University of Pittsburgh
People

Past Graduates

  • image

    Michael Miller (2017)
    University of Toronto (tt)
    Website |

    Philosophy of Physics, Philosophy of Science

    Dissertation: The structure and interpretation of quantum field theory

    Quantum field theory accurately describes the world on the finest scales to which we have empirical access. There has been significant disagreement, however, about which mathematical structures ought to be taken as constitutive of the theory, and thus over which structures should serve as the basis for its interpretation. Perturbative methods allow for successful empirical prediction but require mathematical manipulations that are at odds with the canonical approach to interpreting physical theories that has been passed down from the logical positivists. Axiomatic characterizations of the theory, on the other hand, have not been shown to admit empirically interesting models. This dissertation shows how to understand the empirical success of quantum field theory by reconsidering widely held commitments about how physical meaning accrues to mathematical structure.

  • image

    Joseph B. McCaffrey (2016)
    Washington University in St. Louis (Postdoctoral Research Fellow)
    Website |

    Philosophy of Cognitive Science, General Philosophy of Science

    Dissertation: Mental function and cerebral cartography: Functional localization in fMRI research

    My dissertation examines the relationship between human brain mapping and cognitive theorizing in neuroimaging (fMRI) research. Many researchers advocate using fMRI to test psychological hypotheses; others argue that brain scans cannot support or disconfirm cognitive theories. I argue that fMRI can inform psychology given assumptions about how brain structure relates to function. My diagnosis is that human brain mapping is radically changing due to new techniques (e.g., “resting state” fMRI) and theoretical approaches (e.g., network mapping). These shifts undermine the assumptions that traditionally make fMRI results speak to cognitive theories (e.g., “each region performs a unique function”). I conclude that fMRI research should focus its efforts on developing new bridging assumptions, rather than testing cognitive theories.

  • image

    Lauren Ross (2016)
    UC Irvine (deferred for post-doc at the University of Calgary)
    Website |

    Philosophy of Biology, Philosophy of Neuroscience, General Philosophy of Science

    Explanation in Contexts of Causal Complexity

    My dissertation examines common types of causal complexity in the biological sciences, the challenges they pose for explanation, and how scientists overcome these challenges. I provide a novel distinction between two types of causal complexity and I analyze explanatory patterns that arise in these contexts. My analysis reveals how explanation in the biological sciences is more diverse than mainstream accounts suggest, which view most or all explanations in this domain as mechanistic. I examine explanations that appeal to causal pathways, dynamical models, and monocausal factors and I show how these explanations are guided by considerations that have been overlooked in the extant literature. My project explores connections between these explanatory patterns and other topics of interest in philosophy and general philosophy of science, including: reduction, multiple realizability, causal selection, and the role of pragmatics in explanation.

  • image

    Elizabeth O'Neill (2015)
    Eindhoven University of Technology (Assistant Professor)
    Website |

    Epistemology; Metaethics; Philosophy of Cognitive Science;Philosophy of Biology

    Dissertation: The Epistemological Implications of the Causes of Moral Beliefs

    This dissertation investigates what the causes of moral beliefs indicate about the epistemic status of those beliefs. I argue that information about the causes of moral beliefs can tell us whether those beliefs track the truth, and that truth tracking is the primary epistemic property that should concern us in the moral domain.
    [...]

  • image

    Greg Gandenberger (2015)
    University of Bristol (Postdoctoral Fellow)
    Website |

    Philosophy of Science, Epistemology

    Dissertation: Two Principles of Evidence and Their Implications for the Philosophy of Scientific Method

    The notion of evidence is of great importance, but there are substantial disagreements about how it should be understood. One major locus of disagreement is the Likelihood Principle, which says roughly that an observation supports a hypothesis to the extent that the hypothesis predicts it. The Likelihood Principle is supported by axiomatic arguments, but the frequentist methods that are most commonly used in science violate it.
    [...]

  • image

    Bihui Li (2015)
    University of Southern California (Provost's Postdoctoral Scholar)
    Website |

    Philosophy of science, philosophy of physics

    Dissertation: Moving Beyond 'Theory T': The Case of Quantum Field Theory

    A standard approach towards interpreting physical theories proceeds by first identifying the theory with a set of mathematical objects, where such objects are defined according to mathematicians’ standards of rigor. In making this identification, philosophers rule out the relevance of many inferential methods that physicists use, as these often do not meet mathematicians’ standards of rigor. Philosophers thus sanitize physical theories of all mathematically messy or ambiguous parts before interpreting them.
    [...]

