Research Interests

My main research areas are epistemology, philosophy of science, and philosophy of machine learning. I am also interested in feminist philosophy and philosophy of religion:

  • My main research program is about the concept of evidence. I develop a view in which what is evidence for what is constituted through norm-conforming social deliberation. One consequence of my view is that evidence is political.

  • I collaborate on projects in the philosophy of machine learning with computer scientists. My collaborations are aimed at analyzing epistemic practices in the discipline of machine learning and understanding their social and political aspects.

  • My interests in feminist philosophy include oppression and the institution of legal marriage. My interests in the philosophy of religion include conversions.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

"Theory choice, non-epistemic values, and machine learning"

In: Synthese (2020)

Winner of the Fink Prize (UC Berkeley, 2019), for the best paper written by a philosophy graduate student

Preprint, Official version

Can we choose between theories without relying on non-epistemic values, such as social and political values? I use a theorem from machine learning to support the claim that we can’t.

"What can we learn about accuracy from machine learning?"

In: Philosophy of Science (Proceedings of the 2021 PSA meeting, forthcoming)

We often think of accuracy as a purely epistemic measure of goodness of theories. I use a theorem from machine learning to argue that accuracy isn’t purely epistemic.

"Value-laden disciplinary shifts in machine learning"

With Smith Milli (UC Berkeley, CS)

In: Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAccT, 2020) 

ArXiv

 

People often think that deep learning, the currently predominant approach in machine learning, is “objectively” better than its competitors in the sense that favoring it is politically neutral. However, we argue that the rise and fall of model types, such as deep learning, is value-laden and we reveal the social and political values implicit in favoring deep learning over its competitors.

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Current Controversies in Philosophy of Science

Edited with Shamik Dasgupta and Brad Weslake

Routledge (2021), Table of Contents

A collection of papers in contemporary philosophy of science. The book is organized around six questions in the philosophy of science, with two papers addressing each question. The book also contains study questions and recommendations for further reading, meant to provide guidance for students.

"Introduction"

With Shamik Dasgupta

In: Current Controversies in Philosophy of Science

An overview of the questions and papers appearing in the book.

Work in Progress

Under Review: I use the social view of evidence to analyze an epistemic phenomenon

 

Under Review: A paper giving a philosophical analysis of disciplinary shifts in machine learning (co-authored)

"The social view of evidence"

I develop a social view of evidence. On this view, evidential relations, e.g. “e is evidence for h”, are constituted in group deliberations that satisfy norms of deliberation. This paper explains how the view works, shows it is powerful in explaining phenomena related to evidence, and uses it to both show that evidence is political and illuminate long-standing epistemic puzzles, including Hume’s problem of induction and Cartesian Skepticism.

"The values of the machine learning discipline"

With Ria Kalluri (Stanford, CS), Dallas Card (Stanford, CS), William Agnew (University of Washington, CS), and Abeba Birhane (University College Dublin, CS)

 

We investigate what the machine learning community values in conducting research and the political aspects of these values. To discover what the machine learning community values in research, we analyze papers published in the discipline. We create a list of the most influential values, including values such as accuracy, performance, and robustness. While such values are often thought of as politically-neutral, we argue they are politically-loaded.

"Evidence and testimony"

I use the social view of evidence to analyze testimony of evidence, especially expert testimony.

"Evidence and conversions"

I use the social view of evidence to analyze the phenomenon of conversion