Carlos Zednik


carlos [dot] zednik [at] ovgu [dot] de




I am an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Magdeburg in Germany, where I arrived after completing my PhD at Indiana University and a Postdoc at the University of Osnabrück. Prior to that I earned a BA in Computer Science and Philosophy from Cornell University and an MA in Philosophy of Mind from the University of Warwick.

My research addresses questions about the nature of mind, scientific practice, and artificial intelligence. I have worked extensively on the ways in which mathematical and computational models are used to deliver mechanistic explanations in cognitive science and neuroscience. I have also explored the embodied and situated nature of cognition, as well as the possibility, nature, and explainability of artificial intelligence.

In addition to my research, I perform various advisory roles with respect to the methodological and normative constraints on artificial intelligence, especially as they concern the comprehensibility of machine learning technologies.

You can find more information about me on Google Scholar, PhilPapers, and Publons.





Principal Investigator (with Jens Harbecke, Witten/Herdecke Universität), April 2019 - March 2022
Model-Development in Neuroscience: Simplicity and Generalizability in Mechanistic Explanations
DFG Sachbeihilfe (€300,000)
The aim of this project is to investigate the ways in which criteria of simplicity and generalizability are applied in the development of mechanistic explanations in neuroscience. It funds one PhD position in Magdeburg, as well as a student assistant and a partial replacement of Jens Harbecke's position in Witten.


Consortium member, May 2018 - March 2019
Artificial Intelligence - Quality Requirements and Life Cycle Management for AI Modules
DIN SPEC (PAS) 92001
This consortium of industry and university representatives works under the guidance of the German Standardization Agency (DIN) to specify norms and practices for the development of artificial intelligence software. My own contribution focuses on questions of the comprehensibility of machine learning technologies. See the project website.


Principal Investigator, September 2017 - December 2018
Models of Mechanisms in Computational Neuroscience
DFG Internationale Kooperationsanbahnung (€18,000)
The aim of this project is to foster collaboration and initiate joint projects between researchers in Magdeburg, Witten, and Warsaw who work on the norms and practices of mechanistic explanation in computational neuroscience. It funds a series of workshops and research visits.


forthcoming
[machine learning]
Zednik, C. Vom Maschinellen Lernen zur Maschinellen Intelligenz.
Philosophisches Handbuch der Künstlichen Intelligenz. Herausgegeben von K. Mainzer. Springer.

Chapter


in press
[Bayes]
Zednik, C. & Jäkel, F. Descending Marr's Levels: Standard Observers are no Panacea.
Behavioral and Brain Sciences (commentary on target article by D. Rahnev & R.N. Denison).

Article

Preprint

2018
[mechanisms] [networks]
Zednik, C. Models and Mechanisms in Network Neuroscience.
Philosophical Psychology. DOI: 10.1080/09515089.2018.1512090

Article

Preprint

2018
[Bayes] [networks]
Zednik, C. Computational Cognitive Neuroscience.
The Routledge Handbook of the Computational Mind (pp. 357-369). Edited by M. Colombo & M. Sprevak. London: Routledge.

Chapter

Preprint

2018
[machine learning]
Zednik, C. Will machine learning yield machine intelligence?
Philosophy and Theory of Artificial Intelligence III (pp. 225-227). Edited by V. Müller. Berlin: SAPERE Springer.

Proceedings

Preprint

2017
[Marr] [mechanisms]
Zednik, C. Mechanisms in Cognitive Science.
The Routledge Handbook of Mechanisms and Mechanical Philosophy (pp. 389-400). Edited by S. Glennan & P. Illari. London: Routledge.

Chapter

Preprint

2017
[Bayes]
Fink, S.B. & Zednik, C. Meeting in the Dark Room: Bayesian Rational Analysis and Hierarchical Predictive Coding.
Philosophy and Predictive Processing. Edited by T. Metzinger & W. Wiese. Frankfurt am Main: MIND Group.

Chapter OA

2016
[Bayes] [Marr]
Zednik, C. & Jäkel, F. Bayesian reverse-engineering considered as a research strategy for cognitive science.
Synthese 193: 3951-3985.

Article

Preprint

2015
[dynamics] [mechanisms] [networks]
Zednik, C. Heuristics, Descriptions, and the Scope of Mechanistic Explanation.
Explanation in Biology: An Enquiry into the Diversity of Explanatory Patterns in the Life Sciences (pp. 295-318). Edited by C. Malaterre & P-A. Braillard. Dordrecht: Springer.

Chapter

Preprint

2014
[mechanisms] [networks]
Zednik, C. Are Systems Neuroscience Explanations Mechanistic?
Preprint volume for Philosophy Science Association 24th Biennial Meeting. Chicago, IL: Philosophy of Science Association.

