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Current Visitors

Antoine Brandelet

Antoine studied theoretical physics and philosophy at the University of Mons, Belgium.  He is now a PhD Candidate in Philosophy of Science.  His research focuses on philosophy of physics, particularly on modified theories of gravity and interpretations of Quantum Mechanics. He also has research interests in epistemology of fiction.  

Dates of visit: 2 October – 31 December 2019

Email: antoine.brandelet@umons.ac.be

Research project

Fiction and scientific realism: a two-fold challenge for Quantum Mechanics

While the notion of fiction shows its fertility in many disciplines (from history to mathematics, philosophy and sociology), surprisingly, this concept is not very much present in current considerations about science, particularly in Quantum Mechanics (QM), which is known for the difficulties of interpretation it posed to physicists and philosophers. QM has raised many questions about the referent of scientific theories and the reality of the phenomena they describe mathematically and, in this context, fiction seems to be a relevant concept. The research project I will be working on during my visit at CPNSS will focus on the possibility of constructing a realistic interpretation of QM taking into account the concept of fiction.

 

Michal Hladky

Michal Hladky is a Ph.D. student at the University of Geneva with research focus on simulations and counterfactual reasoning in neuroscience. His main interests are philosophy of science, logic and associated topics from scientific metaphysics and epistemology. Currently enrolled in Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) Doc.Mobility programme, he will be visiting the CPNSS at LSE, after his stay at the MCMP, Munich. For the analysis of simulations and in silico methods, Michal deploys the notions and tools from model theory. His mapping account of models and simulations, developed at the University of Geneva and at the MCMP will serve as a basis for the second part of his research to be conducted at the CPNSS. The analysis of epistemology and pragmatics of simulations require introduction of epistemic agents, their intentions, representations and heuristics they use. The goal is to develop a comprehensive analysis of interactions between these various aspects of simulation-based research strategies.

2 October 2019 – 30 June 2020

Email: michal.hladky@gmail.com

Research Project

Simulation and counterfactual reasoning in neuroscience

Realistic computer simulations aim at discovering mechanisms and causal relations underlying the studied phenomena. In biology, the established distinctions between in vivo and in vitro experiments has been extended by the notion of in silico experiments. But are in silico methods genuine experiments or experiments in name only? If they are understood as simulations, what is their epistemic power?

During his stay at the CPNSS/LSE, Michal Hladky will focus on the epistemology of simulations including the intentions, representations and heuristics deployed by epistemic agents. The correction criteria will be based on the mapping account of simulations developed at the University of Geneva and during his visit at the MCMP, Munich.

 

Eva Jablonka

Eva Jablonka is a professor in the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel-Aviv and a member of the Sagol School of Neuroscience. She has a M.Sc. in Microbiology from Ben-Gurion University, Israel and a Ph.D in Genetics from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel. Her main interests are the understanding of evolution, especially evolution that is driven by non-genetic hereditary variations, and the evolution of nervous systems and consciousness. She has published many papers and co-authored several books on these topics. 

Dates of visit: 1 October 2019 – 1 October 2020

Email: jablonka@tauex.tau.ac.il

Research Project

On the Nature and Significance of Welfare Economics

The project involves the development of ideas discussed in a co-authored book The Evolution of the Sensitive Soul: Learning and the Origins of Consciousness (MIT Press, March 2019). In this book it is argued that minimal animal consciousness emerged in the context of the evolution of a complex form of associative learning. While in the LSE, the following three topics will be further explored: (i) the major neural evolutionary transitions; (ii) the evolution of forgetting; and (iii) the evolution of new dedicated memory systems and attention networks in animals. 

 

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 hopes to work on projects related to natural resource property rights, economic justice, the ethics of severe uncertainty, and the philosophy of welfare economics.

Dates of visit: November 2016 – August 2020

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.

 

Silvia Milano

Silvia received her PhD from the LSE in 2018, with a thesis on ‘De se beliefs and centred uncertainty’. Silvia’s current research focuses on the epistemology of de se beliefs. She also has research interests in ethics, and between 2014-2018, she worked as research assistant on the project ‘Population and Ethics’ at the FHI, Oxford. Since 2018, she has been a Postdoc Researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute, with a project on the ethics of technology.

Dates of visit: August 2018 – August 2020

Email: s.milano@lse.ac.uk

Research Project

De se beliefs, evidence and alienation

The research project that I will pursue during my visit at the CPNSS is aimed at developing a novel understanding of the nature of de se beliefs, evidence and alienation within Bayesian epistemology. Building on the results of my PhD dissertation, I advocate a shift to de se – or self-locating – propositions as the proper objects of belief.  This has important consequences for the way we understand what evidence is, and how we should model learning and experience within formal system such as the Bayesian framework. Moreover, reflecting on the nature of de se belief and evidence leads me to develop a novel understanding of what I call epistemic alienation.

 

Raimund Pils

Raimund Pils is a visiting student at the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science at the London School of Economics.

He started his academic education at the Karl-Franzens University of Graz where he received his BA in Philosophy with a thesis on modal epistemology, his BA in German Linguistics with a thesis on the discourse analysis of values and value judgment regarding the notion of ‘post-truth’ and his MA in Philosophy with a thesis on Quine’s realism. Additionally, he was a student assistant during this time.

He is currently a university assistant at the Paris-Lodron University of Salzburg, where he writes his PhD thesis concerning the intersection of epistemology and philosophy of science applying a teleological epistemological framework to the debate of scientific realism.

Prior to his academic education, he completed a vocational school as chemical laboratory assistant and worked seven years in the area of research and development and quality management at a facility for paper production.

His research interests are in general philosophy of science, philosophy of physics, history of analytic philosophy, philosophy of language and epistemology.

Dates of visit: 25 September 2019 – 31 March 2020

Email: raimund.pils@sbg.ac.at

Research Project

Teleological epistemology as a solution to the scientific realism debate

Raimund Pils works on a research project as part of his Ph.D thesis, connecting teleological epistemology with the discussion of epistemic scientific realism in philosophy of science. He defends the following claim: The different accounts on epistemic scientific realism depend highly on the mostly implicit presupposed epistemic standards which themselves depend on the choice and weighting of epistemic goals. The more realist a view is the higher the epistemic risk but, potentially, also the higher the potential explanatory power. The task is to evaluate this tradeoff and how to deal with possible contextualist, subjectivist, relativist and/or pluralist consequences.

 

Philippe Verreault-Julien

Philippe Verreault-Julien obtained his PhD in January 2019 from Erasmus University Rotterdam under the supervision of Julian Reiss (Durham University) and Jack Vromen (Erasmus University Rotterdam). His research mainly focuses on the epistemology of theoretical modelling, understanding, and explanation. His current research project, funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC), aims to uncover the shared methodological features of philosophy and the sciences.

Dates of visit: 4 November 2019 – November 2021

Email: p.verreault-julien@lse.ac.uk

Research Project

Methodological naturalism in philosophy and economics

Methodological naturalism is the view according to which the empiricist scientific methodology is adequate for both philosophy and the sciences. However, the validity of naturalism depends on the alleged distinctiveness between the philosophical and scientific methods. For if philosophy and science actually have significant methodological similarities, then this puts naturalism into question. This project pursues two objectives. First, to uncover the shared methodological features between philosophy and economic theoretical modelling. Second, to contribute to the metaphilosophical debate on naturalism. It aims to defend an original claim, viz. that some parts of science are more similar to philosophy than usually assumed.