Meet PhD candidates and early-career researchers who participate at EPSA23

Ievgeniia Ivanova PhD, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen (UK). From 2012 to 2022 she held positions of senior lecturer and associate professor at the Odesa National Polytechnic University (Ukraine), National Medical University (Ukraine), and National University "Odesa Maritime Academy" (Ukraine). Ievgeniia’s research interests cover interdisciplinary areas such as philosophy and methodology of knowledge, epistemology, and philosophy of social science using a systems approach to research complex intellectual, value, and social objects. She popularises science and has many popular science publications in different media, and she is a member of the international movement of young scientists and science fans Share Your Knowledge «15х4». Dr Ivanova is also an author at The Conversation (UK) and Editor-in-chief of an online magazine about culture, urban study, and contemporary art Prostranstvo (Ukraine). Her recent publications include research on Museums as Complex Systems in the Face of the War, Museum and Society, Vol 21, No 2 (2023) and System-descriptive analysis of GPT chat imitation strategies XI Uyomov readings, Odesa (2023).

Marianne van Panhuys is PhD student in Philosophy of Science at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany) under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Rafaela Hillerbrand. She is part of the working group PhilETAS (Philosophy of Technology, Technology Assessment, and Science) and of the interdisciplinary Research Unit "The Epistemology of the Large Hadron Collider".

Her dissertation thesis investigates epistemic risks induced by modelling and simulation practices based on a case study from particle physics. The aim of her project is to gain a better understanding of how these methods impact on the production of empirical evidence, and to account for various epistemic risks that may occur in scientific experimentation.

When not working on her dissertation project, Marianne´s other research interests are the History and Philosophy of Technology, and Philosophy in/and Science Fiction.

Marianne will be presenting at EPSA23 her joint work with Rafaela Hillerbrand on “Path-dependence and Epistemic risks in Large-scale experiments”, Thursday 21, slot 11:00-13:00.

Mariana Seabra is currently a researcher of the Lancog Group at the Centre of Philosophy of University of Lisbon (CFUL), where she is developing the project Data-Driven Science: Metaphysical and Epistemological issues. She is also studying for a MA in Philosophy at the same university. She previously graduated in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Porto – Faculty of Engineering (FEUP), MA (2008) and PhD (2012), where she specialized in numerical methods, including various classical computational techniques and machine learning. Data-driven methods pose new challenges in Philosophy of Science, which have practical implications for scientists making use of such methods, e.g., prediction and analysis of behavior of systems of interest without appealing to explicit formulated laws, transparency, just to name a few. Thus, her current research aims at benefiting both philosophers and scientists and fostering dialogue between the two fields.

At EPSA23 she is presenting the first outcomes of her current project in the Poster Session, in a work entitled A Novel Approach to Handle Epistemic Opacity in Fully Connected Neural Networks.

I am Céline Budding, a 3rd year PhD candidate in the Philosophy & Ethics group at Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands. Broadly, my PhD project is on exploring whether large language models can be considered to have ‘knowledge’ of language, in terms of representing rules that guide, and potentially explain, their behavior. As LLMs are highly complex and nonlinear systems, a more specific goal is to explore how such rules should be conceptualized, where I argue that tacit knowledge might be a particularly suitable framework. I am also interested in how the internal structure of LLMs can be uncovered, which is the topic of my talk at EPSA23. Specifically, Carlos Zednik and I propose that explainable AI should take inspiration from methods used to explain biological intelligence, like cognitive models, and evaluate to what extent novel explainable AI methods like mechanistic interpretability already yield cognitive models.

Talk: ‘Mechanistic Interpretability as a "missing link"? Cognitive models for explainable artificial intelligence’, Thursday September 21st, 14:30-16:30.

Sarwar Ahmed is a PhD student and a member of the DFG Research Training Group "Transformations of Science and Technology since 1800" at the University of Wuppertal, Germany. He earned his bachelor's degree in physics at the University of Sulaimani, Iraqi-Kurdistan, and his master's degree in the philosophy of science at Leibniz University Hannover. His areas of research encompass philosophy of science and philosophy of physics.

In his PhD project, he is investigating the methodological transformations of scientific observation in the physical sciences and the impact of scientific and technological developments on these transformations. He aims to provide answers to questions such as: What is the rational mechanism behind these transformations, and what do they reveal about the concepts of observation and observability?

Poster presentation at EPSA23: "An Inferential-Information Transmission Account of Observation", Friday, 22nd September 2023.

HyeJeong Han is a PhD candidate at KAIST. After studying chemical and biomolecular engineering during her undergraduate years, she has studied philosophy of science oriented towards integrated HPS and philosophy of science in practice. Her primary research interest is in the philosophical and historical implications of the use of computers and artificial intelligence in the reasoning of scientific pursuits, especially in drug discovery and development. She recently published a paper in EJPS entitled "Taking model pursuit seriously". During EPSA23, she will give a talk on explainable AI, explanation and understanding, and the context distinction between pursuit and acceptance. Her talk is scheduled for Wednesday, September 20 at 15:30–16:30, with the title "What Explanation Does A Machine Learning Model Prediction Need?".