  • image

    Julia Bursten (2015)
    University of Kentucky (Assistant Professor)
    Website |

    Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Chemistry, Philosophy of Physics

    Dissertation: Surfaces, Scales, and Synthesis: Scientific Reasoning at the Nanoscale

    Philosophers interested in scientific methodology have focused largely on physics, biology, and cognitive science. They have paid considerably less attention to sciences such as chemistry and nanoscience, where not only are the subjects distinct, but the very aims differ: chemistry and nanoscience center around synthesis. Methods associated with synthesis do not fit well with description, explanation, and prediction that so dominate aims in philosophers’ paradigm sciences. In order to synthesize a substance or material, scientists need different kinds of information than they need to predict, explain, or describe. Consequently, they need different kinds of models and theories.
    [...]

  • image

    Aleta Quinn (2015)
    Caltech (Postodctoral Instructor in Philosophy of Science)
    Website |

    History and Philosophy of Biology, Values and Science

    Dissertation: Biological Systematics and Evolutionary Theory

    In this dissertation I examine the role of evolutionary theory in systematics (the science of discovering and classifying biodiversity). Following Darwin’s revolution, systematists have aimed to reconstruct the past. Understanding what it means that systematists reconstruct the past requires clarifying the history of systematics and of some important episodes in philosophy of science. My dissertation analyzes a common but inadequate view about what systematics qua historical science is up to by tracing the inadequate view to its origins in J.S. Mill. I show that critiques advanced by Mill’s contemporary, William Whewell, identify problems that recurred in twentieth century philosophical work on the historical sciences. I develop an alternative and more complete account of systematics as relying on inference to the best explanation. My account answers two challenges that have been pressed against philosophical attempts to analyze scientific reasoning as inference to the best explanation.
    [...]

  • image

    Kathryn Tabb (2015)
    Coumbia University (Assistant Professor)
    Website |

    Early Modern Philosophy, Philosophy of Psychiatry, Biomedical Ethics

    Dissertation: Mad Errors: Associated Ideas, Enthusiasm, and Personal Identity in Locke

    Associationism — in its most basic formulation, the view that all cognition begins with the compounding of simple sensations into chains of ideas — is frequently held to have been introduced by John Locke in 1700, expanded on by David Hartley and David Hume, and come into its own the nineteenth century with psychologists like James Mill and Alexander Bain. The aim of this dissertation is to argue that Locke is not an associationist, and that he has been cast on the wrong side of a fundamental divide over the role of the understanding in the connection of ideas. I show that Locke coins the term “association of ideas” not to launch a new architectonic for psychology based on acquired habit, but to diagnose what he sees as the biggest obstacle to right understanding: madness. Hume’s positive embrace of association has often been read back onto Locke, resulting in the easy conflation of the two thinkers under the banner of empiricism. In championing the powers of the active perception over the automaticity of association, however, Locke’s psychology stands apart from later empiricist philosophies of mind.
    [...]

  • image

    Elay Shech (2015)
    Auburn University (Assistant Professor)
    Website |

    Philosophy of Physics, Philosophy of Science, Ethics

    Dissertation: Assume a Spherical Cow: Studies on Representation and Idealizations

    My dissertation concerns the philosophical underpinnings of representation and idealization in science. I begin by looking at the philosophical debate revolving around phase transitions and use it as a foil to bring out what I take to be most interesting about phase transitions, namely, the manner by which the illustrate the problem of essential idealizations.
    [...]

  • image

    Karen Zwier (2014)
    Drake University (Adjunct Professor)
    Website |

    Philosophy of Science, History and Philosophy of Physical Science, Science and Religion

    Dissertation: Interventionist Causation in Physical Science

    The current consensus view of causation in physics, as commonly held by scientists and philosophers, has several serious problems. It fails to provide an epistemology for the causal knowledge that it claims physics to possess; it is inapplicable in a prominent area of physics (classical thermodynamics); and it is difficult to reconcile with our everyday use of causal concepts and claims.
    [...]

  • image

    Eric Hatleback (2014)
    University of Pittsburgh (Research Associate Professor)
    Website |

    Philosophy of Cosmology, Philosophy of Science

    Dissertation: Chimera of the Cosmos

    Multiverse cosmology exhibits unique epistemic problems because it posits the existence of universes inaccessible from our own. Since empirical investigation is not possible, philosophical investigation takes a prominent role. The inaccessibility of the other universes causes argumentation for the multiverse hypothesis to be wholly dependent upon typicality assumptions that relate our observed universe to the unobserved universes. The necessary reliance on typicality assumptions results in the Multiverse Circularity Problem: the multiverse hypothesis is justified only through invoking typicality assumptions, but typicality assumptions are justified only through invoking the multiverse hypothesis. The unavoidability of the circularity is established through argumentation for each of the two conjuncts that comprise it.
    [...]

