Podcast with philosophers of science: Extrapolator

Geoff Allen

Last Autumn Geoff Allen, recent graduate of the Research master History and Philosophy of Science, interviewed several philosophers of science on his podcast, Extrapolator.

In Extrapolator Geoff Allen investigates topics at the intersection of philosophy and science. It has been his passion project, both during and after the HPS master programme. In Autumn/Winter 2021, he released ten new episodes, featuring interviews with philosophers, scientists, entrepreneurs, public intellectuals – and one meditation teacher!

Of course, one category of guests has appeared most often: philosophers of science. Here is an overview of those philosophers of science and the episodes in which they appear:

Sean Carroll
Sean Carroll is a Research Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and a member of the Fractal Faculty at the Santa Fe Institute. He is also a well-known communicator of science – writing popular science books, contributing to magazines and journals, and appearing on popular science television shows.

Sean appeared in episode #11 - Sean Carroll: Academia, Podcasting and Communicating Science, and he gave very pragmatic advice on the task of communicating science and on making a career in academia. Other topics included: the overlap between philosophy and science; productivity and workflow; getting ‘anti-credit’ for popularising science; public trust in scientists; and misinformation.
Listen on Spotify: https://sptfy.com/6sn5.

Jenann Ismael
Jenann Ismael is a Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. She has also taught at Stanford University (1996–1998) and the University of Arizona (1998–2018). She received her PhD from Princeton University in 1997. Jenann is the author of the books Essays on Symmetry (2001), The Situated Self (2007), How Physics Makes Us Free (2016) and Time: A Very Short Introduction (2021).

In episode #14 - Jenann Ismael: Puzzles of Perspective, Geoff and Jenann talked about time, pain, colour and spatial navigation. In all of these cases, there is a puzzle about how subjective experience can be reconciled with subjective experience. Jenann’s work provides wonderful insights on perspectives and ‘frame-dependent’ phenomena.
Listen on Spotify: https://sptfy.com/6BRH.

Lauren Ross
Lauren Ross is an Associate Professor of Logic and Philosophy of Science at the University of California, Irvine. She has an MD from the School of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine and a PhD in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Pittsburgh. This crossover influences a good deal of her work in philosophy of biology, philosophy of neuroscience and philosophy of medicine. 

In episode #17 - Lauren Ross: Causal Concepts and Analogies, Geoff and Lauren discussed causal explanations in science and the analogies that scientists use to explain causal systems. Several of Lauren’s recent papers analyse causal concepts like ‘mechanism’, ‘pathway’ and ‘cascade’. She argues that scientists use a diversity of causal concepts, representing a diversity of causal structures in the world, which has important implications for epistemology and metaphysics.  
Listen on Spotify: https://sptfy.com/6WAU.

Maura Cassidy Burke
Maura Cassidy Burke is a PhD candidate in the philosophy of science at Utrecht University and serves as an editor-in-chief for the Journal of Trial in Error in her free time. She holds an MSc in the History and Philosophy of Science from Utrecht University, and a BA in Molecular Biology from Hampshire College in Massachusetts, USA. Maura primarily works on the epistemology of science, with a focus on how explanations function in the natural and life sciences.

Maura appeared in episode #10 - Maura Cassidy Burke: Human Knowledge and the Multiverse, which centred around the core ideas from her master thesis research. Geoff and Maura discussed: the aims of science; strategies for explaining; mechanisms versus laws of nature; and epistemic pluralism versus monism. They asked some big picture questions about epistemology, like whether we should expect physics and the laws of nature to be the same for all beings, and how the ‘agent’ and the ‘observer’ feature in knowledge-making.
Listen on Spotify: https://sptfy.com/6qcI.

Pete Mandik
Pete Mandik is a Professor of Philosophy at William Paterson University. He is the author of the books Key Terms in Philosophy of Mind (2010) and This is Philosophy of Mind: An Introduction (2013), and a co-author of the book Cognitive Science: An Introduction to the Mind and Brain (2006). Pete’s research touches on points of intersection between philosophy of mind and the cognitive sciences, especially neuroscience, psychology, and artificial intelligence. 

Pete appeared in episode #15 - Pete Mandik: Perceiving the World. Right at the start, Pete gave an insight into North American academic circles, talking about networks of philosophers and ecosystems of ideas. He talked about connections and lineages involving Kathleen Akins, David Chalmers, Patricia Churchland, Andy Clark, and more! Geoff and Pete also discussed topics from philosophy of perception: egocentric and allocentric representations; indexicals in language (‘me’, ‘here’); perspective; subjectivity and physicalism; realism; and ‘hydrogen’ versus ‘hipster’.
Listen on Spotify: https://sptfy.com/6GXb.

A complete overview of podcasts can be found here. And for more information about Geoff Allen please visit his website.