Current Visitors


Marius Baumann

Marius Baumann is a postdoctoral researcher as well as the interim academic director of the Munich Center for Ethics at LMU (DE). His research focuses on normative ethics, metaethics and political philosophy. In his dissertation, he defended the view that moral theories can be underdetermined by our deontic verdicts, just as scientific theories can be underdetermined by the data.

Marius received his BA in Philosophy and German Literature and Linguistics from the University of Zurich (CH) in 2012 and his MA in Political, Legal, and Economic Philosophy from the University of Berne (CH) in 2014. In 2018 he defended his PhD-thesis at the University of Berne. During his PhD, he spent terms as a visiting research fellow at Brown University (USA) and Reading University (UK).

Dates of visit: 9 February - 5 April 2020


Research Project

Moral undetermination expanded

The idea that moral theories can be underdetermined by their deontic content just as scientific theories can be underdetermined by data was introduced by Dietrich & List (2017) and further developed by Baumann (2018&2019). The project aims to understand this idea in its full generality. It has three parts. First, Marius is writting a book that outlines the impact of underdetermination for normative ethics, metaethics and the philosophy of science. Second, he is developing a new position in metaethics, «constructive deonticism», based on van Fraassen’s «constructive empiricism». Third, he is applying the framework of underdetermination to the political domain. 


Andrea Brancaccio 

Andrea Brancaccio is a Ph.D. student at the University of Padua with a research focus on mathematical psychology and problem solving. He is contributing to the development a deterministic and probabilistic approach to study problem solving solution processes in procedural tasks. During his time on CPNSS he is hoping to apply this approach to testing psychological theories about complex tasks (i.e. the game of chess).

Dates of visit: 2 March – 30 July 2020

Research Project

Formalize psychological theories:  A procedural knowledge space theory approach. 

Andrea Brancaccio will work to a project related to his Ph.D topic, which is the develop of a formal method based on knowledge space theory (KST) to study human problem solving. 

During his staying at CPNSS Andrea aims to use this method as a tool to obtain plausible mathematical descriptions for some of the existing theories of problem solving applied to the game of chess. This kind of approach allows to test such theoretical models empirically using a model comparison approach.


Gilles Campagnolo

Gilles Campagnolo is a full Research professor at the French Center for Scientific Research/ Aix-Marseilles School of Economics. After studying at Paris Ecole Normale Supérieure, the Universities of Harvard and Tokyo, obtaining his PhD at the Sorbonne, he has been exploring economic philosophy, the sources of liberal thought and socio-economic development in a comparatist perspective. He is a known specialist of the Austrian school of economic thought. As the PI of the International research Network “Justice and Interest”, he studies some conditions of emergence of those ideas in a philosophical and more general perspective than economics only. For his stay at the LSE/CPNSS in March 2020 he enquires into Karl Popper’s Youth Writings.

Dates of visit: 27 February – 7 March 2020


Research Project

Justice and Interest - Learning and Discovery

Gilles Campagnolo studies and contextualizes the Writings of the Young Karl Popper in Vienna. 

Karl Popper, born in 1902, lived and wrote his first texts in Vienna from 1925 to 1935, preceding Logik der Forschung (The Logic of Scientific Discovery) that would make him famous. His youth writings display the setting of this genesis (what the German language designates as a genre per se, an Entstehungsgeschichte). They help retrace the matrixes of new modes of learning and discovery of knowledge in the context of “Red Vienna” school reform, neo-psychological schools of thinkers like his mentor Karl Bühler and, albeit later, the Vienna Circle. Set upon the background of this often studied cosmopolitan and progressive milieu of the end-of-Empire and Interwar Vienna, Popper’s early texts surprisingly remained quite unknown even today. They were accessible only in German. As the translator, editor and commentator of the French version, I will show how the young Popper evolved in his environment, how he was an enthusiastic young thinker preoccupied with social reform, the relationship between pupils and school-masters (as he himself practiced as one of them), the process of memorizing and how to cope with ideas like nation/homeland (one text is about Heimatgedanke) or “rule-learning” through personal experience. 

The publication last November at the Press of the École Normale Supérieure rue d’Ulm (Paris) offered the last stage of publishing Popper’s Works into French and, in the Postface, Campagnolo strove to set Popper in his original setting and true mindset. Publication supported by the Karl Popper Charitable Trust.


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.

Dates of visit: 2 October 2019 – 30 June 2020


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


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


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


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


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.


Nadia Ruiz

Nadia is a fifth-year graduate student at the University of Kansas. Originally from El Paso/Cd Juárez. She is interested in philosophy of science, specifically economic methodology.

Dates of visit: 15 January – April 2020


Research Project

Methodology and Microfoundations: A New Argument for an Autonomous Macroeconomics

Although microeconomics and macroeconomics seem to differ in their object of study––microeconomics studies how people make decisions and how those decisions interact, and macroeconomics studies the overall ups and downs in the economy as a whole––there is a significant tradition in economics that argues that macroeconomic model building requires microfoundations. The core questions motivating her research is (a) whether this tradition is right––i.e. to what extent macroeconomic models require microfoundations—and (b) what grounds the need for microfoundations (or its absence).


Vlasta Sikimić 

Vlasta Sikimić is a researcher at the Institute for Philosophy of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade and an associate member of the Laboratory for Experimental Psychology at the same faculty. She holds a PhD Degree in Philosophy from the University of Belgrade. Previously, she obtained a Master of Science in Logic Degree from the ILLC, University of Amsterdam. For her stay at LSE, Vlasta was awarded an EPSA Visiting Fellowship. Previously, she obtained a Research Grant from the German Academic Exchange Service, a Huygens Scholarship from the Dutch Ministry of Education, and the Award for the Highest Academic Record from the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Belgrade. Vlasta is active in public dissemination, she gave several interviews for radio and TV stations and co-organized educational events for the general audience.

Vlasta’s research focus is on formal and empirical philosophy of science, science policy, and logic. She works on data-driven approaches to optimizations of scientific reasoning. During her stay at LSE, she will explore the role of data in formal models of scientific inquiry. More information about her research activities is available on her website:

Dates of visit: 1 – 21 March 2020


Research Project

Empirically informed models of scientific inquiry

In social epistemology of science, agent-based models of scientific inquiry have been used to show different properties of group knowledge acquisition. On the other hand, when one wants to answer specific optimization questions, such as what is the optimal team structure in a scientific laboratory, data come into play. The benefit of a data-driven approach is the clear reach and applicability in practice. Still data-mining methods cannot test hypothetical scenarios. The goal of the project is to explore the potential of combining these two approaches. Specifically, the project aims at exploring different ways of calibrating agent-based models and investigating their role in social epistemology of science.


Lei Zhao

Zhao Lei is a Lecturer of the Research Center for Philosophy of Science and Technology at Shanxi University. He received his PHD degree in Philosophy of Science and Technology from Shanxi University in 2017. His research interests lie in general philosophy of science and philosophy of social science. His current work focuses on causation in the social sciences.

Dates of visit: 30 December 2019 – 30 December 2020


Research Project

Research on causation in the Social Sciences

Causation has long been a controversial notion, which yet remains at the heart of the social sciences. In order to attain causal knowledge, many social scientists appeal to casual mechanisms to uncover causal relations among the variables they consider. His project attempts to study the following issues: how far can causal realism be pushed within a mechanist account? in what realist sense can we claim that causal relations are ‘objective’? how can a causal realist perspective can be successfully applied in social science, and in such a way as to include a well justified claim that social causes are ‘objective’? And other related core problems would be also investigated. His research is funded by The Research Center for Philosophy of Science and Technology, Shanxi University.


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


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.