Philosophy of Science: Computer Simulations
Computer simulations are a very common tool in many sciences these days. The aim of my research is to understand computer simulations from a philosophy of science perspective. What does it mean to simulate a real-world system? What are the purposes that simulations fulfill? Why can they do so?
Social Choice/Public Choice
Consider the following problem: A federation consists of a number of states. Representatives vote on issues that affect the people in the federation. What decision rule can we recommend? One idea to answer this question is to consider the welfare distribution that a decision rule is expected to produce. Another idea that my collaborators Luc Bovens and Stephan Hartmann pursue is to assess decision rules following the distribution of voting power.
Philosophy of Physics
Before turning to philosophy I've been working in cosmology, especially on the large scale structure within galaxy clusters. Now I'm more interested in semantic and epistemological problems in present-day cosmology. One question that interests me is: Is there any way to extend our knowledge beyond the horizon? I'm also working on probabilities in physics. I'm interested in the way probabilistic models work. Another focus of my research on probabilities is on Humean chances.
Metaethics, Practical Reason and the Foundations of Ethics
I'm working about reasons and rationality. My dissertation investigates the Humean theory of motivation and argues for desire-independent reasons. More recent work considers the justification of optimisim and Scanlon's moral dimensions.