I am a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow at the Center for Philosophy of the Social Sciences (TINT) and PI of a 3-year research project at the University of Helsinki. As part of my MSC fellowship, I will be spending the academic year of 2018-19 at the Australian National University. My research is at the intersection of philosophy of science, philosophy of biology (especially ecology), and philosophy of the social sciences, and addresses conceptual and methodological issues in scientific practice.
I am currently working on two related projects: the first, funded by MSC, addresses two problems which disproportionately affect scientific investigations in disciplines that deal with complex systems -I focus on Ecology and Economics- namely the danger of overgeneralization and the difficulty of making precise and accurate predictions. Scientists in these fields often face a disturbing dilemma, namely the pressure to provide increasingly precise predictions and the devastating criticism for producing predictions that are inaccurate. One of the ways in which scientists try to overcome this dilemma is by constructing increasingly general frameworks. I argue that these endeavours are doomed to fail, because there is a tradeoff between generality and predictive power in the systems studied by scientists in these disciplines. I propose an alternative framework for overcoming the dilemma, based on a more inclusive notion of prediction and a new method for evaluating predictions.
The second project explores the difficulties of prediction faced by Climate Scientists. Together with postdoctoral researcher Säde Hormio and PhD candidate Pekka Syrjänen, we will investigate the constraints imposed on prediction by different types of uncertainty and its implications for the accuracy and precision of climate predictions. We will also investigate the debate concerning values and risk in the implementation of adaptation/mitigation policies so as to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of communicating scientific results to academics, policy-makers and other stakeholders (including the general public)
My dissertation work addressed epistemological issues concerning the ways in which scientists in these disciplines are able to make inferences about the world from their models and experiments. The thesis focused on the notion of 'target systems', the parts of the world that scientific models represent, and their role in scientific practice.
I am also interested in the actual scientific practice of Ecology. In 2015-16, I was in charge of a project on the overwintering of Rocky Mountain butterflies Parnassius smintheus, in collaboration with scientists at Western and at the University of Cincinnati.
Before joining TINT, I held the position of Postdoctoral Fellow in Philosophy of Science at the Rotman Institute of Philosophy at Western University. Prior to that, I completed my PhD in Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania.