I did my B.A. in philosophy at UC Berkeley under John Searle, and I'm currently a PhD candidate in philosophy at Columbia University, where I have earned an MA and an MPhil in philosophy, and am working under Philip Kitcher. I'm interested generally in the foundations of the natural sciences, and in naturalism as a broad metaphilosophical position. I take a primarily problem-solving (as opposed to historical) approach to philosophy, and have particular interests in the foundations of complexity theory, the philosophical implications of the digital revolution, the prospects for naturalistic ethics, unity of science, and problems in the foundations of quantum mechanics. My work has been primarily influenced by Philip Kitcher, John Searle, David Albert, Yaneer Bar-Yam, and Daniel Dennett.
I'm interested in the emergence of complex behavior in deterministic dynamical systems. My dissertation focuses on issues in modeling the global climate, highlighting the differencesâ€”both methodological and conceptualâ€”that scientists must confront in the move from modeling simple systems to modeling complex systems. In particular, I attempt to call attention to the role that the insights generated by studying commonalities between diverse complex systems have to play in the politically-charged field of climate science.
I argue that many of the criticisms levied against the methods and claims of climate science stem from a lack of appreciation for the unique challenges that climatologists face in studying a canonically complex system. By offering a clear articulation of the role of complexity in science generally (and climate science in particular), I hope to show why climate science, though qualitatively and methodologically different from fundamental physics, ought to be taken just as seriously. Accurate and widely-accepted modeling of the future of the global climate is pressing in a way few scientific problems of the past have been. Climate science is, in a very real sense, the first high-pressure test of the methods of complexity theory.
I'm passionate about
Complexity theory. Climate science. Philosophy of science. The Internet.
People don't know I'm good at
"I'm not an expert at anything, but I can improvise."