Kevin Kadowaki

Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in Modeling Interdisciplinary Inquiry
PhD, Philosophy (Logic & Philosophy of Science), University of California, Irvine
MS, Physics, DePaul University
research interests:
  • Philosophy of Physics
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Values in Science
  • Logic
  • Epistemology
  • Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning
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    • Washington University in St Louis
    • One Brookings Drive
    • MSC 1029-153-207
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    Kevin Kadowaki studies the ethical and epistemic implications of formal systems, such as large-scale computer simulations and machine learning technologies.

    Kevin is a philosopher of science, with a background in physics and astrophysics.  He is particularly interested in the strengths and limitations of formal systems -- physical theories, computer algorithms, mathematical models, etc. -- in contexts of practical application, and he is currently working on projects that explore various dimensions of these systems.

    One set of projects concerns the ethics of new machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies and the implications that these have for thinking about the value-ladenness of scientific theorizing in general.  As these become more embedded in various decision-making procedures in the economy and our everyday lives, understanding the technical details will be essential to evaluate whether they serve the public good, and whether they do so in a way that is consistent with our democratic principles.

    Another set of projects concerns the epistemology of large-scale simulation.  These simulations are essential tools for scientific investigation in contexts where ordinary experimental and observational methods are inadequate, but they come with costs -- in particular, numerical errors and the sheer complexity of these simulations can make them difficult to evaluate.  Given their importance for disciplines from astrophysics to climate science, understanding the process of building epistemic confidence in these simulations requires careful attention to the real-world practices of scientists and simulationists.

    Kevin is particularly interested in teaching courses that integrate philosophical and scientific methods and illustrate the ways they can mutually reinforce each other.  This fall, he will teach a freshman seminar about a diversity of philosophical, scientific, and literary perspectives on happiness and the good life; in the spring, he will co-teach an upper division course on theory and methods in the humanities.