Jena. Since 2021 I am a Minerva Stiftung Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Potsdam. My work concerns the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein, the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, the intersection of the philosophy of mind and logic, and the philosophy of language.

Research Project

The Riddle of Transformation

Riddle solving is a paradigmatic example of a form of reasoning which brings about a transformation of our understanding. Unlike ordinary reasoning, which proceeds by applying concepts we already understand to cases which neatly fall under them, riddles force us to reach beyond our present understanding of the meanings of the words in which the riddle is posed. Intellectual crises that call for a similar response may arise both in the theoretical and in the practical domains of thought, for example the disintegration of scientific paradigms, the emergence of unresolvable ethical dilemmas, the collapse of political legitimacy, and the appearance of new aesthetic sensibilities. Clarifying the nature of the forms of reasoning that enable us to overcome such crises is the main task of the project. A central obstacle that stands in the way of clarifying the transformation of thought is the following. Since transformations bring about the modification of accepted criteria of justification, it is not clear how they themselves could be justified. The more radical the transformation, the less it seems like its benefits could be rationally appreciated by those who are asked to adopt it. We seem forced to choose between denying the reality of transformation or embracing some form of relativism. The goal of my inquiry is to provide an account of transformation that avoids both of these extremes.

Selected publications


Wittgenstein’s Reductio“, in: Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 10:3 (2022).

‘In a certain sense we cannot make mistakes in logic’: Wittgenstein, Psychologism and the Question of the Normativity of Logic“, in: Disputatio 10:18 (2021): One Hundred Years Thinking the Tractatus , forthcoming.

Toward a Resolute Reading of Being and Time: Heidegger, Wittgenstein, and the Dilemma between Inconsistency and Ineffability“, in: The Southern Journal of Philosophy, forthcoming.

Are Rules of Inference Superfluous? Wittgenstein vs. Frege and Russell“, in: Teorema XL: 2 (2021) 45—61.

The Tractatus and the Riddles of Philosophy“, in: Philosophical Investigations 44:1 (2021), 19—42.