Shahin Kaveh

  • Visiting Scholar

I work on general philosophy of science from the vantage point of physics. This means that I examine such questions as empirical and theoretical content, explanation and theory choice, explanation of success, and realism/anti-realism in light of the history, practice, and theories of physics. Although my answers to these issues are often informed by the idiosyncrasies of physics as a discipline, I believe that many of my broader views apply elsewhere in science. I have done work on old quantum theory, inflationary cosmology, and theories of space and time.

My dissertation explores the implications of what I call the "prescriptive-dynamical" view of scientific theories, characterized by i) a shift away from entities, properties, and structures towards dynamical states, and ii) a shift away from descriptions towards prescriptions. I believe this approach can provide answers to such problems as the content of physical theories, theoretical equivalence (e.g. among different versions of classical mechanics), working posits (selective confirmation), explaining predictive success, as well as shed light on the history of quantum mechanics.

I am also deeply interested in Pyrrhonism, Kant (and various frameworks known as "neo-Kantian"), as well as Nietzsche. Outside of the academic context, I do research on American politics and advocate a policy-driven, rather than ethos-driven, approach to politics. I am the President of BridgePitt, a student organization dedicated to viewpoint diversity and civil discussion of political issues on campus.