João Pinheiro will soon be finishing his PhD at the University of Bristol, where he’s working under the supervision of Samir Okasha. In the past few years, he’s been studying the Sciences of Ethics and pondering on their metanormative and first-order normative implications. He’s particularly interested in recent work from cross-cultural moral psychology and experimental metaethics that has shed doubt on our understanding of morality as a unified phenomenon. As well as in the hypothesis that the typical way the Western canon of moral and political philosophy understands morality, far from being a human universal, is a WEIRD phenomenon – a product of cultural evolution and of the development of our norm psychology. The implications of hypotheses such as these are what João is taking over to his post-doc applications. As a sample of his work in progress, on the 21st of September (14:30-16:30), he’ll be arguing that the cultural etiology of moralization supports the mind-dependence of moral normativity.

Teemu Lari is a doctoral researcher in Practical Philosophy at the University of Helsinki and the TINT Centre for Philosophy of Social Science. His academic interests include philosophy of economics, social epistemology, the role of science (especially economics) in society, and the history of economic thought. His ongoing PhD project examines arguments for and against methodological pluralism in economics, asking whether the relative uniformity of approach in contemporary economics is advantageous or harmful on either epistemological or ethical grounds. In his free time, Teemu enjoys jazz, sports and birdwatching. 

At EPSA23, Teemu will give a talk on the "Costs of Pluralism", based on his collaboration with his supervisor, professor Uskali Mäki. The talk is in session "Pluralism and interdisciplinarity", on Thursday, 17:00, in Classroom no. 2.

Ina Jäntgen is a PhD candidate in Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Her main research interests lie in general philosophy of science, as well as in the philosophy of the biomedical and social sciences. She also has research interests in (formal) epistemology and decision theory. Her doctoral research focuses on how scientists could best inform rational decision-making in applied settings when measuring effect sizes of interventions or studying other causal properties. Ina’s PhD is financed by the British Arts & Humanities Research Council and the Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme at the University of Cambridge. Before starting her PhD, she completed a Research Master's in Philosophy and Economics at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, both from the University of Freiburg. Ina’s talk is entitled “Causal Persistence and Long-Run Effects” and will take place on Saturday, Sep 23 at 12:30 pm.

I am Haggeo Cadenas, a Ph.D candidate at UC-San Diego.  My dissertation makes contributions to cultural evolutionary theory and it draws out some philosophical implications.  Regarding the first, I am investigating the following themes: how approval and disapproval are mechanisms of norm transmission, how cultural evolution can explain design without appeal to a designer, how we can understand evolution in terms of the evolution of values (and the role technology plays).  Regarding the latter (drawing out philosophical implications), I am developing a cultural evolutionary account of epistemology.  So, one way to frame the project is as a type of cultural evolutionary epistemology, but without the skeptical conclusions many draw from evolution.
On the side, I am working on the philosophy of psychedelics.  I have a forthcoming chapter on the epistemology of psychedelics, but the field is expanding extremely quickly.  I predict that the most important contributions to this area need to be heavily interdisciplinary and intra-disciplinary.

My presentation details.  Title “can the California school avoid evolutionary psychology”
Friday, 12pm

I’m Aline Potiron, a PhD student at Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria. I rely on my previous experience in the lab on microbial communities to address philosophical issues. My talk for the EPSA23 is entitled Species is a unit of measurement. By using the ideas of model-based accounts of measurement, I thought of analyzing the species concept used in microbial ecology in the context of diversity-as-a-measurement. I investigate the potential implications of such analysis for the practical, epistemological, and theoretical dimensions of the species problem. I will present it on September 20 in the Species, Inheritance, and Populations session at Josif Pancic Hall between 17:00 and 18:30. If you want to know more about my other projects, check my website. If you don’t find me at coffee breaks, I am certainly watching the latest RWC 2023 game.

Sophia Crüwell is a third year PhD student in Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge, where she investigates conceptual issues surrounding the replication crisis in psychology. She also does empirical meta-research, co-founded the international ECR community ReproducibiliTea, and is passionate about all things Open Science. You can hear her talk about the concept of replication (and why we might want to get rid of it!) on Thursday, September 21st in the session "Integrity, Responsibility and Reproducibility” from 2.30pm to 4.30pm in Classroom no. 2. Together with David Teira, Sophia will also present the results of the Open Access working group in the “Meeting on Open Access”, also on Thursday, from 1.30pm to 2.30pm in the Milan Grol Hall.

Luna De Souter is a PhD candidate at the University of Bergen, where she works primarily on causation and causal inference. Her research on causation focuses on regularity theories. Her current project within this area involves investigating the most suitable minimality requirements to prevent regularity theories from incorrectly ascribing causal relevance to non-causal regularity relationships. For this project, she is interested in connections between the minimality requirements in regularity theories of causation, on the one hand, and those used in probabilistic and interventionist approaches to causation, on the other.

