As a philosophy professor, I investigate the promises and dangers of scientific theory. How do theories about consciousness and climate change influence technology, and how is that technology used, and abused? How are evolutionary and psychological theories used to draw particular conclusions about race, sex/gender, and intelligence? When are such conclusions legitimate? I have lectured and published on a wide variety of topics in philosophy of science as well as on science more generally.
Here are my areas of interest: philosophy of science, philosophy of biology, political philosophy, ethics, metaphysics and epistemology, philosophy of mind and cognitive science, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of the social sciences, Pragmatism, History of Philosophy of Science (HOPOS), Kant, post-structuralism, Latin American Philosophy.
1. Education and Appointments?
2. Professional Service?
- Reviewer for 20+ journals.
3. General research content?
- What is the relation between the concrete (e.g., reality, material technology, and the body) and the abstract (e.g., theory, functional design, and consciousness)?
- Which categories of scientific research exist in a plurality of ways?
4. Current specific projects?
+Pragmatic aspects of models and modeling:
- (i) mathematical models (especially in genomics, climate studies, and physics)
- (ii) diagrammatic models (especially of biological mechanisms, and "Tree of life" vs. "Network of life")
- (iii) narrative models (especially in Evo-Devo)
- (i) the genomics of "race" (Wir sind alle Afrikaner)
5. Other intellectual interests? Physics, psychology, literature and poetry, art, architecture, and the study of multiculturalism.
6. Languages? I speak Danish, English, and Spanish. Perhaps one day my French, German, and Latin will improve.
7. Other personal webpages?
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The Quote Bestiary
"[The scientist] therefore must appear to the systematic epistemologist as a type of unscrupulous opportunist: he appears as realist insofar as he seeks to describe a world independent of the acts of perception; as idealist insofar as he looks upon the concepts and theories as the free inventions of the human spirit (not logically derivable from what is empirically given); as positivist insofar as he considers his concepts and theories justified only to the extent to which they furnish a logical representation of relations among sensory experiences. He may even appear as a Platonist or Pythagorean insofar as he considers the viewpoint of logical simplicity as an indispensable and effective tool of his research."
"The problem for science is to understand the proper domain of explanation of each abstraction rather than become its prisoner."
"[E]xperience has taught me that the history of various forms of rationality is sometimes more effective in unsettling our certitudes and dogmatism than is abstract criticism."
Neues Museum, Berlin, 2010.
UPCOMING TALKS AND CONFERENCES
Mexico City, 4 pm, May 27, 2013.
Mexico City, 12 noon, May 29, 2013.
Mexico City, 4 pm, May 31, 2013.
October 20, 2012.
Understanding Complex Systems
"When Maps Become the World:
(Many) Simple Models of Complex Systems"
November 9, 2012
@ Google (Googleplex, Mountain View)
PUBLIC LECTURES gladly given
Please contact me @
synthetic styles of thinking, in science and in everyday life.