I am a distinguished professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. My research has concerned understanding the assumptions and structure of scientific explanations of complex systems and their behavior. How does division of labor arise in a honey bee colony? What are the genetic contributions to psychiatric disorders? How do scientists generate predictions of protein structure? And how do natural and social systems interact in a complex feedback web of mutual influence? These explorations have led me to introduce a theory of Integrative Pluralism to describe and explain the relationships among multiple models, explanations and entire disciplines. In my 2009 book Unsimple Truths: Science, Complexity and Policy I offer detailed arguments for how and why understanding the science of complexity changes our views of knowledge of nature, how we obtain such knowledge, and how we use that knowledge to pursue our human interests. On the way I have thought and written about different types of explanations in biology, the role of social values in science, emergence and robustness and how standards for reliability for scientific instruments might help us understand why we should or shouldn't trust new artificial intelligence learning algorithms. I am currently working on two projects: one on features of a perspectival view of scientific knowledge production, representation and use and a second on the role of consensus in science.
Recent and Upcoming Talks and News
May 2, 2020 15:25 - 15:35
ENVISIONING VENTURES "IL FUTURO DEI SISTEMI COMPLESSI" in Venture Thinking online conference
"How evidence gets deformed" AAAS Symposium: Lobbying for Evidence. AAAS Annual Meeting, February 15, 2020, Seattle, WA
Conference: Rethinking Emergence, University of Lisbon, “Challenges for a bottom-up approach to the reality of emergent phenomena” October 2019
16th International Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science and Technology, Prague, Keynote Lecture “Integrating Perspectives: Learning from Model Divergence” August 2019