  • image

    Yoichi Ishida (2014)
    Ohio University (Assistant Professor)
    Website |

    Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Biology

    Dissertation: Models in Scientific Practice

    This dissertation presents an account of the practice of modeling in science in which scientists' perceptual and bodily interactions with external representations take center stage. I argue that modeling is primarily a practice of constructing, manipulating, and analyzing external representations in service of cognitive and epistemic aims of research, and show that this account better captures important aspects of the practice of modeling than accounts currently popular in philosophy of science.
    [...]

  • image

    Keith Bemer (2014)
    Winchester Thurston School (science teacher)

    Classics, Philosophy, and Ancient Science
    Ancient Philosophy, History and Philosophy of Science, Early Modern Philosophy

    Dissertation: A Philosophical Examination of Aristotle's Historia Animalium

    In this dissertation I address two related questions pertaining to Aristotle’s philosophy of science and his biology and zoology. They are: (1) what are the goals of Aristotle’s Historia Animalium (HA) and how does the treatise achieve these goals? And, more generally, (2) what is the role of a historia in Aristotle’s philosophy of science?
    [...]

  • image

    Marcus Adams (2014)
    University at Albany, SUNY (Assistant Professor)
    Website |

    Early Modern Philosophy, History & Philosophy of Science

    Dissertation: Mechanical Epistemology and Mixed Mathematics: Descartes’s Problems and Hobbes’s Unity

    My dissertation answers the following question: How is Hobbes's politics related to his physics and metaphysics? I argue that Hobbes does in fact provide a unified systematic philosophy, and I contrast this unity with problems in Descartes's epistemology and optics.
    [...]

  • image

    Thomas Pashby (2014)
    University of Southern California (Postdoc)
    Website |

    Philosophy of Physics, Philosophy of Science

    Dissertation: Time and the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics

    This dissertation aims at understanding, and challenging, the common view that "time is a parameter in quantum theory and not an observable." I argue that — like position in space — location in time of an event is an observable quantity.
    [...]

  • image

    Thomas V. Cunningham (2013)
    Medical Bioethics Director, Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles
    |

    Philosophy of Biology and Medicine, Applied Ethics, Philosophy of Science

    Dissertation: Socializing Medical Practice: A Normative Model of Medical Decision-Making

    This dissertation is about the way people should and do make medical choices. It defends the claim that medical decisions should be made by groups of persons acting together, not by individuals acting alone.
    [...]

  • image

    Balázs Gyenis (2013)
    Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Assistant Research Fellow)
    Website |

    Philosophy of Physics, Philosophy of Science, Probabilistic Causality

    Dissertation: Well posedness and physical possibility

    There is a sentiment shared among physicists that well posedness is a necessary condition for physical possibility. The arguments usually offered for well posedness have an epistemic flavor and thus they fall short of establishing the metaphysical claim that lack of well posedness implies physical impossibility. My dissertation analyzes the relationship of well posedness to prediction and confirmation as well as the notion of physical possibility and we devise three novel and independent argumentative strategies that may succeed where the usual epistemic arguments fail.

  • image

    Peter Distelzweig (2013)
    University of St. Thomas, Minnesota (Assistant Professor)
    Website |

    Early Modern Philosophy, Ancient Philosophy, History and Philosophy of Science

    Dissertation: Descartes' Teleomechanics in Medical Context: Approaches to Integrating Mechanism and Teleology in Hieronymus Fabricius ab Aquapendente, William Harvey and René Descartes

    In this dissertation, I examine the relation between mechanism and teleology in Descartes’s physiology, placing his views in the wider medical context.
    [...]

  • image

    Catherine Stinson (2013)
    Western University (Postdoc)
    Website |

    History & Philosophy of Neuroscience & Psychology

    Dissertation: Cognitive Mechanisms and Computational Models: Explanation in Cognitive Neuroscience

    Cognitive Neuroscience seeks to integrate cognitive psychology and neuroscience. I critique existing analyses of this integration project, and offer my own account of how it ought to be understood given the practices of researchers in these fields.
    [...]

