sand-formation

Current Visitors

Marius Backmann

Marius Backmann obtained his PhD in 2011 at the University of Cologne with a thesis on Humean Libertarianism: Outline of a Revisionist Account of the Joint Problem of Free Will, Determinism and Laws of Nature. After a brief stint at the Centre for Science and Research Management in Speyer, he returned to academia in 2013 to take up a postdoc position at Thomas Müller’s project „What is Really Possible?“ at the University of Konstanz. Since November 2015, Marius is funded within his own research project The Metaphysics of Induction  in Konstanz. Apart from his work on ontologically motivated attempts at a justification of induction, my research focuses on philosophy of time, analytic metaphysics, metaphysics of science, laws of nature, and free will.

Dates of visit: 21 July 2017 – 20 July 2018

Email: marius.backmann@uni-konstanz.de 

Research Project

Induction and Necessary Connections in the Sciences

Some of the proponents of the view that the problem of induction could be solved by inferring the existence of necessary connections from which to deduce regularities concerning future or unobserved cases have also claimed that such an inference pattern can be found in scientific reasoning. If these necessitarians are correct, we should be able to identify the proposed inference patterns in scientific publications. The working hypothesis is that these reconstructions of scientific reasoning do not fit actual scientific practice. In order to establish this, I will survey publications in medical and chemical research. 

 

Simon Beard

Simon Beard is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge's Centre for the Study of Existential Risk. His research examines the ethical challenges in evaluating existential risks, with a special focus on the risks associated with developing new technologies. He is working to establish alternatives to Cost Benefit Analysis for use in evaluating long term decisions that can take account of the value of future generations and the cost of existential risk. Before joining CSER, Simon worked as a research fellow at the University of Oxford where he conducted research in Population Ethics: Theory and Practice. Simon holds a PhD in Philosophy from LSE.

Dates of visit: 24 April  –  29 June 2018

Email: sjb316@cam.ac.uk

Research Project

This project investigates at new approaches to incorporating concerns relating to existential and global catastrophic risk into debates in welfare economics and distributive justice. At present, the evaluation of existential risk usually assumes a Cost-Benefit Analysis model based upon Total Utilitarianism, whilst critics of Total Utilitarianism often object to calls for greater priority to be given to the mitigation of existential risk on these grounds. However, not enough has been done to attempt to evaluate such risk from alternative perspectives. The project focuses on the Competing Claims view and on the use of discontinuous welfare functions in welfare economics. 

 

Dinçer Çevik

Dinçer Çevik is a graduate student at the Department of Philosophy in Mugla Sitki Kocman University, Turkey. He graduated from Middle East Technical University, Turkey in 2008 with a major in Philosophy, and a minor in industrial design . In fall 2010 he was offered a research assistant position by Mugla Sitki Kocman University Philosophy Department and accepted it. Since then he has been a research assistant and a graduate student at that Department. He graduated from Mugla Sitki Kocman Philosophy Department’s MA program in 2011. In the same year, he applied for their PhD program and got accepted, enabling him  to resume his position as a research assistant as well. Currently He is a research assistant at Mugla Sitki Kocman University Philosophy Department. 

Dates of visit: 8 January – 8 June 2018 

Email: dincorcevik@gmail.com

Research Project

As a PhD candidate Dinçer Çevik  is working on the causal explanations in economics. His questions are (a) What do models explain in economics? (b) What kind of explanations do models in economics provide? (c) Is there a single unifying account of all explanations in economics like Physics and Evolutionary Biology? Answering (a) and (b) and (c) He will focus on the modelling practice of economics. In his research he will approach this problem complex by focusing on how generalizations are being used in explanatory practices in economics. Currently He is working on the issue of the nature of economical evidence and what can it tell about the nature of explanations in economics.

 

Dong-Ryul Choo

Dong-Ryul Choo is a professor of philosophy at Hallym University, South Korea.  He studied at Seoul National University (Korea) and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA), from which he got his Ph. D. in philosophy in 1994.  He has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of California-San Diego (Dept. of Philosophy) in 2003-2004, and at Yale University (Dept. of Political Science) in 2010 - 2011.  His research interests include moral realism and naturalism in metaethics, forms and the flexibility of consequentialism in normative ethics, and distributive justice and viable forms and structure of egalitarianism in political philosophy.