Proceedings OA

2014
[embodiment]
Landy, D., Allen, C. & Zednik, C. A perceptual account of symbolic reasoning.
Frontiers in Psychology 5(275): doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00275.

Article OA

2014
[Bayes] [Marr]
Zednik, C. & Jäkel, F. How does Bayesian reverse-engineering work?
Proceedings of the 36th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 666-671). Edited by P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Proceedings OA

2011
[dynamics] [mechanisms]
Zednik, C. The Nature of Dynamical Explanation.
Philosophy of Science 78(2): 238-263.

Article

Preprint

2010
[embodiment]
Spivey, M., Richardson, D. & Zednik, C. Language is spatial, not special: Using space for language and memory.
Spatial Foundations of Cognition and Language (pp. 16-40). Edited by L. Smith, K. Mix, & M. Gasser. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chapter

2009
[dynamics] [mechanisms]
Zednik, C. The Varieties of Dynamicism.
Proceedings of the 31st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2298-2303). Edited by N.A. Taatgen & H. van Rijn. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Proceedings OA

2008
[dynamics] [mechanisms]
Zednik, C. Dynamical Models & Mechanistic Explanations.
Proceedings of the 30th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1454-1459). Edited by B.C. Love, K. McRae, & V.M. Sloutsky. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Proceedings OA
Upcoming Talks
Nov 2018 Stuttgart Opacity, Marr, and the Norms of Explainable AI Workshop SAS 2018: Epistemic opacity in computer simulation and machine learning

