Marzieh Asgari-Targhi

Visiting scholar

I am a visiting scholar in the School of Computer Science at St. Andrews University in Scotland, where I am researching human reasoning and also lecture on the interdisciplinary science methods course (ID2003). Before joining Computer Science, I was a tutor for module on metaphysics and science and reasoning and knowledge in the Departments of Philosophy.

My research interest is mainly on reasoning and its relation to learning. My doctoral thesis was on causal reasoning in artificial intelligence. I investigated various philosophical approaches to causal reasoning and developed the concept of a causal spectrum, which describes the situational use of different causal models. This work is drawing on theories developed by philosophers such as Hume, Lewis and Mackie as well as by experimental and developmental psychologists such as Gopnik and Schulz, and a computer scientist, Judea Pearl. Through my doctoral research I have developed expertise in interdisciplinary research across the three areas of philosophy, cognitive science and artificial intelligence.

I am also interested in the philosophy of science, scientific methods, the nature of evidence in science and how scientists reason. Over the past two years I looked at how computational technologies are giving rise to new methods of scientific inquiry. While it is undoubtedly the case that scientists are utilising advanced computational infrastructures, claims about fundamental shifts in how research is conducted warrant thorough investigation.

Much that I enjoy the theoretical and philosophical debates, I am deeply driven to see the application of ideas and in this sense I would like to think of myself as an applied philosopher with a multi-disciplinary background, combining philosophy, AI and cognitive sciences.

Finally, I love all forms of arts, from architecture to painting to a magnificent piece of music. I think Schopenhauer is absolutely right to say that the only way to escape the suffering in our mad world is through art — though I would add love to this! Anyhow, when no one is looking I read poetry. I love Persian classical poetry and music and one poem is enough to make my day!