The Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS)

Intended to be useful to clear metaphysical fog, and to persuade the reader to join and develop the argument.

Michael Redhead, 1986

History of the Centre

The LSE Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Sciences (CPNSS) was announced in August of 1990 with John Worrall as its first director, joined by a steering committee that included Nancy Cartwright, Mary Morgan, and Colin Howson. The Centre first took physical shape when it moved into the first two floors of the Lakatos building in 1992, following the donation of the building Spiro Latsis in honour of Imre Lakatos. Since then, the Centre has become one of the world’s foremost centres for the study of cutting-edge philosophy of science, in both the natural and social sciences, representing the main research wing of the prestigious Department of Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method. Its past directors include Nancy Cartwright (1993-2001 and 2006-2008), Stephan Hartmann (2004-2006), Rom Harré (2009-2011), Roman Frigg (2011-2020), and Bryan W Roberts (2020-2024). 


Mission Statement

Philosophy is the study of clear and rigorous ways to think about life’s biggest questions. It does not mean ‘speculation’. Indeed, philosophy was once indistinguishable from science, with great works like Newton’s Principia Mathematica long presenting themselves as works of ‘natural philosophy’. At the LSE, philosophy is similarly studied in a way that is empirically informed and reaches out into the world, at times interacting with the sciences in a way that is indistinguishable from the sciences themselves, and often impacting the social world around us. 

The LSE Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Sciences (CPNSS) is the research wing of the Department of Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method. Its mission is to support, cultivate, and disseminate the world’s most ambitious cutting-edge research on philosophical, foundational, and methodological issues in the natural and social sciences, including the moral and political sciences. At the LSE it provides the philosophical glue that ties many departments together, as well as the glue that helps to tie a social sciences university like the LSE to natural sciences like physics and biology. 

We pursue that mission through the creation of a remarkably diverse research environment that brings together philosophers, scientists, academics, policymakers, as well as the general public, and which is packed full of seminars, workshops, public events, and research activities for our research investigators and participants. 

Ludwig M. Lachmann Fund

Professor Lachmann was a German economist who studied and worked at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he was taught by, and later worked alongside Friedrich Hayek. He was a key contributor to the "Austrian School" of economic thought.

In honour of Professor Ludwig M. Lachmann (MSc Economics 1935), the endowed Lachmann fund was established to support CPNSS research activities, especially as they relate to the philosophy of economics, in accordance with the wishes of his late wife Margot Lachmann.

The fund was once used to support the travel and accommodation of "Lachmann Fellows".