sand-formation

Current Visitors

 

Kristin Andrews

Kristin Andrews is York Research Chair in Animal Minds and Professor of Philosophy at York University, and she was elected to the College of the Royal Society of Canada in 2015. Her research is at the intersection of philosophy, social cognition, moral cognition, and animal cognition. She is the author of several books, including most recently How to Study Animal Minds (Cambridge 2020)—an argument for rethinking methods in comparative psychology; and The Animal Mind second edition (Routledge 2020) – a survey of how empirical work on animal minds can help to inform debates in the philosophy of mind.  In recent years, she has contributed to policy discussions of the status of great apes in US law and digital research infrastructure for animal behavior in Canada. Andrews serves on the Board of Directors for The Borneo Orangutan Society Canada, which has the mission to promote conservation of orangutans and their habitat and to educate the public.

Dates of visit: September – December 2021

Email: k.andrews4@lse.ac.uk 

Research Project

Animal Social Norms

Kristin’s current project is a book on social norms, animal culture, and the ethical and political consequences of recognizing animal social norms. She is developing an empirically adequate account of social norms that is consistent with the types of social normative practices seen across human cultures and is applying this account to groups across animal species. A key aspect to social norms is the need for social maintenance, or the interpersonal rewards and punishments that come from following cultural conventions. Social maintenance can be internalized in the form of the normative affect one has about their own actions. Both first personal and third personal social maintenance requires having valanced feelings of approval and disapproval. While at CPNSS, Kristin will join Dr Jonathan Birch's "Foundations of Animal Sentience" (ASENT) project to collaborate with team members on topics related to animal sentience in social norms.

 

Henrique Gomes

Henrique Gomes is a philosopher of physics, doing work that draws equally on physics and philosophy. He has two PhDs: one in theoretical physics from the University of Nottingham (where he studied quantum gravity) and one in the Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge. Henrique’s previous work in theoretical physics focused on conceptual issues, like the nature of Time in quantum gravity, and relational approaches to the dynamics of spacetime. His current work in the philosophy of physics focuses on the epistemology and metaphysics of gauge theory.

Dates of visit: April 2022 – September 2022

Email:  h.gomes@lse.ac.uk

Research Project

The Age of Gauge (introducing gauge theory into the mainstream philosophy of physics and science)

Gauge theories lie at the heart of modern physics: in particular, they constitute the standard model of particle theory. But they have so far received far less philosophical analysis than the older revolutions of twentieth century physics, namely relativity and quantum mechanics. This is unfortunate, since they are as relevant for philosophy and metaphysics.

At its simplest, the idea of gauge is that nature is best described using descriptively redundant language. The idea prompts a puzzle, which this project will seek to address: how can redundancy be so scientifically fruitful?

Just as relativity's and quantum mechanics' findings revolutionized the philosophy of space and time and the philosophy of probability, respectively, this project aims to show the findings of gauge theory have major repercussions for some topics in philosophy, e.g.how a physical state of the universe supervenes on the physical states of its subsystems (often discussed in metaphysics under the label of holism).

 

Polaris Koi

Polaris Koi is a senior researcher in Philosophy at the University of Turku, Finland. He currently works in the multidisciplinary Nudging for Climatestrategic research project and teaches in UTU’s interdisciplinary AI Academy. He has broad research interests at the intersection of ethics, philosophy of action, and philosophy of behavioural and brain sciences, especially psychiatry. Previously, he was junior investigator in the Genetics and Human Agency research project. He defended his dissertation on the nature of self-control in 2021.

Dates of visit: April – July 2022

Email: polaris.koi@utu.fi  

Research Project

Nudging, Salience, and Action

During his time at CPNSS, Polaris will be working on two themes connected to behavioural public policy. 

Nudging and collective action problems. The literature on the ethics and politics of nudging is focused on paternalist nudges; collective action situations, such as the climate crisis, do not fall under this paternalist framework. Polaris examines the ethical boundaries of BPP interventions targeting collective action problems. 

The role of salience on action selection. Even though applications exploiting the causal role of attentional processes in action selection (such as BPP) abound, this connection is poorly understood. Polaris explores the causal and explanatory role of processes of salience in action selection.

 

Jaakko Kuorikoski

Jaakko Kuorikoski is an associate professor of Practical Philosophy at the University of Helsinki. Before this, Kuorikoski has worked as an associate professor in a cross-disciplinary New Social Research program at Tampere University and as a lecturer in Theoretical Philosophy at Helsinki. His main areas of specializations are philosophy of economics and philosophy of social sciences, and he has published widely on scientific explanation, modeling, simulation and causal reasoning. His current research interests include scientific understanding, the use of different kinds of evidence in the social sciences, and model-based social epistemology of science.

Dates of visit: February – June 2022

Email: Jaakko.kuorikoski@helsinki.fi

Research Project

Scientific representation and understanding – an inferentialist account

Robert Brandom’s inferentialist semantics is extended into scientific representation to argue that representational language is explicatory, not explanatory, in nature. This view provides a broad philosophical rationale for inferential accounts of scientific representation, and an epistemologically modest account of the role of models in terms of inferential scorekeeping. This view of representation is supplemented with inferentialist view on scientific understanding, according to which the function of the concept of understanding is in the social regulation of inferential practices, to formulate an inferentialist social epistemology of modeling.

