skip to content

Department of History and Philosophy of Science


CamPoS (Cambridge Philosophy of Science) is a network of academics and students working in the philosophy of science in various parts of the University of Cambridge, including the Department of History and Philosophy of Science and the Faculty of Philosophy. The Wednesday afternoon seminar series features current research by CamPoS members as well as visitors to Cambridge and scholars based in nearby institutions. If you are interested in presenting in the series, please contact Matt Farr (mwef2). If you have any queries or suggestions for other activities that CamPoS could undertake, please contact Huw Price, Jeremy Butterfield or Anna Alexandrova.

Seminars are held fortnightly on Wednesdays, 1.00–2.30pm on Zoom.

Lent Term 2021

10 February
Adrian Erasmus (HPS, Cambridge)
P-hacking: its costs and when it is warranted

P-hacking is a misuse of analytic techniques that may lead to exaggerated experimental results. While it is widely condemned, some have suggested that there are some contexts in which the practice may be warranted. I have three aims in this paper. First, I provide a sorely needed definition of p-hacking. Second, I use philosophical tools from decision theory to articulate the prevalent position on p-hacking and illustrate how serious its effects on statistical results can be. And third, I defend the view that there are scenarios in which p-hacking may be warranted, with a particular focus on non-epistemic judgements.

24 February
Kourken Michaelian (Université Grenoble Alpes)
From authenticism to alethism: against McCarroll on observer memory

In opposition to the natural view that observer perspective memory is bound to be inauthentic, McCarroll (2018) argues for the surprising conclusion that memories in which the subject sees himself in the remembered scene are, in many cases, true to the subject's original experience of the scene. By means of a careful reconstruction of his argument, this paper shows that McCarroll does not succeed in establishing his conclusion. It shows, in fact, that we ought to come to the opposed conclusion that, while it may be possible in principle for observer perspective memory to be authentic, this is unlikely ever to happen in practice. The natural view, in short, is more or less right.

3 March
Lena Zuchowski (University of Bristol)

17 March
Ellen Fridland (King's College London)
The skill model of mental health