Dates of visit: 

8 January 2018 – 3 January 2019

Email: drchoo@hallym.ac.kr

Research Project

Priority revisited 

At the LSE, the primary subject of his research will be the contrast between luck egalitarianism and prioritarianism.  He plans to substantiate three theses:  First, the advertised merits of prioritarianism are widely overestimated.  Second, there are many more cases than usually expected where two positions would send different (often opposite) normative signals concerning the justice of a particular distributive profile or change.  And finally, when it comes to its credential as a robust form of distributive pluralism, prioritarianism faces serious problems.

 

Thomas Ferretti

After completing a BA (2009) and MA (2011) in Philosophy at Université de Montréal (Canada), Thomas Ferretti received his PhD in Philosophy from Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) in October 2016. Thomas specialises in contemporary political philosophy, theories of justice and economic ethics. He am currently an FRQSC postdoctoral fellow (2016-2018) (Quebec’s Research Fund). Thomas started his postdoctoral research project and taught business ethics at the University of Toronto (2016-2017). As a postdoctoral fellow at the LSE (2017-2018), he will focus on what justice requires in terms of financial regulation. 

Dates of visit: 17 October 2017 – 16 October 2018

Email: t.ferretti@lse.ac.uk   

Research Project

Justice requires egalitarian organizations: The case of financial risks

The way our public institutions regulate economic organizations has an important impact on the distribution of resources. This project focuses on what liberal egalitarian theories of justice require in terms of the regulation of economic organizations in various sectors of the economy. During my PhD at Université catholique de Louvain, I investigated whether public institutions should promote worker cooperatives. In the first year of my postdoctoral research at the University of Toronto, I studied the case of the collaborative economy and investigated whether public institutions should promote specific kinds of collaborative platforms. This year at the LSE, I investigate what justice requires in terms of the regulation of finance organizations, and more specifically in terms of the management of financial risks. 

 

Roberto Fumagalli

Dr. Roberto Fumagalli is Junior Professor at the University of Bayreuth and Visiting Scholar at the London School of Economics and the University of Pennsylvania. He completed his PhD at the London School of Economics in 2011 with a thesis on the philosophical foundations of neuroeconomics. His main research interests are in philosophy of economics, philosophy of science, and moral philosophy. He has published articles in several journals, including Economics and Philosophy, Biology and Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, Erkenntnis, Social Choice & Welfare, the Journal of Economic Methodology, Philosophy of the Social Sciences, and Studia Leibnitiana.

Email: r.fumagalli@lse.ac.uk

Research Project

Who is Afraid of Scientific Imperialism?

In recent years, several authors debated about the justifiability of scientific imperialism, the systematic application of a discipline's findings and methods to model and explain phenomena investigated by other disciplines. To date, however, widespread disagreement remains regarding both the identification and the normative evaluation of scientific imperialism. In this paper, I aim to remedy this situation by making some conceptual distinctions concerning scientific imperialism and by providing a normative evaluation of the most prominent objections to it. I shall argue that these objections provide a basis for opposing some instances of scientific imperialism, but do not yield any cogent reason to think that scientific imperialism in general is objectionable or unjustified. I then highlight this result's implications for the ongoing philosophical debate about the justifiability of scientific imperialism.

 

Katherine Furman

Katherine is a philosophy lecturer at University College Cork, where she directs the MA in Health and Society. Previously she was a Postdoctoral Research Associate on the Knowledge for Use project at Durham University. She received her PhD in Philosophy from the London School of Economics in 2016. Her research interests are in Philosophy of Science, Epistemology and Ethics, especially in the context of health policy cases.

Dates of visit: August 2017 – July 2018

Email: katherine.furman@durham.ac.uk

Research Project

During her time at CPNSS, Katherine will focus on whether causal claims can be made about single cases (or a small number of cases). In particular, whether ‘model cases’ can be used to assess an intervention’s success in situations where RCTs (Randomised Control Trials) are not appropriate. This has implications for two distinct but related areas of academic debate. The first is the methodological debate over the evidential dominance of RCTs for testing the success of interventions. The second is the philosophical debate over what kinds of evidence are required for causal inference. Both of these issues will be examined in the context of the ongoing Greater Manchester Project, as part of the Knowledge for Use project.