  • image

    Benjamin Goldberg (2012)
    University of South Florida (Permanent Instructor)
    Website |

    Early Modern Philosophy, History of Science and Medicine

    Dissertation: William Harvey, Soul Searcher: Teleology and Philosophical Anatomy

    The goal of this dissertation is to understand the ways in which teleology structures the natural philosophy of William Harvey (1578-1657), the physician and philosopher who discovered the circulation of the blood, announced in his De motu cordis (1628).
    [...]

  • image

    Bryan Roberts (2012)
    London School of Economics (Lecturer)
    Website |

    History and philosophy of physics

    Dissertation: Time, Symmetry and Structure: Studies in the Foundations of Quantum Theory

    This dissertation is about the meaning and distinction between the past and the future according to our fundamental physical laws.
    [...]

  • image

    Jonathan Livengood (2011)
    University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign (Assistant Professor)
    Website |

    Philosophy of Science, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Statistics

    Dissertation: On Causal Inferences in the Humanities and Social Sciences: Actual Causation

    The last forty years have seen an explosion of research directed at causation and causal inference. Statisticians developed techniques for drawing inferences about the likely effects of proposed interventions: techniques that have been applied most
    [...]

  • image

    Jonah Schupbach (2011)
    University of Utah (Assistant Professor)
    Website |

    Philosophy of Science, Epistemology (including Formal Epistemology), Logic

    Dissertation: Studies in the Logic of Explanatory Power

    Human reasoning often involves explanation. In everyday affairs, people reason to hypotheses based on the explanatory power these hypotheses afford; I might, for example, surmise that my toddler has been playing in my office because I judge that this
    [...]

  • image

    Justin Sytsma (2010)
    Victoria University of Wellington (Senior Lecturer in Philosophy)
    Website | jmsytsma@gmail.com

    Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Cognitive Science

    Dissertation: Phenomenal consciousness as scientific phenomenon? A Critical Investigation of the New Science of Consciousness

    Phenomenal consciousness poses something of a puzzle for philosophy of science. This puzzle arises from two facts: It is common for philosophers (and some scientists) to take its existence to be phenomenologically obvious and yet modern
    [...]

  • image

    Holly Andersen (2009)
    Simon Fraser University (Associate Professor)
    holly_andersen@sfu.ca

    Philosophy of Science

    Dissertation: The Causal Structure of Conscious Agency

    I examine the way implicit causal assumptions about features of agency and action affect the philosophical conclusions we reach from neuroscientific results, as well as provide a positive account of how to incorporate scientific experiments on various features
    [...]

  • image

    Peter Gildenhuys (2009)
    Lafayette College (Assistant Professor)
    gildenhp@lafayette.edu

    Philosophy of Biology, Philosophy of Science, Biomedical Ethics, Virtue Ethics, Causal Reasoning, Philosophy of Language

    Dissertation: A Causal Interpretation of Selection Theory

    My dissertation is an inferentialist account of classical population genetics. I present the theory as a definite body of interconnected inferential rules for generating mathematical models of population dynamics. To state those rules, I use
    [...]

  • image

    Julie Zahle (2009)
    University of Copenhagen (Assistant Professor)
    juliezahle@gmail.com

    Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Psychology & Cognitive Science, Philosophy of Mind, Epistemology/Metaphysics

    Dissertation: Practices, Perception, and Normative States

    Theories of practice are widespread within the humanities and the social sciences. They reflect the view that the study of, and theorizing about, social practices hold the key to a proper understanding of social life or aspects thereof. An important
    [...]

  • image

    Zvi Biener (2007)
    University of Cincinnati (Assistant Professor)

    Metaphysics and Epistemology in the Early-Modern Period, History of Philosophy

    Dissertation: The Unity and Structure of Knowledge: Subalternation, Demonstration, and the Geometrical Manner in Scholastic-Aristotelianism and Descartes

    The project of constructing a complete system of knowledge—a system capable of integrating all that is and could possibly be known—was common to many early-modern philosophers and was championed with particular alacrity by René Descartes.
    [...]

  • image

    Brian Hepburn (2007)
    Wichita State University (Assistant Professor)
    brh15@interchange.ubc.ca

    History and Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Physics, History of Science

    Dissertation: Equilibrium and Explanation in 18th Century Mechanics

    The received view of the Scientific Revolution is that it was completed with the publication of Isaac Newton's (1642-1727) Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica in 1687. The century following was relegated to a working out the
    [...]

