Department Blog

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    What are “scientific models”, and how much confidence can we place in them?

What are “scientific models”, and how much confidence can we place in them?

16 February 2021|

Modelling is vital if we are to control COVID-19, but it is not infallible. In this post, Roman Frigg and James Nguyen explain how epidemiological models work and consider the uncertainty inherent in their predictions.

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    Bad data and flawed models? Fact-checking Winsberg et al.’s case against lockdowns

Bad data and flawed models? Fact-checking Winsberg et al.’s case against lockdowns

26 January 2021|

Can the justification for current COVID restrictions be challenged on scientific grounds? Philippe van Basshuysen and Lucie White look at the evidence used by Winsberg et al. in their case against lockdowns.

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    Science and policy in extremis: what can we learn from the UK’s initial response to COVID-19?

Science and policy in extremis: what can we learn from the UK’s initial response to COVID-19?

22 December 2020|

SAGE uses a set of assumptions called the “reasonable worst-case scenario” in its pandemic planning. In this post, Jonathan Birch looks at the group’s minutes and documents from early 2020 and argues that over-reliance on these assumptions led to costly delays.

What unfolded in the UK in the spring of 2020 was a national tragedy within the global tragedy […]

The mind-body problem

3 November 2020|

What’s really at stake in the mind-body debate? Jonathan Birch looks at some of the explanatory differences in approaches to the metaphysics of consciousness.

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    Lives v livelihoods: Evaluating policies to address COVID-19

Lives v livelihoods: Evaluating policies to address COVID-19

21 October 2020|

Policies that suppress or control COVID-19 prevent illness and save lives, but exact an economic toll. How should we balance lives and livelihoods to determine which policy is best? Richard Bradley, Alex Voorhoeve et al. compare benefit-cost and social welfare approaches to the pandemic.

G. E. Moore’s hands vs. radical scepticism

29 September 2020|

Do we need to prove that we’re not living in a computer simulation? Jonathan Birch looks at G. E. Moore’s famous argument against scepticism.

Ideally Value-Free Coronavirus Science

9 September 2020|

How does the role of scientist relate to the role of policy-maker? Philip Thonemann looks at coronavirus science, public policy and the value free ideal.

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    A Virus Is Not a Thing, Part 3: What virology can tell us about philosophy

A Virus Is Not a Thing, Part 3: What virology can tell us about philosophy

25 August 2020|

How can findings in virology help answer ontological questions of process and substance? In the final post in this series, Stephan Guttinger looks at viral life cycles and the role of intrinsic properties.

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    A Virus Is Not a Thing, Part 2: Do viruses jump? Process-thinking and the question of pandemics

A Virus Is Not a Thing, Part 2: Do viruses jump? Process-thinking and the question of pandemics

22 July 2020|

What happens when a virus crosses species? Stephan Guttinger looks at viral jumps and the origins of pandemics.

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    A Virus Is Not a Thing, Part 1: The case for a process view of viruses

A Virus Is Not a Thing, Part 1: The case for a process view of viruses

6 July 2020|

It seems natural to picture viruses as individual microscopic entities, but might there be another more accurate way to think about them? In the first of this three-part series, Stephan Guttinger presents the case for a process view of viruses.