 

Catherine Greene

Catherine Greene have an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from LSE. After this she spent the next 15 years working in finance. Catherine returned to the LSE to do a Masters and PhD in the Philosophy of Social Science. Her thesis topic is laws in the social sciences. She also do some consulting for a number of financial firms.

Dates of visit: March 2017 – June 2018

Email: email@catherinegreene.co.uk 

Research Project

The philosophical assumptions of financial theory

I am currently researching a number of topics in the philosophy of finance, including the relationship between asset prices and valuation methodologies, the assumptions of behavioural finance, and the application of physics to finance.

 

Renato Kinouchi

Renato Kinouchi is Associate Professor of Epistemology and Philosophy of Science at Federal University of ABC, Brazil. He obtained his Bachelor´s in Psychology (1999) and his PhD in Philosophy (2004) at Federal University of São Carlos. He was a postdoctoral fellow at University of São Paulo (2004-2006) and Visiting Scholar at University of Lisbon (2012). His current research interests include philosophy of science and philosophy of technology. During his stay at the CPNSS he will focus on models and fictions in science, the role of values and the limits of risk modeling.

Dates of visit: 17 April  – 15 June 2018

Email: renato.kinouchi@ufabc.edu.br

Research Project

Analysis of values applied to risk modeling

This project defends that both risk and uncertainty exhibit an unavoidable entanglement between facts and values. When applied to the general notion of models as fictions, it implicates the recognition that models of risk and uncertainty are not pure descriptions but evaluative descriptions with prescriptive character. In other words, such models should be considered value-laden fictions similar to fables and parables. Finally, it is proposed a minimalist model of risk and uncertainty that fulfils the conceptual constraints discussed above. The model takes the form of a probabilistic trolley problem where the action of pulling the lever does not necessarily imply an undesirable outcome but only engenders the probability of such outcome.

 

Mikael Klintman

Mikael Klintman is Professor of Sociology at Lund University in Sweden, and a visiting scholar at CPNSS, at London School of Economics. The overriding theme of his research concerns preconditions for people and organisations to produce valid knowledge and make choices that reduce environmental and health-related harm, in a wide range of sectors. Theoretically, he combines social and behaviour economic strands of thought with evolutionary theory. This combination of thought has helped him to develop a framework of “social rationality” for explaining human and organisational motivations to engage in, or not engage in, activities that reduce environmental and health-related harm. This is discussed in depth in his book: “Citizen-Consumers and Evolution: Reducing Environmental Harm through Our Social Motivation” (Palgrave, 2013). More recently, he has examined fundamental lessons that ought to be subject to mutual learning about human interests across the social, economic, and evolutionary sciences, despite the compartmentalisation of each discipline’s knowledge, and often "proud ignorance" of what the others are doing. This work led to his book “Human Sciences and Human Interests”: Integrating the Social, Economic and Social Sciences” (Routledge, 2017). 

Dates of visit: 25 January 2017 – 31 July 2018

Email: mikael.klintman@soc.lu.se

Research Project

Understanding and Managing Knowledge Resistance Concerning Environmental Problems

Currently, I am working on how to understand and overcome certain versions of, the universal phenomenon of knowledge resistance (including but moving far beyond post-truth and alternative facts), applied to environmental and health-related problems (how various human sciences perceive and analyse resistance to knowledge, with empirical analyses of the extent knowledge resistance can be managed and reduced through various types of knowledge collaborations of diverse participants). I’m doing interviews and focus group discussions with human scientists, and try to see to what extent inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration can serve as ways for coping with conscious as well as unconscious knowledge resistance.

