I am a philosopher, specialized in the philosophy of science and social epistemology. I focus on the epistemological and societal conditions of climate science, the role of values in science, science and democracy, and social mechanisms in science and academia.
Since about 2007, when I started with my PhD, I have been concerned about the diverse ways in which economic, industrial, and political interests undermine the public trust in science and infringe upon scientific practices in policy-relevant research fields (i.e. upon methodology, the generation of theories and hypotheses, risk assessment, agenda setting, conceptual framing, etc.).
The recent rise of right-wing populism across democratic countries has even more intensified my concerns. We can observe that the free exchange of opinions, which is basically essential for epistemic advancement, has become increasingly exploited by well-organized and powerful stakeholders. Scientists conducting research on policy-relevant issues, such as climate change or social biases, have been confronted with continual, systematic doubts regarding their competence and reliability, and even threats to their physical and emotional well being.
As a consequence, we face significant epistemic damages: Targeted researchers tend to be intimidated, which leads to stifled discussions, overly careful and conservative methodological and thematical choices, and a systematic bias towards false negative errors. Together with Manuela Fernández Pinto, I have currently been preparing a monograph entitled Epistemic Intimidation, in which we seek to examine the mechanisms and effects of this phenomenon.
Further Information on My Work
- An interview at the Socially Engaged Philosophy Channel with M. Fernández Pinto on our joint project (2021).
- An interview at Deutschlandfunk (2021).
- A report from Deutschlandfunk (2019).
- An article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung (2015). Also available in English.
- A portrait on the SWIP Germany weblog (2016).
You may follow my work on academia.edu.
2021-: Professor of Philosophy of Science, Bergische Universität Wuppertal, and Deputy Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Science and Technology Studies (IZWT)
2021: Habilitation in Philosophy at Leibniz Universität Hannover (cumulative habilitation thesis on epistemic effects of the systematic intimidation of scientists)
2015-2021: Postdoc at the DFG Research Training Group “Integrating Ethics and Epistemology of Scientific Research”, Leibniz Universität Hannover
2014-2015: Research Fellow at the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
2012-2014: Postdoc in the research group LOBSTER with Prof. Gregor Betz at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Philosophy Department
2011-2012: Assistant Professor at Bielefeld University, Philosophy Department
2010-2012: Lecturer at Bielefeld University, Philosophy Department
2009: Visiting Scholar at Columbia University, NYC; invitation: Prof. Philip Kitcher
2007-2011: PhD student (Darmstadt and Bielefeld) with a scholarship from the German Academic Scholarship Foundation; PhD thesis on The Credibility of Science: An Epistemological Analysis of Climate Science (Advisors: Prof. Martin Carrier & Prof. Alfred Nordmann)
2007: M.A. in Philosophy and History. Magister thesis on The Responsibility of Scientists: The Case of Genetic Use Restriction Technologies
2004: Exchange student at University of Reading, UK
2001-2007: Studies of Philosophy, History, and Literature at Bielefeld University