  • image

    Jackie Sullivan (2007)
    University of Western Ontario (Assistant Professor)
    jsulli29@uwo.ca

    Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Neuroscience, Philosophy of Mind

    Dissertation: Reliability and Validity of Experiment in the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory

    The concept of reliability has been defined traditionally by philosophers of science as a feature that an experiment has when it can be used to arrive at true descriptive or explanatory claims about phenomena. In contrast, philosophers of science
    [...]

  • image

    Jim Tabery (2007)
    University of Utah (Assistant Professor)
    tabery@philosophy.utah.edu

    Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Biology, Bioethics, History of Biology

    Dissertation: Causation in the Nature-Nurture Debate: The Case of Genotype-Environment Interaction

    In the dissertation I attempt to resolve an aspect of the perennial nature-nurture debate. Despite the widely endorsed “interactionist credo”, the nature-nurture debate remains a quagmire of epistemological and methodological disputes over
    [...]

  • image

    Ingo Brigandt (2006)
    University of Alberta (Associate Professor)
    brigandt@ualberta.ca

    Philosophy of Biology, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Language

    Dissertation: A Theory of Conceptual Advance: Explaining Conceptual Change in Evolutionary, Molecular, and Evolutionary Developmental Biology

    The theory of concepts advanced in the dissertation aims at accounting for a) how a concept makes successful practice possible, and b) how a scientific concept can be subject to rational change in the course of history. Traditional accounts in
    [...]

  • image

    Francesca DiPoppa (2006)
    Texas Tech University (Associate Professor)
    Website | francesca.di-poppa@ttu.edu

    History of Early Modern Philosophy

    Dissertation: "God acts through the laws of his nature alone": From the Nihil ex Nihilo axiom to causation as expression in Spinoza's metaphysics

    One of the most important concepts in Spinoza's metaphysics is that of causation. Much of the expansive scholarship on Spinoza, however, either takes causation for granted, or ascribes to Spinoza a model of causation that, for one reason or another,
    [...]

  • image

    Abel Franco (2006)
    California State University, Northridge (Associate Professor)
    Website | abel.franco@csun.edu

    History of Early Modern Philosophy

    Dissertation: Descartes' theory of passions

    Descartes not only had a theory of passions, but one that deserves a place among contemporary debates on emotions. The structure of this dissertation attempts to make explicit the unity of that theory. The study of the passions by the physician (who
    [...]

  • image

    Doreen Fraser (2006)
    University of Waterloo (Associate Professor)
    Website | dlfraser@uwaterloo.ca

    Philosophy of Physics, Philosophy of Science, History of Science

    Dissertation: Haag's theorem and the interpretation of quantum field theories with interactions

    Quantum field theory (QFT) is the physical framework that integrates quantum mechanics and the special theory of relativity; it is the basis of many of our best physical theories. QFT’s for interacting systems have yielded extraordinarily
    [...]

  • image

    Greg Frost-Arnold (2006)
    Hobart and William Smith Colleges (Assistant Professor)
    gfrost-arnold@hws.edu

    History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophical Logic, Philosophy of Science

    Dissertation: Carnap, Tarski, and Quine's Year Together: Logic, Science and Mathematics

    During the academic year 1940-1941, several giants of analytic philosophy congregated at Harvard: Russell, Tarski, Carnap, Quine, Hempel, and Goodman were all in residence. This group held both regular public meetings as well as private
    [...]

  • image

    Francis Longworth (2006)
    Institut d’Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences et des Techniques (Research Fellow)
    francis.longworth@univ-paris1.fr

    Philosophy of Science, Metaphysics

    Dissertation: Causation, Counterfactual Dependence and Pluralism

    The principal concern of this dissertation is whether or not a conceptual analysis of our ordinary concept of causation can be provided. In chapters two and three I show that two of the most promising univocal accounts (the counterfactual theories of
    [...]

  • image

    David Miller (2006)
    Iowa State University(Assistant Professor)
    david.m.miller@emory.edu

    History of Early Modern Philosophy, History of Science

    Dissertation: Representations of Space in Seventeenth Century Physics

    The changing understanding of the universe that characterized the birth of modern science included a fundamental shift in the prevailing representation of space—the presupposed conceptual structure that allows one to intelligibly describe the spatial
    [...]

  • image

    Christian Wüthrich (2006)
    University of California, San Diego (Associate Professor)
    wuthrich@ucsd.edu

    Philosophy of Physics, Philosophy of Science, Metaphysics

    Dissertation: Approaching the Planck Scale from a Generally Relativistic Point of View: A Philosophical Appraisal of Loop Quantum Gravity

    My dissertation studies the foundations of loop quantum gravity, a candidate for a quantum theory of gravity based on classical general relativity. After an evaluation of the motivations for seeking a quantum theory of gravity, I embark upon an
    [...]

