Science and Technology Studies


STS offers degrees at each university level: undergraduate, masters, and PhD


STS Research Seminar: Dr Rune Nyrup

07 December 2022, 11:00 am–12:30 pm

STS Logo

Join this STS Research Seminar with Dr Rune Nyrup

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

UCL staff | UCL students | UCL alumni






UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies


Chandler House
2 Wakefield St,

 “Explanatory Pragmatism and Philosophy for the Science of Explainable AI”

AI systems are often accused of being ‘opaque’, ‘uninterpretable’ or ‘unexplainable’. Explainable AI (XAI) is a subfield of AI research that seeks to develops tools for overcoming this challenge. To guide this field, philosophers and AI researchers alike have looked to the philosophy of explanation and understanding. In this talk, I examine the relation between philosophy and this new Science of Explainable AI. I argue that there is a gap between typical philosophical theories of explanation and understanding and the motivations underlying XAI research: such theories are either too abstract, or else to too narrowly focused on specific scientific contexts, to address the varied ethical concerns that motivate XAI. I propose an alternative model for how philosophers can contribute to XAI, focused on articulating “mid-level” theories of explainability, i.e., theories which specify what kinds of understanding are important to preserve and promote in specific contexts involving AI-supported decision making. This programme, which I call philosophy for the science of XAI, is conceived as an inherently interdisciplinary endeavour, integrating normative, empirical and technical research on the nature and value of explanation and understanding.

About the Speaker

Dr Rune Nyrup

Research Associate at Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (CFI) at University of Cambridge

More about Dr Rune Nyrup