 

Réka Markovich

Réka Markovich, JD holds four positions in Hungary: she is assistant professor at the Department of Business Law at Budapest University of Technology and Economics; she is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Logic at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), where she is also employed as a junior research fellow and a lecturer. She obtained her law degree at Pázmány Péter Catholic University (in 2005), also receiving there an M.A. in Communication (in 2007). She received her M.A. in Logic and Theory of Science at ELTE (in 2012). In the spring of 2017, she was a visiting research scholar at University of Edinburgh’s Law School. Her research focuses on deontic logic and other facets of the relations between logic and law; she is currently working on developing a formal representation of Hohfeldian fundamental legal conceptions.

Dates of visit: 21 September 2017 – 20 September 2018

Email: markovich.reka@yahoo.com

Research Project

Hohfeld’s analysis of the different types of rights and duties is highly influential in analytical legal theory. Yet a century later, the formalization of his theory remains, in various ways, unresolved. Réka Markovich has been developing her own uniform approach to formally representing Hohfeldian conceptions. Her starting point is David Makinson’s and Marek Sergot’s critique and comments on the theory of normative positions’ developed by Kanger and Lindahl. She aims, on the one hand, to provide solutions to what Sergot perceives as shortcomings or limitations of classical approaches. On the other hand, she incorporates various considerations from legal theory that she considers fundamental to formalizing law (as well as understanding, grasping what being law consists in). The formal system she has developed is based on state enforcement in the case of the claim-right’s group of rights and duties, and the power’s duty-generating potential in case of the power’s group. During her time at CPNSS, Réka Markovich will focus on developing a semantics that can be added to a syntax built up along the above lines using SDL and ET as axiomatic background systems.

 

Joe Mazor

Joe Mazor received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2009.  He has since been a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton’s Center for Human Values and at Stanford’s Center for Ethics in Society.  He was an LSE Fellow and a temporary assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method. During his time at the CPNSS, he will work on projects related to natural resource property rights, the ethics of severe uncertainty, and the philosophy of welfare economics.

Dates of visit: 4 November 2016 – 30 September 2018

Email: j.m.mazor@lse.ac.uk

Research Project

On the Nature and Significance of Welfare Economics

A key project I will be working on at CPNSS is a book on the philosophy of welfare economics.  The book will develop a comprehensive critique of welfare economics as it is currently practiced.  In advancing this critique, the book has several key goals a) a careful explanation of the different welfare economics frameworks in use today, b) clear connections between contemporary scholarship in political philosophy and contemporary welfare economics, with a focus on the practical consequences of the philosophical debates for the field c) a critique of the welfare economic frameworks aimed at welfare economists, but accessible to anyone who has taken microeconomics at the undergraduate level.

 

Krzysztof Poslajko

Krzysztof Posłajko is an assistant professor of philosophy at the Jagiellonian Univeristy in Krakow, where he received his PhD in 2010. His work focuses on the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and, more recently, social ontology. 

Dates of visit: 23 April  –  19 May 2018

Email: krzysztof.poslajko@uj.edu.pl

Research Project

Natural kinds in folk psychology and social ontology

The main question of the project is: are psychological and social kinds fit to be treated as natural kinds, even if we accept a contemporary, more liberal version of natural kinds' theory, according to which to be a natural kind it is enough to form a cluster of properties which is fit to function in inductive inferences? And, should the answer turn out to be negative, as the initial hypothesis claims, what are the proper philosophical consequences of such a result? Does such conclusion warrant any form of anti-realism about the domain of the psychological and the social?

 

 

Cristian Soto

Cristian Soto is assistant professor of philosophy at the Departamento de Filosofía, Universidad de Chile. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Melbourne under the supervision of Howard Sankey and Dana Goswick, where he developed a minimalist approach to the metaphysics of science, addressing such issues as the sources and boundaries of scientific ontology, the physico-mathematical structure of scientific laws, the epistemic indispensability argument in the philosophy of mathematics, and the role of models in scientific thinking. He is currently undertaken a governmental-funded research grant on the philosophy of scientific laws (CONICYT, Chile, 2016-2019). As part of this investigation, he visited the Department of Philosophy at the University of Miami, U.S.A. (September-October 2017). He is also a founding member of the Chilean Society for the Philosophy of Science (www.sochific.cl) on www.csoto.cl

