Karim Bschir

Born in: Switzerland
Primary research category: Philosophy of Science
Research location / employer: School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland
Fellowship dates: 2012-2017

Academic Career

  • Managing Director of the Ethics Committee and Lecturer, University of St. Gallen, 2021–present
  • Scientific Advisor for Technology and Innovation Policy, Swiss Science Council, 2019–2020
  • Visiting Professor for Technology Studies, University of St. Gallen, 2019
  • Senior Researcher and Lecturer, Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences, ETH Zurich, 2015–2017
  • Visiting Fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, 2014
  • Postdoc at the Department of Philosophy, Università Roma Tre, 2013
  • Postdoc at the Center for Philosophy and Ethics of Science, Leibniz University Hannover, Germany, 2012–2013
  • Visitor at the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science, London School of Economics, 2009–2010
  • Associated Researcher, Collegium Helveticum Zurich, Switzerland, 2007-2016
  • PhD in Philosophy of Science, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, 2011
  • Diploma in Biochemistry, University of Zurich, Switzerland, 2003

Fellowship Research

Dr. Karim Bschir’s research focuses on topics in the general philosophy of science with strong bearings upon the role and responsibility of science in society. Many of his contributions are inspired by the works of Paul Feyerabend. He has written about the relationship between Feyerabend’s pluralism and Karl Popper’s critical rationalism and is co-editor of a collected volume on Feyerabend for Cambridge University Press. One central topic in Karim Bschir’s research are science-based predictions and the uncertainty related to science-based forecasts. Understanding the limits of scientific prediction is crucial in dealing with complex problems. Accordingly, the way in which predictive uncertainties are dealt with and communicated is a matter of great public concern. In his project, Karim investigates the epistemic and practical importance of predictive practices in modern science. The project has two main parts. The first part is historical and provides an overview of episodes in the history of science, during which debates about predictions emerged within the scientific community. In the second part, philosophical issues related to prediction are explored such as the relationship between explanation and prediction as well as the debate on predictivism, and the role of novel predictions in arguments for scientific realism. The philosophical considerations are complemented with examples of predictive practices in current science and a discussion of some of the issues that arise in this context (e.g. epistemological problems related to the limited predictive capacity of non-linear dynamical models, prediction in the context of Big Data, or the problem of decision-making under predictive uncertainty.)

Major Contributions

  • Editor of a monograph on the philosophy of Paul Feyerabend for Cambridge University Press.
  • Author of a monograph on the history and epistemology of scientific prediction (in progress).
  • Initiated the Science and Philosophy lecture series at ETH Zurich that aims at establishing and encouraging a dialogue between the humanities and the natural sciences.
  • Developed and taught several courses in ETH’s Science in Perspective Course topics include introductory courses to philosophy of science for science students, values in science, social aspects of science.
  • Co-edited a special issue for Synthese on systematicity in science.

Major Awards

  • Visiting Fellowship, Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh
  • Fellowship for prospective researchers, Swiss National Science Foundation
  • Forschungskredit, University of Zurich