- New Careers Podcast: Louis Stupple Harris.
- "quite simply the best"
- Responsible Innovation Article
- STS Summer Internships
- STS Research behind EPSRC Statement
- New book: Presocratics and the Supernatural
- Sleepwalking in Middle Ages
- UK citizen views on carbon capture and storage: new study
- PlosOne for Stilgoe: new paper
- MSc prize winner
- STS Alumnus Publishes Policy Report
- Prize winning dissertation
- Material Histories of Chemistry
- Light and Dark
- Emotions, Transformations, Restorations
- New paper: Helmholtz Club, Neuroscience and Francis Crick
- New scholarship for PhD studies
- STS PHD students shine
- Notes for brewing genius
- STS Goes Dutch
- Vacancy: Project Co-ordinator
- New Careers Podcasts
- Why should we promote public engagement with science?
- New Paper: The Science of Destruction:
- UCL Donors help fund a forgotten treatment for TB
- PhD Studentship: Making the Oceans Visible
- STS Prof in award-winning book
- Vacancy: Lecturer in Science Communication
- STS Prof Hits 4 Million
- Vacancy: Lecturer in Science & Technology Studies
- PhD Conference Review. September - January.
- 8th London Ancient Science Conference
- STS explores science on a pagan planet
- Wonderments of the Cosmos
- STS Trip! War Rooms & Banquetting House
- Emotions, Transformations, Restorations
- New paper: Harvey, Aristotle, Astrology
- Students notice excellence
- STS Research Day 2014
- The Closed Loop
- Awe Fear and Fireworks
- Undergraduate Prizes 2014
- Two STS staff promoted
- Farewell Jo Pearson
- Prof Agar on Science and WW1
- Brian Balmer speaks at UN
- NSS2014 - STS scores 100 percent (again)
- STS takes on Latin America (part 1)
- European funding success
- Upcoming Event: Perspectives On Neglected Tropical Diseases
- STS PhD students shine in South America
- Honorary degree for STS leader
- Student Success For Grand Challenge Pitch
- First STS Haldane Lecture Announced
- STS Seminars Confirmed
- Eugenics at UCL: We inherited Galton
- A Clichéd History of Computing
- STS PhD student on the BBC Breakfast Show
- Fireworks, with Simon Werrett
- RRI in Rome
- CFP: Philosophy of Information workshop
- STS's Stilgoe speaks to Parliament
- STS research seminars Term 2 announced
- Prof Frank James elected
- Students Organise BSHS Postgraduate Conference 2015
UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies is an interdisciplinary centre for the integrated study of science's history, philosophy, sociology, communication and policy, located in the heart of London. Founded in 1921. Award winning for teaching and research, plus for our public engagement programme. Rated as outstanding by students at every level.
At UCL, the academic mission is paramount. Our ambition is to achieve the highest standards in our teaching and research.
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Prize winning dissertation
12 December 2013
Mr Thomas Frankel, a student in STS's integrated BSc programme for UCL Medical School, has won the HAB Simons Prize 2013 for an outstanding dissertation. His dissertation focused on philosophy of science,"Prediction, Explanation, and 'Self-Caused Explanations'". Abstract below. As the award letter explained, "Only the best iBSc projects are nominated for this prize..." Thomas shares it with a student on another integrated programme.
STS tutors receive the news with delight, but no surprise. Dr Chiara Ambrosio commented, "It was an exceptional piece of work."
This is the second award of the HAB Simons Prize to an STS student. Adam Holland (2009-10) won it in 2010 for his dissertation on “The Benefits of Pluralism: A Perspectival Articulation”.
Prediction, Explanation, and “Self-Caused Explanations”
This essay is divided into three sections. Throughout, I discuss a number of issues relating to predictions and explanations. In section 1, I introduce basic ideas that I later build on. In section 2, I make my main argument. The further implications of my work are considered in section 3. The major themes that are addressed in each section are given below.
1. I begin with an outline of the study of scientific explanation. I focus on Hempel’s thesis of structural identity, which demands symmetry between explanation and prediction. Several counterexamples to this thesis are then considered, along with a limited defence, which draws on the work of Adolf Gru nbaum. A number of alternative approaches to scientific explanation are also examined.
2. A novel distinction between prediction and explanation is proposed. This is achieved through the definitions of four related conditions, which apply only to predictions. These are the temporal, empirical, epistemic, and causal conditions. The concept of “self-caused explanations” is introduced, demonstrating an novel asymmetry between prediction and explanation.
3. Some of the implications of my distinction are considered. First, a new perspective on the problem of explaining unlikely events is offered. Finally, it is argued that predictions are better able to confirm scientific theories than explanations. It is proposed that scientific explanations function through implied predictions.
Page last modified on 12 dec 13 12:14 by Joe Cain
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