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Current Visitors

Zeid Al Kaffaf

Zeid Al Kaffaf is a PhD Student in Methods and Models for Economic Decisions at University of Insubria and an Academic Fellow at Bocconi University. 

He obtained his BSc in Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Milan, his MSc in Economics at Bocconi University and an MPhil in History of Economic Thought at University of Paris 1. 

His research interests include philosophy and methodology of economics, history of economic thought, decision theory under uncertainty and macroeconomics with a focus on agent-based models of emerging complex phenomena.

Dates of visit: November 2021 – May 2022

Email: z.alkaffaf@lse.ac.uk

Research Project

Measuring beliefs in economics, psychology and probability theory

The research Zeid Al Kaffaf is carrying out aims to reconstruct, both in a historical and a philosophical perspective, the interdisciplinary debate in economics, psychology and probability theory about the possibility of measuring beliefs individuals hold with respect to some events. The time horizon goes from the 1920s to the end of the 20th century. 

During his stay at CPNSS, LSE, Zeid Al Kaffaf is mostly focusing on the relationship between Bruno de Finetti and Leonard Jimmie Savage that led to the genesis of modern mainstream decision theory under uncertainty. 

Alongside, Zeid Al Kaffaf studies methods of modelling heterogeneous agents and of introducing and formalizing their beliefs and expectations in macroeconomic agent-based models.

 

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.

 

Natalie Gold

Natalie Gold is Professor in Practice in the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and the Deputy Head of Behavioural Insights and Lead Behavioural Scientist at Public Health England. She studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, and has an M.Phil and a D.Phil from the University of Oxford. She held postdocs at the University of Konstanz and Duke University, and then faculty positions at the University of Edinburgh, King’s College London, and the University of Oxford. At King’s, she was Principal Investigator on the project “Self-Control and the Person: An Inter-Disciplinary Account”, funded by the European Research Council. She has held visiting positions at Hong Kong University, the University of Pittsburgh, the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies—Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche Rome, and the Australian National University. Natalie has over 60 publications on topics including: framing, moral judgements and decision making, cooperation and coordination, collective intentionality and shared cooperative activity, trust, self-control, nudge, financial regulation, and the use of behavioural science in public health.

Dates of visit: 1 May 2021 – 31 August 2022

Email: n.gold@lse.ac.uk

Research Project

Philosophy in practice: Problems at the intersection of social science and philosophy

Natalie is working on a number of projects at the intersection of philosophy and social science, including:

1. The implications of social identity theory for collective intentionality, including ‘continuity assumptions’ about the mechanisms for small-scale and large-scale collective activity

2. The use of thought experiments in ethics and the implications of cross-cultural differences in moral judgments

3. Why individuals should privilege long-term goals over short-term temptations and why policy-makers might be justified in helping them do that

4. The interaction of individuals and institutions: how institutions impact on behaviour and the implication of that for virtues and vices.

 

Mario Günther

Mario Günther is research fellow at The Australian National University. He completed his PhD on Learning, Conditionals, Causation at the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy of LMU Munich in 2019. At the CPNSS, Mario pursues a research project on legal epistemology.Further information about Mario is available on www.mario-guenther.com.

Dates of visit: September – November 2021

Email: m.gunther1@lse.ac.uk

Research Project

Rational Belief and Guilt

The project aims to defend a view of legal proof as rational belief of guilt. The view says this: a judge should find a defendant guilty just in case it is rational to believe that he is guilty. Perhaps ‘the’ challenge for this straightforward view is the problem of statistical evidence: it seems unjust to find a defendant guilty based on mere statistical evidence---even if this evidence makes his guilt very likely. The project offers a threshold view of rational belief on which belief requires high credence, but mere statistical evidence does not give rise to belief.

 

Lisa Hecht

Lisa Hecht is a visiting researcher at the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She works on the ethics of war and moral rights with a particular focus on questions concerning risk and compensation. 

Lisa completed her PhD on Victims of War at the Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace of Stockholm University in 2019. In January 2020, she took up a three-year postdoctoral position which is funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet). The postdoc will be conducted both at the CPNSS and at the Department of Philosophy at Stockholm University.

Dates of visit: September 2020 – August 2022

Email: l.hecht1@lse.ac.uk

Research Project

Towards a risk-sensitive account of moral rights

The aim of the project is to better understand the relation of rights and risk. The project explores (1) whether, how and why the stringency of rights is sensitive to risk and (2) what respect for rights requires of decision-makers in situations of risk.