  • image

    Erik Angner (2005)
    George Mason University (Associate Professor)

    History and Philosophy of Social Science, Social and Political Philosophy

    Dissertation: Subjective Measures of Well-Being: A philosophical examination

    Over the last couple of decades, as part of the rise of positive psychology, psychologists have given increasing amounts of attention to so-called subjective measures of well-being. These measures, which are supposed to represent the well-being of
    [...]

  • image

    Megan Delehanty (2005)
    University of Calgary (Associate Professor)
    mdelehan@ucalgary.ca

    Dissertation: Empiricism and the Epistemic Status of Imaging Technologies

    The starting point for this project was the question of how to understand the epistemic status of mathematized imaging technologies such as positron emission tomography (PET) and confocal microscopy. These sorts of instruments play an
    [...]

  • image

    Alan Love (2005)
    University of Minnesota (Associate Professor)
    aclove@umn.edu

    Philosophy of Biology, Philosophy of Science, Biology

    Dissertation: Explaining Evolutionary Innovation and Novelty: A Historical and Philosophical Study of Biological Concepts

    Explaining evolutionary novelties (such as feathers or neural crest cells) is a central item on the research agenda of evolutionary developmental biology (Evo-devo). Proponents of Evo-devo have claimed that the origin of innovation and novelty
    [...]

  • image

    Andrea Scarantino (2005)
    Georgia State University (Associate Professor)
    phlams@langate.gsu.edu

    Dissertation: Explicating Emotions

    In the course of their long intellectual history, emotions have been identified with items as diverse as perceptions of bodily changes (feeling tradition), judgments (cognitivist tradition), behavioral predispositions (behaviorist tradition), biologically
    [...]

  • image

    Armond Duwell (2004)
    University of Montana, Missoula (Associate Professor)
    armond.duwell@mso.umt.edu

    Philosophy of Physics, Information Theory

    Dissertation: Foundations of Quantum Information Theory and Quantum Computation Theory

    Physicists and philosophers have expressed great hope that quantum information theory will revolutionize our understanding of quantum theory. The first part of my dissertation is devoted to clarifying and criticizing various notions of quantum information,
    [...]

  • image

    Uljana Feest (2003)
    University of Hanover (Professor)

    Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences

    Dissertation: Operationism, Experimentation, and Concept Formation

    I provide a historical and philosophical analysis of the doctrine of operationism, which emerged in American psychology in the 1930s. While operationism is frequently characterized as a semantic thesis (which demands that concepts be defined by
    [...]

  • image

    Gualtiero Piccinini (2003)
    University of Missouri - St. Louis (Associate Professor)
    piccininig@umsl.edu

    Philosophy of Mind

    Dissertation: Computations and Computers in the Sciences of Mind and Brain

    Computationalism says that brains are computing mechanisms, that is, mechanisms that perform computations. At present, there is no consensus on how to formulate computationalism precisely or adjudicate the dispute between computationalism
    [...]

  • image

    Wendy Parker (2003)
    University of Durham (Reader)

    Modeling and Simulation, Science and Public Policy, Environmental Philosophy

    Dissertation: Computer Modeling in Climate Science: Experiment, Explanation, Pluralism

    Computer simulation modeling is an important part of contemporary scientific practice but has not yet received much attention from philosophers. The present project helps to fill this lacuna in the philosophical literature by addressing three
    [...]

  • image

    Chris Smeenk (2002)
    University of Western Ontario (Associate Professor)
    Website | csmeenk2@uwo.ca

    Philosophy of Physics, Early Modern Philosophy

    Dissertation: Approaching the Absolute Zero of Time: Theory Development in Early Universe Cosmology

    This dissertation gives an original account of the historical development of modern cosmology along with a philosophical assessment of related methodological and foundational issues. After briefly reviewing the groundbreaking work by Einstein
    [...]

  • image

    Daniel Steel (2002)
    Michigan State University (Associate Professor)
    steel@msu.edu

    Causality and Confirmation; Biological and Social Sciences

    Dissertation: Mechanisms and Interfering Factors: Dealing with Heterogeneity in the Biological and Social Sciences

    The biological and social sciences both deal with populations that are heterogeneous with regard to important causes of interest, in the sense that the same cause often exerts very different effects upon distinct members of the population. For instance, welfare-
    [...]