 

Joe Roussos

Joe Roussos is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Futures Studies. There he works on three projects: Rational foundations of Longtermism (of which he is the PI), Climate ethics and future generations, and Sustainable population in the time of climate change. Joe is a philosopher of science and decision theorist, working on how policymakers and politicians should make decisions in the face of scientific uncertainty. His research often focuses on scientific models and how they are used to inform policy decisions. He received his PhD from the LSE in 2020, with a thesis titled Policymaking under scientific uncertainty.

Dates of visit: March 2022

Email: j.d.roussos@lse.ac.uk

Research Project

Expertise and decision making in crises

The Covid-19 pandemic shares certain characteristics with natural catastrophes, wars and other societal challenges. In each, decisions are urgent, stakes are high, uncertainties are deep, evidence is changing, and values are in conflict. We call situations like this “crises”. This project analyzes two aspects of crises: 1) How to make use of experts, in order to develop policies which are based on the best available science. 2) How to make complex decisions with a reasonable degree of caution. Expertise is crucial to policy, but experts often disagree and their advice is value-laden. Expert predictions often fail, which raises questions about their reliability. We analyze rational strategies for managing these problems, and propose practical changes.

 

Stefan Schubert

Stefan Schubert is a researcher working in the intersection of philosophy and moral psychology. He completed a Ph.D. in philosophy at Lund University in 2011 and subsequently did a postdoc at London School of Economics and Political Science. In recent years, his research has focused on effective altruism—how we can use our time and money to maximize our positive impact. He has worked at the Centre for Effective Altruism, and most recently at the Social Behaviour and Ethics Lab at the University of Oxford.

Dates of visit: August 2021 – July 2023

Email: s.schubert@lse.ac.uk

Research Project

Effective Giving

Stefan’s key project at CPNSS is a book on effective giving that he is writing together with the psychologist Lucius Caviola. They provide a psychological explanation of why most charitable giving does not go to the most effective charities. They show that there is a range of factors that cause people to donate ineffectively, including preferences for ineffective charities, false beliefs about how to donate effectively, as well as the norms of charitable giving. They also discuss strategies to promote more effective giving. In addition, Stefan will also pursue other projects relating to effective altruism during his time at CPNSS.

 

Cristian Soto

Dr. Cristian Soto is associate professor at the Departamento de Filosofía, Universidad de Chile. He works on philosophy of science and metaphysics, with a special focus on the history and philosophy of laws of nature, metaphysics of science, variations of scientific realism and empiricism, scientific pluralism, and some early-modern HPS. He is a founding member of the Chilean Society for the Philosophy of Science (www.sochific.cl), and coordinator of the Grupo de Estudios de Filosofía de las Ciencias at the Universidad de Chile. At present, he holds a 4-year research grant on the effectiveness of mathematics in the case of physical laws, and his main line of research addresses questions regarding the intertwining of physical laws, modelling, and the application of mathematics. Further information is available on www.csoto.cl.

Dates of visit: December 2021 – April 2022

Email: cssotto@uchile.cl

Research project

Abstraction and Idealisation in Physical Laws

Literature in the philosophy of laws of nature has grown exponentially over the last decades. As is known, Humean and anti-Humean views on laws have dominated the debate so far. The present investigation aims at moving beyond this opposition, this time arguing that we can gain further understanding of the character of physical laws by means of paying attention to abstraction and idealisation processes routinely involved in the articulation of standard laws in physics. This, it is argued, enables us to account for the ways in which high-level, mathematically expressed physical laws deliver relevant information about the modal space of possibilities and necessities with respect to various physical domains.

 

Caihui Zhang

Caihui Zhang is a PhD student majoring in Bilingual Cognition and Learning and a researcher at the Bilingual Cognition and Development Lab, Center for Linguistics and Applied Linguistics (CLAL), Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China. She is funded by the Guangzhou Elites Scholarship Council to visit CPNSS at LSE and undertake her research project “Cognitive and Neural Mechanism of Multimodal Input in Second Language Learning” under the supervision of Prof. Fernand Gobet. She has participated in several research projects, which led to journal publications and oral presentations at international conferences. In addition, she worked as a research assistant at CLAL and was responsible for the management of CLAL’s official media account, among other things organizing academic conferences and lectures.

Dates of visit: 1 November 2021 – 31 October 2022

Email: c.zhang79@lse.ac.uk

Research Project

Cognitive Mechanism of Multimodal Input in Second Language Learning

Caihui’s one-year visit at CPNSS aims to carry out two research projects: i) a meta-analysis of second language learning with multimodal input, in order to specify the effects and cognitive mechanism of pictorial information in multimodal input on second language vocabulary learning, together with the role of individual differences (especially working memory) played in the multimodal language learning process; and ii) developing a computational model of Mandarin Chinese learning, to examine whether the existing computational models for first-language acquisition developed by Prof. Gobet could be applied to Mandarin Chinese learning or learning a second language.