Dates of visit: 23 April  –  8 June 2018

Email: cssotto@gmail.com

Research Project

The Intertwining of Models and Laws in Scientific Reasoning

While at the CPNSS, Cristian will examine the intertwining of models and laws in scientific reasoning. Views on this issue are often disparate. Inspired in the semantic view of theories, some argue that models enable scientists to perform the tasks that were traditionally associated with laws. Laws, accordingly, should be replaced by models in both scientific practice and jargon. Others, by contrast, contend that laws govern the working of the elements of various abstracts models, and they only indirectly refer to phenomena. Cristian's project aims at providing an account of the intertwining of laws and models in scientific theorising considering the following scenarios: (i) some laws can be conceived of as inference rules for constructing models; (ii) some models play various roles in articulating physical laws; and (iii) laws and models differ in the degree of modal force they bestow on explanations and representations in physical science.

 

David Strohmaier

David Strohmaier received his Bachelor in sociology and philosophy at the University of Göttingen and his master in Philosophy at the University of Sheffield, where he now also undertakes research for his PhD. Much of his work focuses on the connection between the social sciences and philosophy drawing on game and decision theory. He has an interest in preference change, including which rationality criteria apply to our motivational changes and how to model such dynamics.

Dates of visit: 1 March – 8 June 2018

Email: dstrohmaier1@sheffield.ac.uk

Research Project

Towards a Pragmatist Theory of Preference Change

 

In recent years issues of preferences change have attracted increasing attention, for example in the work of L. A. Paul, Richard Pettigrew, and Christian List. During my stay at the LSE I will explore the potential of a pragmatist theory of preference change. According to classical pragmatists such as Charles S. Peirce and John Dewey, disruptions in activity can lead to a recalibration of decision processes, which might include a change of preferences. I formalise this proposal and connect to research at the LSE.

 

Nicholas Teh

Nicholas Teh is Director of the Program in Philosophy, Science and Mathematics and Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He obtained his PhD in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge in 2012, after which he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge till 2015. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation award for his research in the philosophy of physics. Teh’s interests within the philosophy of physics include the philosophy of symmetry (especially gauge symmetry), the philosophy of duality, spacetime theory, and the application of category theory as a meta-mathematical framework for doing science. He has been widely-published in journals such as Philosophy of Science and British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. His recent publications include “Why surplus structure is not superfluous” in British Journal for the Philosophy of Science , “Galileo’s Gauge” in Philosophy of Science , and “Recovering Recovery” in Philosophy of Science.

Dates of visit: 8 January – 6 June 2018

Email: nicholasjoshua.y.teh.2@nd.edu

Research Project

Representing the Observable 

During his visit, Dr Teh will be collaborating with Dr Bryan Roberts on exploring the philosophical foundations of "observables" in classical and quantum physics, especially in relation to the tradition initiated by Pascual Jordan, as well as more recent developments in the theory of PT symmetry and complexified observables. He will also be investigating the notion of an "observer" in spacetime physics, particularly in the non-relativistic regime that has recently found many applications to condensed matter theory

 

Kate Vredenburgh

Kate Vredenburgh is a PhD candidate in philosophy at Harvard University. She works mainly in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of social science, on topics that intersect with metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. Her dissertation is concerned with the explanatory role of preferences — both descriptive and normative — in the social sciences. Othertopics that she works on include: causal and non-causal explanation, the ethics of technology, algorithms and fairness, and explanation in economics.

Dates of visit: 23 April  –  8 June 2018

Email: kvredenburgh@fas.harvard.edu

Research Project

The explanatory power of preferences and reasons in the social sciences

Dissatisfaction with classical rational choice theory has led to the development non-classical choice frameworks, which draw on insights from behavioral economics, consumer theory, and philosophy. My research focuses on the relative explanatory power of reason- versus preference-based frameworks in different domains. One example that I will focus on during my research visit is that of matching mechanisms. Matching mechanisms usually assign an outcome to a set of individuals on the basis of those individuals’ self-reported preferences. I will explore how one might increase the explanatory power of matching mechanisms by incorporating reasons, building on social scientific work that I read as incorporating both preferences and reasons.