  • image

    Chris Martin (2001)
    Left the field

    Philosophy of Physics, Gauge Theories

    Dissertation: Gauging Gauge: Remarks on the Conceptual Foundations of Gauge Symmetry

    Of all the concepts of modern physics, there are few that have the sort of powerful, sometimes mysterious, and often awe-inspiring rhetoric surrounding them as has the concept of local gauge symmetry. The common understanding today is that
    [...]

  • image

    Andrew Backe (2000)
    City University of Hong Kong (Visiting Assistant Professor)

    Philosophy of Mind, American Pragmatism

    Dissertation: The Divided Psychology of John Dewey

    This dissertation examines the extent to which John Dewey's psychology was a form of behaviorism, and, in doing so, considers how metaphysical commitments influenced psychological theories at the turn of the century. In his 1916
    [...]

  • image

    Benoit Desjardins (1999)
    Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (Assistant Professor of Radiology)

    Causality, Statistical Algorithms

    Dissertation: On the Theoretical Limits to Reliable Causal Inference

    One of the most central problems in scientific research is the search for explanations of some aspect of nature for which empirical data is available. One seeks to identify the causal processes explaining the data, in the form of a model of the
    [...]

  • Elizabeth Paris (1999)
    Deceased

    History of Particle Physics

    Dissertation: Ringing in the New Physics: The Politics and Technology of Electron Colliders in the United States, 1956-1972

    The “November Revolution” of 1974 and the experiments that followed consolidated the place of the Standard Model in modern particle physics. Much of the evidence on which these conclusions depended was generated by a new type of tool:
    [...]

  • image

    Tom Seppalainen (1999)
    Portland State University (Associate Professor)
    seppalt@pdx.edu

    Visual Perception and Cognition, Metaphysics

    Dissertation: The Problematic Nature of Experiments in Color Science

    The so-called opponent process theory of color vision has played a prominent role in recent philosophical debates on color. Several philosophers have argued that this theory can be used to reduce color experiences to properties of neural cells. I will refute this
    [...]

  • image

    Jonathan Bain (1998)
    Polytechnic Institute of NYU (Associate Professor)
    jbain@duke.poly.edu

    Philosophy of Spacetime, Scientific Realism, Philosophy of Quantum Field Theory

    Dissertation: Representations of Spacetime: Formalism and Ontological Commitment

    This dissertation consists of two parts. The first is on the relation between formalism and ontological commitment in the context of theories of spacetime, and the second is on scientific realism. The first part begins with a look at how the substantivalist/
    [...]

  • image

    Carl Craver (1998)
    Washington University in St. Louis (Associate Professor)
    ccraver@artsci.wustl.edu

    Visual Perception and Cognition, Metaphysics

    Dissertation: Neural Mechanisms: On the Structure, Function, and Development of Theories in Neurobiology

    Reference to mechanisms is virtually ubiquitous in science and its philosophy. Yet, the concept of a mechanism remains largely unanalyzed; So too for its possible applications in thinking about scientific explanation, experimental practice, and theory
    [...]

  • image

    Heather Douglas (1998)
    University of Waterloo (Associate Professor)

    Philosophy of Science, Environmental Philosophy, Science and Public Policy

    Dissertation: The Use of Science in Policy-Making: A Study of Values in Dioxin Science

    The risk regulation process has been traditionally conceived as having two components: a consultation of the experts concerning the magnitude of risk (risk assessment) and a negotiated decision on whether and how to reduce that risk (risk
    [...]

  • Mark Holowchak (1998)
    Rider University (Adjunct Assistant Professor)

    Ancient Philosophy, Philosophy of Sport

    Dissertation: The Problem of Differentiation and the Science of Dreams in Graeco-Roman Antiquity

    Dreams played a vital role in Graeco-Roman antiquity at all levels of society. Interpreters of prophetic dreams thrived at marketplaces and at religious festivals. Physicians used dreams to facilitate diagnosis. Philosophers talked of dreams revealing
    [...]

  • David Sandborg (1998)
    Left the field

    Philosophy of Mathematics, Explanation

    Dissertation: Explanation in Mathematical Practice

    Philosophers have paid little attention to mathematical explanations (Mark Steiner and Philip Kitcher are notable exceptions). I present a variety of examples of mathematical explanation and examine two cases in detail. I argue that
    [...]