Her work in the field of causal inference focuses on improving a family of methods for causal discovery called Configurational Comparative Methods (CCMs). These methods aim to infer causal models that satisfy the criteria for causation as outlined by regularity theories of causation from real-life datasets. Luna currently investigates how CCMs should evaluate evidence for regularity relationships based on such real-life datasets, which are often noisy and incomplete. She will present her findings on this topic at EPSA23 in her talk titled "Evaluating Boolean Relationships in Configurational Comparative Methods", which takes place on Friday at 11am at the Library.

Alessandro Demichelis is a Ph.D. student in Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca, where he tries to trickly do philosophy of science under the nose of the neuroscientists. So far, no one has thrown him out. Amongst his experiences abroad, he spent periods visiting the MCMP in Munich, and the PhilSci department in Cambridge. He also has a working holiday visiting year in New Zealand under his belt.
His main research interests lie in social epistemology and science communication, philosophy of pharmacology and medicine, decisions under uncertainty and risk. His project focuses on the description, explanation, and policy-making concerning new challenges in healthcare, such as vaccine hesitancy, antibiotic resistance, and repercussions of personalized medicine.

His presentation, titled 'Trust-Conducive Social Epistemic Practices: Argumentation and Testimony in Expert-Novice Communication About Covid-19 Vaccines' is going to be held Thursday, Sep.21 in the morning slot (11.00-13.00), classroom 25.

Ann-Christin Fischer is a PhD student at the Ruhr University Bochum in the research group  The Return of the Organism in the Biosciences: Theoretical, Historical, and Social Dimensions. She holds a B.A. degree in Literature and Culture Studies from the TU Dortmund and a M.A. in History, Philosophy and Culture of Science from the Ruhr University Bochum. With her Thesis “The Role of the Scientific Community in Cases of Fraud – A Study on the Vaccine-Autism Controversy” she graduated the program in 2022. Moreover she studied the European Culture and Economics Master at the Ruhr University Bochum.

In her research projects she focusses on the philosophical and historical aspects of values in science, in particular quality control in science. She approaches this topic on three levels : Starting with the macro level (i) she tries to understand which quality control mechanisms are present in science practices and how they work together. At the micro level (ii) she focuses on the role of the individual scientists and values in the process of self-control. She also aims in assessing the current challenges such as commercialization and discrimination in science.

At EPSA23 she is presenting the first outcomes of her current project in the Poster Session:  Peer-Review - Historical and Epistemological Perspectives on a Central Mechanism of Scientific Self-Control.

Frank Hernández is a first-year PhD student at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. He works primarily on the history and philosophy of science, specifically with respect to the notion of scientific progress concerning theory change in physics. His dissertation topic focuses on the normativity of the concept 'progress' and its role in meta-theoretical inferences for understanding historical narratives about the advancement of science, as well as its relation to improvements in other areas of human endeavours. Originally from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, he graduated from The University of Texas at El Paso with a liberal arts double major honors degree in philosophy and multimedia journalism, with a thesis on the importance of value-judgments in historiographical representations. He recently obtained his Master's degree in philosophy from the Central European University in Vienna, Austria, for which he defended the thesis: 'With Miracles at the Limit... a functional-externalist and perspectival account of scientific progress', which he will briefly present at this conference. He has also presented papers on topics related to nonhuman epistemic practices and epistemic injustice, ordinary language philosophy, attempts at retrieving metaethical insights from 19th and 20th Century existential philosophy, and metaphilosophical debates about the role of non-Western philosophical traditions.

Talk: A Functional-Externalist and Perspectivalist Account of Scientific Progress, Thursday 21st at 14:30-16:30, Classroom 4.

Violetta Manola is a PhD candidate in Philosophy of Science at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Her main research interests are on causation, causal explanation, philosophy of cognitive neuroscience and mental causation.

In her PhD thesis she investigates how and which contemporary causal theories are presupposed in the various methodologies of modern cognitive neuroscience in an attempt to eventually draw conclusions on mental causation. The idea behind the thesis is that a careful analysis of the concept of causation, presupposed when neuroscientists link a behavior with a neural process, will ultimately shed light on the mental causation debate.

During the last academic year she has primarily focused on a specific research methodology in cognitive neuroscience, Computational Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN). CCN provides explanations of the neuro-cognitive link by combining findings from neuroscience with computational modelling. The aim is to examine how computational modelling integrates data from different levels and of different kinds. Part of this work will be presented at EPSA23.

Talk: ‘Integrated Explanatory Models in Cognitive Neuroscience’, Wednesday, 20 September, 17:30-18:00.

Irida Altman - I am developing an interpretation theory of mathematics as part of a philosophy doctorate at ETH Zürich. The project aims to challenge the view that contemporary mathematical and literary textual practices are necessarily contrasting, as is popularly imagined. I studied mathematics at MIT, Cambridge, and Warwick, and hold a doctorate in low-dimensional topology.

My work is rooted in translation practices and is inspired by the literary-philosophical thought of the French continental tradition. Since this approach seems to be rather rare in contemporary philosophy of science, I’d be curious to hear from any scholars of similar continental leanings, with a view towards exchange and collaboration.

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