Project Description

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Zelda Blair


  • Philosophy of Science

  • Medical practice and clinical research, particularly psychiatry and psychometrics

  • Aesthetics


  • Rotman Institute of Philosophy
    Western University
    Western Interdisciplinary Research Building, 7156
    London, Ontario, Canada
    N6A 3K7


M. A. Student;
Department of Philosophy, Western University

I was born in Birmingham AL, and have studied painting at Pratt Institute and sciences at New York University.As an artist I became interested in the nature of embodiment, and this ultimately led me to the combination of philosophy of science, aesthetics, clinical research, and medicine that I am currently investigating. I am a candidate in the the one-year MA program in Philosophy of Science 2019-2020 at Western, and an applicant to MD-PhD dual-degree programs (PhD in Philosophy of Science) for matriculation in fall 2020.

As an application of aesthetics to medical practice, this past year (2018) I submitted a Fulbright grant proposal to study with Dr. Urban Wiesing at the University of Tübingen and respond to several questions he presented in a paper about aspects of medicine as an “art.” In my research I continue to find ways to investigate these questions, and to bring attention to aesthetics in the context of applied science and medicine.

While at NYU I worked as a research intern with the Ross-Bogenschutz Lab at NYU Langone. These investigators conduct research in clinical psychology, using psychedelics and other FDA-controlled Schedule 1 drugs to treat anxiety, depression and addiction disorders. This work has given me experience in the basic realities of clinical research and the specific concerns of an especially high-pressure sector; and has introduced me to my current research topic in psychometrics.

This independent research I have initiated is an investigation of the interplay of measurement and theory in research. This includes the processes underlying the design and application of measures to operationalize variables in systems under study; the evolution of criteria for establishing external validity; and the extent to which pragmatic realities of systems as well as aesthetic criteria direct theory development. I am investigating these interests in a case study of one of the trials of the Ross-Bogenschutz Lab, where I am interviewing the investigators and conducting review of relevant scientific and philosophical literatures. The goal of this project is to present my assessment of the interconversions of qualitative and quantitative variables and the adaptations of measurement and theory to each other. This project is in progress as of this writing (May 2019) to be completed August 2019.


Blair, Z. (2018, October) Developing American Attitudes on Mental Health and Violence. NYU Medical Dialogue Review, Volume 13, Issue 1.

Blair, Z. (2018, May) The Action Potential of Santiago Ramón y Cajál. NYU Medical Dialogue Review, Volume 12, Issue 2, 51-55.

Fall 2019-Spring 2020, TBA in Department of Philosophy, University of Western Ontario (Graduate teaching assistant)

April-October 2016, Foundations of Holistic Herbalism Certificate Program, Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine (Teaching assistant and apothecary apprentice)

Spring 2013, Lithography II, Pratt Institute (Undergraduate teaching assistant)

Fall 2012, Silkscreen I, Pratt Institute (Undergraduate teaching assistant)