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::: center home >> people >> visiting fellows, 2008-09 >> russo

Federica Russo
Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium
Spring 2009
Modelling social phenomena: Causal models and their external validity

Federica is a Postdoctoral Fellow of the FNRS at the University of Louvain

( Belgium) and Honorary Research Fellow of the University of Kent ( UK). She completed a PhD on causal modelling in the social sciences at the University of Louvain and obtained a DEA (MA) in Philosophy of Science from the same university. She graduated from the University of Padua in 2001. She has visited the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS) at the LSE from April 2004 to January 2005.

Federica is interested in causality and probability in the social, biomedical and policy sciences. Her monograph, *Causality and causal modelling in the social sciences. Measuring variations* puts forward a novel philosophical and methodological approach to causal reasoning in causal modelling that hinges upon the notion of variation. She is currently working on a number of parallel projects. At the Center, she will investigate the problem of external validity and extrapolation in social contexts. She will also carry on joint research with Jon Williamson on the levels of causation and on causal inference in autopsy, with Michel Mouchart and Guillaume Wunsch on structural modelling in social science, and with researchers at CIGA (Padova) on the legal, social, and philosophical implications of nanotechnology.

Federica enjoys reading novels, going to the theatre, swimming, and organising parties, where she usually cooks Italian food (what else!). As she cannot do all those things at the same time, while in Pittsburgh, she will focus on setting up a party series for the Center’s Fellows and friends.

Federica edited the volume Causality in the Sciences (OUP, 2011) with Phyllis Illari and Jon Williamson. She published the following papers:

  • Russo F. (2011). Causal webs in epidemiology, Paradigmi, Special Issue on the Philosophy of Medicine, XXXIX (1), 67-98.

  • Russo F. and Williamson J. (2011) Generic vs. single-case causality. The case of autopsy. European Journal for Philosophy of Science. On line first on 4th Jan 2011 DOI: 10.1007/s13194-010-0012-4

  • Russo F. (forthcoming). On empirical generalisations. In D. Dieks, W.J. Gonzalez, S. Hartmann, M. Stoeltzner, M. Weber (eds), Probabilities, Laws, and Structures, Springer.

  • Russo F. (2011). Correlational data, causal hypotheses, and validity. Journal for General Philosophy of Science. In press.

  • Russo F. (Forthcoming). The homo poeiticus and the bridge between physis and techne. In H. Demir (eds), Luciano Floridi’s Philosophy of Technology. Critical Reflections. Springer.

  • Casini L., Illari P., Russo F., J. Williamson (2011) Models for prediction, explanation, and control: recursive Bayesian Networks. Theoria, 26(70), 5-33.

  • Russo F., Mouchart M., Wunsch G. (2011). Inferring causality through counterfactuals in observational studies. Some epistemological issues. Bullettin de Methodologie Sociologique – Bullettin of Sociological Methodology. In press.

  • Mouchart M. and Russo F. (2011). Causal explanation: recursive decompositions and mechanisms, in McKay Illari P., Russo F. and Williamson J. (eds), Causality in the sciences, Oxford University Press, 317-337.

  • Osimani B., Russo F., Williamson J. (2011). A Bayesian formalization of the precautionary principle in pharmaceutical policy. The Journal of Philosophy, Science, and Law, 11, April 4.

Federica has joined the editorial board of Philosophy and Technology and of Topoi. She continues her intense activities as memebr of the steering committee of the 'Causality in the Sciences Conference Series' (next events: 'Causality and Intervention', Paris 9-10 June 2011; 'Causality and Explanation in the Sciences', Ghent 19-21 September 2011).


- Illari P. and Russo F. (2014) Causality: Philosophical Theory Meets Scientific Practice. Oxford University Press.
- Russo F. (2014) “What invariance is and how to test for it.”  International Studies in Philosophy of Science, 28(2), 157-183.

- AHRC Standard Grant 2015-18; “Evaluating mechanisms in medicine”; collaborative research between the University of Kent, University College London, and the University of Amsterdam


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