Causality, explanation and models in the special sciences

Scientific coordinator - Prof. Francesco Bianchini

Research topics

Research in the philosophy of science is now increasingly structured in a differentiated field of study connecting wide-ranging reflections on epistemological subjects with specific themes related to special sciences. Subject at intersection between multiple fields such as cognitive sciences (and cognitive neurosciences), artificial intelligence, and medicine and engineering from a theoretical point of view in relation to experimental methodologies and technological applications are particularly interesting. The research team explores these issues at the crossroads between epistemological debate, simulation methodologies and modeling aspects connected to the scientific explanation of the phenomena concerning the specific disciplinary fields being studied.

Group members

Raffaella Campaner

Full Professor

ERC sectors

  • SH4_13 Philosophy of science, epistemology and logic
  • PE6_7 Artificial intelligence, intelligent systems, multi agent systems
  • PE6_12 Scientific computing, simulation and modeling tools
  • SH4_4 Cognitive and experimental psychology: perception, action, and higher cognitive processes


The disciplines related to the group research subjects are cognitive sciences, artificial intelligence, medicine, neuroscience, and the philosophy of special sciences. The objectives of the group are therefore:

1) the discussion of epistemological questions related to the areas concerned in current debate;

2) the analysis of the explanation models and of the experimental and modeling strategies used in the related disciplines;

3) the publication of results obtained and the organization of seminars, workshops and conferences on issues related to these disciplines.

Scientific production

Series of Seminars in Philosophy of Science:

  • 2018 external speakers: Sara Dallantonio, Barbara Osimani, Fabio Sterpetti
  • Organization, with Prof. Viola Schiaffonati, of the international conference "For a Bottom-Up Epistemology", Bertinoro (Bologna), 7-9 June 2018.
  • Co-organization of the SILFS 2017 conference "Triennial International Conference of the Italian Society for Logic and Philosophy of Science" Bologna, Italy, 20-23 June 2017
  • Organization and participation to the AISC 2017 international conference "The Science of Cognition. Brain, Body, Language, and Technologies "- Bologna, 14-16 December 2017
  • 2017 external speakers: Davide Serpico, Gustavo Cevolani, Edoardo Datteri
  • Organization of the symposium "Models and Pluralism in the Health Sciences", 5 August 2015, participants in the symposium: Raffaella Campaner, Marta Bertolaso ​​(University of Rome Biomedical Campus), Alex Broadbent (University of Johannesburg), Jeremy Howick (Oxford University), as part of the LPMS international conference, Helsinki, 2-9 August 2015.
  • Organization of the international conference: "Causality in the Special Sciences", Bologna, 19-20 October 2015.
  • Organization of the conference "Explanation models: logic, science, cognition", Bologna, 21 October 2015