My research is concerned primarily with general philosophy of science, philosophy of economics, and history of philosophy.

In general philosophy of science, I have been dealing with scientific ontology, the value-free ideal, causality and complexity.

In scientific ontology, I defend anti-metaphysical positions with regard to dispositions and structures, i.e. relations among subatomic particles. I argue that the claim that structures are the most fundamental entities in the universe, and the claim that they are not the most fundamental ones, find themselves on opposite sides of Kantian antinomies, and that at best, they function as transcendental principles (or coordinating principles) of different domains of scientific practice and experience: fundamental physics and the special sciences. I develop a similar argument with respect to the claim that dispositions are categorically based, and the claim that they are not categorically based.

Regarding the value-free ideal, I investigate arguments that have been provided in support of or against the claim that non-scientific values (like ideologies or material interests) influence scientific research as a matter of principle. I try to show that the most famous argument in support of that claim (the argument from inductive risk) is unconvincing: that proponents of this argument have failed to overcome the most important objections to its soundness. But I also argue that non-scientific values are likely to influence scientific research whenever scientists accept or reject scientific hypotheses that are empirically underdetermined.

Of all accounts of causality, I work most frequently with the interventionist account and the underlying theory of causal graphs. I argue that contrary to Woodward’s assurances, a relation between  two variables needs to satisfy ceteris paribus conditions in order to qualify as one of direct type-level causation: conditions that I refer to as ceteris constantibus, ceteris neglectis, and ceteris absentibus conditions. I also develop a variant of the interventionist account that gets along without condition (I2): without the condition requiring that the manipulation of an intervention variable I break all arrows directed into X and departing from variables other than I.

One of my most recent interests in general philosophy of science concerns the relationship between causality and complexity. I analyze the conditions that a system needs to satisfy in order to qualify as complex. And I investigate whether the interventionist account can be applied to make sense of the causality of the relations that may happen to obtain between components of a complex system.

In philosophy of economics, I have been concerned with causality, causal inference, scientific objectivity, and (most recently) theories of welfare.

I develop an account of macroeconomic causality that I understand as the gist that is common to the following three accounts when they are relieved of overly restrictive conditions: the interventionist account, Hoover’s account of privileged parameterization, and the potential outcome approach. The account is a variant of the interventionist account that gets along without condition (I2). In macroeconomics, condition (I2) is violated whenever there are nonlinear cross equation restrictions, as in the case of models with rational expectations.

The causal inference methods I investigate include the instrumental variable method and econometric causality tests. I show that the evidence that macroeconomists can provide when using these methods is in principle too inconclusive to support specific causal hypotheses because in macroeconomics, confounders that cannot be controlled for or measured are likely to be present.

I discuss three conceptions of scientific objectivity in macroeconomics: scientific realism, the value-free ideal, and expertise. I argue that non-scientific values are likely to influence the acceptance or rejection of causal hypotheses because causal hypotheses are empirically under-determined in macroeconomics, and that expertise and realism about relations of direct type-level causation are problematic precisely because of the empirical under-determination of causal hypotheses.

Causality and objectivity in macroeconomics (under contract with Routledge), chaps. 6-8.

Causal hypotheses can be used to justify economic policy decisions, and the traditional goal of economic policy is welfare. Therefore, I have become interested in theories of individual and social welfare. The theory I am currently dealing with is the traditional economic theory of welfare as preference satisfaction. My first article about this theory analyzes the empirical evidence that behavioral economists say they have provided in support of non-egoistic other-regarding (or social) preferences and the welfare implications of these preferences.

“Other-regarding preferences: evidence and welfare implications” (in preparation).

In history of philosophy, I have been investigating the philosophy of Kant, Heidegger’s philosophy in Being and Time, Marx’s historical materialism, and (to a lesser extent) Hegel’s speculative logic. My work in history of philosophy is largely exegetical. But I also use the work of Kant, Marx, and Heidegger as a source of inspiration for my work in philosophy of science and economics.

I argue that according to Kant, the category of causality is the a priori concept of a disposition, and that he is a pragmatist about the principles of rational psychology (“there is a simple substance that persists in existence with personal identity”), cosmology (“nature is infinite”), and theology (“the world of sense has a single supreme and all-sufficient ground outside its range”).

I defend a new interpretation of Heidegger’s concept of authenticity which has repercussions for his concept of truth and his phenomenological method. I argue that the being of Dasein is a range of existentiell possibilities: a range of practical abilities that are constrained by the contingencies of given historical situations. Dasein has (or “understands”) these possibilities in the mode of authenticity if these possibilities are those of an expert and include possibilities to invent new linguistic or practical meaning.

I argue that the conditions of production that Marx can show will replace capitalist conditions of production are not socialist conditions of production, but those of employee capital participation.