Philosophy of Biomedical Sciences
General Philosophy of Science
Department of Philosophy, Western University
In 2015, I received my Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Zhejiang University in China. In 2017, I received my Master’s degree in Philosophy from Zhejiang University. At Zhejiang University, I was working on the metaphysics of causation and mechanism. In Summer 2019, I will receive my Master’s degree in Philosophy from Simon Fraser University. At Simon Fraser University, I shifted my focus to history and philosophy of science, especially to causation, modeling, and explanation in biomedical sciences. I will join in Western University as a Doctoral student in Fall 2019, and continue my work on history and philosophy of science there.
My research interests are history and philosophy of biomedical sciences and general philosophy of science, particularly I am interested in causal, mechanistic, and statistical explanation/modeling in the sciences. The goal of my research is to promote our understanding of biomedical sciences (in both contemporary and historical periods), and if possible, to contribute to progress in these fields from a philosophical perspective. More specifically, I have been working on or will work on the following topics:
a. General questions in philosophy of science (e.g. explanation and modeling): What’s the best account of explanation? What’s the scope of causal explanation in the sciences? How should we understand the use of various models (e.g., mathematical/statistical models, network models) in science?
b. Causation and causal inference: What are the limitations of interventionism? Are assumptions made in graphical causal models plausible? Is there any problem with current methods of causal inference in the sciences? Are random controlled trials always reliable?
c. More specific issues in biomedical sciences: There are many interesting problems in evolutionary biology, genetics, epidemiology and evidence-based medicine, etc. For example, is the role of mechanistic evidence in medicine underestimated?
d. History of science, especially the history of causation and causal inference: Our understandings of causation changed dramatically both in philosophy and science in the past few centuries, how should we understand the changes? What lesson can we draw from the history of causation?
1. Wright versus Pearson: Causal inference in the early 20th century (2019 Summer)
2. Levels, Constitution, Causation in Mechanisms (2017 Summer, In Chinese)
1. 16th International Congress on Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science and Technology, August 5-10, Prague. Presentation title: Discovering unfaithful causal structures from observations and interventions.
2. Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science 2019 Conference, University of British Columbia, June 1-3, Vancouver. Presentation title: Wright versus Pearson: Causal inference in the early 20th century.
3. The 11th Biennial Collective Intentionality Conference (Social Ontology 2018), Tufts university, August 22-25, Boston. Presentation title: The reality of social kinds: A causal account.
Spring 2019, Introduction to Logic and Reasoning (PHIL 110), Simon Fraser University (Tutorial leader)
Fall 2018, Critical Thinking (PHIL 105), Simon Fraser University (Tutorial leader)
Summer 2018, Introduction to Logic and Reasoning (PHIL 110), Simon Fraser University (Tutorial leader)
Spring 2018, Epistemology (PHIL 220), Simon Fraser University (Grader)