  • Marta Spranzi-Zuber (1998)
    Université de Versailles St-Quentin-en-Yvelines

    Ancient and Early Modern Philosophy

    Dissertation: The tradition of Aristotle's Topics and Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems: Dialectic, dialogue, and the demonstration of the Earth's motion

    In this work I show that Galileo Galilei provided a "dialectical demonstration" of the Earth's motion in the Dialogue concerning the two chief world systems, in the sense outlined in Aristotle's Topics. In order to understand what this demonstration consists
    [...]

  • img

    Andrea Woody (1998)
    University of Washington (Associate Professor)
    awoody@uw.edu

    Philosophy of Science, History of Science, and Feminist Perspectives within Philosophy

    Dissertation: Early twentieth century theories of chemical bonding: Explanation, representation, and theory development

    This dissertation examines how we may meaningfully attribute explanatoriness to theoretical structures and in turn, how such attributions can, and should, influence theory assessment generally. In this context, I argue against 'inference to the best
    [...]

  • img

    Rachel Ankeny (1997)
    University of Adelaide (Associate Professor)
    rankeny@science.usyd.edu.au

    Bioethics, History of Contemporary Life Sciences

    Dissertation: The conqueror worm: An historical and philosophical examination of the use of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as a model organism

    This study focuses on the concept of a "model organism" in the biomedical sciences through an historical and philosophical exploration of research with the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. I examine the conceptualization of a model organism in
    [...]

  • image

    Jonathan Simon (1997)
    Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1

    History of Chemistry

    Dissertation: The alchemy of identity: Pharmacy and the chemical revolution, 1777-1809

    This dissertation reassesses the chemical revolution that occurred in eighteenth-century France from the pharmacists' perspective. I use French pharmacy to place the event in historical context, understanding this revolution as constituted by
    [...]

  • image

    Aristidis Arageorgis (1996)
    National Technical University of Athens (Assistant Professor)

    Philosophy of Quantum Field Theory

    Dissertation: Fields, Particles, and Curvature: Foundation and Philosophical Aspects of Quantum Field Theory in Curved Spacetime

    The physical, mathematical, and philosophical foundations of the quantum theory of free Bose fields in fixed general relativistic spacetimes are examined. It is argued that the theory is logically and mathematically consistent whereas semiclassical
    [...]

  • image

    Keith Parsons (1996)
    University of Houston, Clear Lake (Professor)

    Paleontology, Realism-Constructivism

    Dissertation: Wrongheaded science? Rationality, constructivism, and dinosaurs

    Constructivism is the claim that the "facts" of science are "constructs" created by scientific communities in accordance with the linguistic and social practices of that community. In other words, constructivists argue that scientific truth is nothing more
    [...]

  • img

    Ofer Gal (1996)
    University of Sydney (Associate Professor)

    Early Modern History and Philosophy of Science

    Dissertation: Producing knowledge: Robert Hooke

    This work is an argument for the notion of knowledge production. It is an attempt at an epistemological and historiographic position which treats all facets and modes of knowledge as products of human practices, a position developed and
    [...]

  • img

    David Rudge (1996)
    Western Michigan University (Associate Professor)
    david.rudge@wmich.edu

    The Role of History and Philosophy of Science for the Teaching and Learning of Science

    Dissertation: A philosophical analysis of the role of selection experiments in evolutionary biology

    My dissertation philosophically analyzes experiments in evolutionary biology, an area of science where experimental approaches have tended to supplement, rather than supercede more traditional approaches, such as field observations. I
    [...]

  • img

    Madeline Muntersbjorn (1996)
    University of Toledo (Associate Professor)
    mmuster@uoft02.utoledo.edu

    History and Philosophy of Mathematics, Calculus in the Seventeenth Century

    Dissertation: Algebraic Reasoning and Representation in Seventeenth Century Mathematics: Fermat and the Treatise on Quadrature C. 1657

    Contemporary philosophers of mathematics commonly assume that mathematical reasoning is representation neutral, or that changes from one notational system to another do not reflect corresponding changes in mathematical reasoning. Historians of
    [...]

  • image

    Michel Janssen (1995)
    University of Minnesota (Associate Professor)
    janss011@tc.umn.edu

    Philosophy of Physics, History of Relativity Theory

    Dissertation: A comparison between Lorentz’s ether theory and special relativity in the light of the experiments of Trouton and Noble

    In Part One of this dissertation, I analyze various accounts of two etherdrift experiments, the Trouton-Noble experiment and an earlier experiment by Trouton. Both aimed at detecting etherdrift with the help of a condenser in a torsion balance. I argue that
    [...]



  • A list of graduates before 1995 can be found on the placement page.