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Department of History and Philosophy of Science


Calculating People is a reading group on current and past social sciences with a special focus on their methodological controversies. All postgraduate researchers are welcome to join, but participants undertake to do the readings ahead of time and endeavour to attend all meetings. The format is in-person with a possibility of a Zoom link if it proves practical.

The meetings take place on Thursdays, 2–3pm in the Board Room (unless another room is shown). Organised by Anna Alexandrova.

Lent Term 2023

19 January: Seminar Room 1

Thoma, Johanna (2023), 'Social Science, Policy, and Democracy', draft.

26 January: Seminar Room 2

MacKay, Douglas (2020), 'Government Policy Experiments and the Ethics of Randomization'. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 48: 319–352.

2 February

Duflo, Esther (2017), 'The Economist as Plumber'. American Economic Review, 107 (5): 1–26.

9 February

Seawright, Jason (2016), 'Case Selection in Small-N Research'. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics.

16 February

Rich, Patricia, Mark Blokpoel, Ronald de Haan, Maria Otworowska, Marieke Sweers, Todd Wareham, and Iris van Rooij (2021), 'Naturalism, tractability and the adaptive toolbox'. Synthese, 198 (6): 5749–5784.

23 February

Williams, Daniel (2022), 'The marketplace of rationalizations'. Economics & Philosophy, 2022: 1–25.

2 March

Haven, Tamarinde L., and Leonie Van Grootel (2019), 'Preregistering qualitative research'. Accountability in Research, 26 (3): 229–244.

9 March

Floridi, Luciano, Mariarosaria Taddeo, Vincent Wang, David Watson, and Jules Desai (2022), 'The epistemological foundations of data science: a critical review'. Synthese, 200 (6): 1–27.