Marcel Weber Group
Department of Philosophy - Faculty of Humanities, University of Geneva
Project at a glance
The philosophy of science studies the conceptual foundations of science, that is, concepts such as cause, function, evidence, truth, or more specific scientific concepts such as the concept of the gene, and tries to justify the reasoning strategies associated with them.
Our main goal is to analyze and justify causal and functional reasoning in various fields of biology, including genomics, developmental biology, neuroscience, and evolutionary biology.
We think that this will facilitate discussions of the broader social implications of scientific research.
To this end, we critically examine philosophical theories of causation and try to improve them and adapt them to biology (they are usually developed for much more mundane cases of causation).
An influential approach construes causation as a relationship that holds between some actual state of affairs and some alternative way things could have been.
We currently try to extend and adapt this “counterfactualist” approach to complex cases of causation in biology.
Furthermore, we are examining the possible implications for the nature of biological knowledge, including the question of how scientific models can represent and explain reality.