 

Petr Jedlička

Petr Jedlička received his MA in sociology from the Faculty of Social Sciences at Charles University in Prague, where he also defended his PhD. thesis (Social) Construction of Scientific Facts, in which he investigated the conditions at the onset of modern science. At present he works mostly in the experimental philosophy of science and on the topics of reproducibility and scientific objectivity. As a researcher at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen he led the empirical part of the 3-year project Objectivity: An Experimental Approach to a Traditional Philosophical Problem, which was carried out by a multidisciplinary team of philosophers, sociologists, psychologists and natural scientists. Prior to this, he worked as journalist and communications advisor (for the Vice-President of the European Parliament etc.)

Dates of visit: September – December 2021

Email: petr.jedlicka@gmail.com

Research Project

Issues in Reproducibility

Reproducibility is a hotly debated topic among scientists and philosophers alike, who still disagree both on the actual scope of the problem (is there a “reproducibility crisis” at all?) and its causes. While there is a general agreement that some disciplines such as cancer research or psychology are affected more than others such as physics and chemistry, the nature of the problem and its possible solutions are still matters of controversy. Unresolved questions, for example, are whether irreproducibility is rather rooted in the inherent characteristics and methodological limitations of various disciplines, the overall scientific environment and practices (incentivization etc.), or other determinants, which can all be detrimental to sound and reproducible research. 

During his stay at CPNSS, Petr Jedlička will further develop these topics and share his findings from his project on objectivity, which employed mixed methods, such as conceptual analysis, interviews, surveys, and experiments, for the investigation of the academic community involving more than a thousand Czech scientists.

 

Elias Moser

Elias Moser is a postdoctoral fellow at CPNSS since the beginning of September 2021. He obtained his PhD in Philosophy at the University of Berne in 2017, where he worked as an Assistant at the Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology. Afterwards, he participated in different scientific projects in the field of technology assessment at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the University of Vienna. Since 2019, Elias has been researching and teaching political philosophy and ethics at the Section for Moral and Political Philosophy at the University of Graz.

Dates of visit: September 2021 – January 2022

Email: elias.moser@uni-graz.at

Research Project

The Ethics of Automation and Artificial Intelligence

Elias Moser's current research project focuses on automation and labor-saving technological developments in artificial intelligence and smart robotics. He examines the value assumptions behind different predictions of future events and the policy proposals to confront the challenges.

 

Walter Veit

Walter Veit is a scientist and philosopher with interests stretching widely across science and philosophy. He has published over 40 papers and his primary research interests are located at the intersection of the biological, social, and mind sciences in addition to empirically informed philosophy and ethics. For further details, visit: www.walterveit.com

Veit received a BA in Philosophy & Economics at the University of Bayreuth (Germany), a MA in Philosophy of Biological and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Bristol (UK), and was a pre-doctoral fellow in Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University (USA) during which he also visited classes and events at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently a member of the Theory and Method in Biosciences group (The Griffiths Lab) at the Charles Perkins Centre (Australia’s leading medical research institute) and an interdisciplinary PhD candidate in the School of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Science. He is funded through the Australian Laureate Fellowship ‘A Philosophy of Medicine for the 21st century’ which aims to develop a new theory of health and disease to accommodate developments in contemporary biology with a special emphasis on evolutionary theory. His dissertation Health, Agency, and the Evolution of Consciousness seeks to develop such a theory of the organism as an economic agent and grounds the evolution of consciousness or as he calls it ‘phenomenological complexity’ which is meant to include dimensions such as pain, wellbeing, perceptual richness, episodic memory, and self-consciousness, in what he dubs ‘pathological complexity’. This interdisciplinary project is conducted under the supervision of Paul E. Griffiths (Charles Perkins Centre & Department of Philosophy), Peter Godfrey-Smith (School of History and Philosophy of Science), and externally Marian Stamp Dawkins (University of Oxford, Department of Zoology) who are international leaders on the subjects of my dissertation.

Dates of visit: September – December 2021

Email: wrwveit@gmail.com

Research Project

Economic Agency and the Evolution of Animal Consciousness

During his stay at the LSE's Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science, Veit aims to further develop his dissertation on the evolution of consciousness and develop an evolutionary framework for the science of animal consciousness centered on a notion of 'pathological complexity' (see http://philsciarchive.pitt.edu/19422/1/consciousness_complexity_evolution_preprint.pdf).

Sponsored by Jonathan Birch who is heading the Animal Sentience (ASENT) project at the CPNSS, Veit aims to discuss his research with the team and contribute to their research with has a significant degree of overlap, especially as it regards the different dimensions of animal consciousness and its evolutionary origins. Furthermore, his dissertation emphasizes the economic decision-making complexity of animal life in nature, which he argues led to the evolution of sentience. He wishes to present and discuss these ideas at the CPNSS, because of the centre's research strengths in rational choice theory and philosophy of economics, in addition to scientific modeling and evolutionary theory.

 

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.