Hello - I am a Senior Lecturer in philosophy at Birkbeck College, London, where I have been since 2011. I became Head of Department in October 2017. Before Birkbeck, I taught for six years at the University of Missouri-St Louis. I received my PhD from the London School of Economics, and during my last two years as a student I was a visitor at University of California-San Diego. Before switching to philosophy, I did graduate work in economics, receiving an MSc, and undergraduate work in mathematics and history.
Away from philosophy, I have among other things:
... won money at tournaments in pool, poker, and foosball/table football
... been, in my LSE days, captain of a University Challenge TV quiz team, reaching the grand final of the 1996/7 series
... kissed a mother grey whale in the wild on the lips (it was salty), at Laguna San Ignacio in Mexico
... in 2013 made my first ever hole-in-one in golf, and in 2014 broke 80 for the first time
My research is mainly in philosophy of science, and especially the ‘special sciences’ such as biology and economics. I have also written extensively on related themes in metaphysics, especially the notions of causation and causal explanation. These various strands connect when, for instance, analysing the use of statistical techniques to measure causation, or the place of causal explanation in evolutionary theory.
More recently, I have been examining methodology in field sciences, and in particular the role of theory and idealised models. What is the relation between the development of such models, and progress in terms of better predictions and explanations? Does theoretical modelling merit its prestige and the many intellectual resources devoted to it? Broadly speaking, I argue for more emphasis on local empirical work and less on development of generalised theory. Connected to this, I have begun to examine the epistemic merits, in a field science context, specifically of prediction as opposed to retrospective accommodation or explanation.
I have also continued to apply causal ideas to several other philosophical debates, including the analysis of scientific progress, of harm, and of innateness.