Previous Talks
Oct 2018 Magdeburg Vom maschinellen Lernen zur maschinellen Intelligenz Colloquium Themenabend der evangelischen Studierendengemeinschaft
Oct 2018 Prague The Black Box Problem and the Norms of Explainable AI Workshop Machine Learning and Explanation in Cognitive Science
Sep 2018 Köln Will machine learning produce machine intelligence? Conference 10. Kongress der Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie
Jun 2018 Warsaw From Machine Learning to Machine Intelligence Conference International Association for Computing and Philosophy 2018
Jun 2018 Magdeburg Künstliche Intelligenz als Evolutionsstufe: Übermenschlich oder doch menschenähnlich? Colloquium Ringvorlesung "Von Hominiden zu Humanoiden"
Apr 2018 Edinburgh From Machine Learning to Machine Intelligence Colloquium Mind Network Meeting
Nov 2017 Leeds From Machine Learning to Machine Intelligence (Poster) Conference Philosophy and Theory of Artificial Intelligence 2017
Oct 2017 Witten Mechanistic Explanation in Network Neuroscience: A Reply to Objections Workshop Models of Mechanisms in Computational Neuroscience
Jun 2017 Magdeburg Explanation in cognitive science: Marr and mechanisms Colloquium Magdeburg-Augustana Neurophilosophy Summer School
Apr 2017 Dubrovnik Mechanistic Explanation in Systems Neuroscience: A Reply to Objections Conference Annual Philosophy of Science Conference
Jun 2016 Warsaw Explanation in cognitive science: Marr and mechanisms Workshop Mechanistic Integration and Unification in Cognitive Science
Mar 2016 Düsseldorf Viewing Marr as a Mechanist Conference 2. Kongress der Gesellschaft für Wissenschaftsphilosophie
Jan 2016 Witten Models and Mechanisms in Systems Neuroscience Colloquium Philosophy of Science Colloquium
Oct 2015 Magdeburg Systems Neuroscience: Models and Mechanisms Colloquium Philosophisches Institutskolloquium
Nov 2014 Chicago, IL Are explanations in systems neuroscience mechanistic? Conference Philosophy of Science Association 24th Biennial Meeting
Oct 2014 Berlin Bayesian reverse-engineering considered as a research strategy in cognitive science Colloquium Current Issues Seminar, Berlin School of Mind and Brain
Sep 2014 Köln Systems, networks, and mechanistic explanations in neuroscience Workshop Causality and Complexity in the Sciences
Jul 2014 Quebec City How does Bayesian reverse-engineering work? Conference 36th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
May 2014 Leiden Panel discussion: The computational and physical realizability of probabilistic minds and brains Workshop Perspectives on Human Probabilistic Inference
May 2014 Leiden How does Bayesian reverse-engineering work? Workshop Perspectives on Human Probabilistic Inference
Dec 2013 Bochum Mechanistic explanation in cognitive science: Top-down and bottom-up Colloquium Philosophy meets Cognitive Science
Aug 2013 Helsinki Are explanations in network neuroscience mechanistic? Conference 4th Meeting of the European Philosophy of Science Association.
Aug 2013 Berlin Bayesian modeling and heuristic strategies for model-development Conference 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Symposium: Constraints on Bayesian Explanation
Jul 2013 Cortina d'Ampezzo The role of Bayesian rational analysis in cognitive scientific explanation Conference 12th Annual Summer Interdisciplinary Conference
May 2013 Magdeburg Mathematics and Mechanistic Explanations of Mind Colloquium Philosophisches Institutskolloquium
Mar 2013 Hannover Heuristics of mechanism-discovery and the limits of mechanistic explanation Conference 1. Kongress der Gesellschaft für Wissenschaftsphilosophie
Mar 2013 Hannover Mechanistic explanation and cognitive science Conference Netzwerktagung der Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung
Dec 2012 Tilburg The heuristic and justificatory role of Bayesian task-analysis in mechanistic explanation Workshop Models & Mechanisms
Sep 2012 Konstanz From Extended Mechanisms to Extended Minds Conference 8. Kongress der Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie
Aug 2012 London Marr's Levels and Mechanistic Explanation: Why ask Why? Conference 20th Annual Conference of the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology
Jun 2012 Osnabrück Dynamical Systems Theory as a Conceptual Framework for Affective Science Workshop Giovanna Colombetti's "The Feeling Body: Affective Science meets the Enactive Mind"
Oct 2011 Osnabrück Cognitive Science and the Changing Face of Mechanistic Explanation Colloquium Kolloquium des Instituts für Kognitionswissenschaft
Jul 2011 Montreal Cognitive Mechanisms: Soft-assembled, complex, and large Conference 37th Annual Meeting of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology
Apr 2011 Bloomington The Changing Face of Mechanistic Explanation (Poster) Colloquium 2011 IGERT Research Showcase
Jan 2011 Wien Complex Systems & Mechanistic Explanation Colloquium Jour fixe: Simulation komplexer Systeme
Aug 2010 Bochum Mental Mechanisms & the Extended Mind Conference 18th Annual Conference of the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology
Apr 2010 Bloomington Situated, Embodied, Dynamical Mechanisms (Poster) Colloquium 2010 IGERT Research Showcase
Dec 2009 Bloomington The Nature of Dynamical Explanation Colloquium Indiana University Cognitive Lunch Series
Jul 2009 Amsterdam The Varieties of Dynamicism Conference 31st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
Jun 2009 Bloomington The Varieties of Dynamicism Conference 35th Annual Meeting of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology
Jul 2008 Washington Dynamical Models & Mechanistic Explanations (Poster) Conference 30th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
Jul 2008 Bloomington Computation & Dynamics: Alternative frameworks for describing mental mechanisms? Conference North American Conference on Computing and Philosophy
Jun 2008 Philadelphia Dynamical Models & Mechanistic Explanations Conference 34th Annual Meeting of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology
2018.II Magdeburg Philosophy and Ethics of Science Lecture, 50 participants [phil sci]
2018.II Magdeburg Fortgeschrittene Philosophie der Künstlichen Intelligenz BA Seminar, 20 participants [phil ai]
2018.I Magdeburg Die Philosophie Wilfrid Sellars' BA Seminar, 15 participants [early analytic]
2017.II Magdeburg Wittgenstein: Philosophische Untersuchungen MA Seminar, 15 participants [early analytic]
2017.II Magdeburg Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence BA Seminar, 25 participants [phil ai]
2017.I Magdeburg Die Kunst des Argumentierens BA Seminar, 15 participants [logic]
2017.I Magdeburg Explaining Perceptual Choice MA Seminar, 15 participants [interdisciplinary]
2016.II Magdeburg Zentrale Theorien und Paradigmen der Kognitiven Neurowissenschaften MA Seminar, 15 participants [interdisciplinary]
2016.II Magdeburg Die neuronale Implementierung von Rechenprozessen BA Seminar, 30 participants [phil cog sci]
2016.I Magdeburg Sensomotorik und Kognition BA Seminar, 30 participants [phil cog sci]
2016.I Magdeburg Does Psychology Reduce to Neuroscience? BA Seminar, 25 participants [phil sci]
2016.I Magdeburg Der britische Empirismus BA Seminar, 35 participants [history]
2015.II Magdeburg Können Maschinen Denken? BA Seminar, 30 participants [phil ai]
2015.II Magdeburg Descartes BA Seminar, 40 participants [history]
2015.I Osnabrück Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind Lecture, 130 participants [phil mind]
2015.I Osnabrück Gilbert Ryle's "The Concept of Mind" MA Seminar, 5 participants [early analytic]
2015.I Osnabrück Explanation in Cognitive Science II MA Seminar, 15 participants [interdisciplinary]
2014.II Osnabrück Foundations of Logic Lecture, 150 participants [logic]
2014.II Osnabrück Explanation in Cognitive Science Lecture Lecture, 40 participants [phil sci]
2014.II Osnabrück Explanation in Cognitive Science I MA Seminar, 15 participants [interdisciplinary]
2012.I Osnabrück Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind BA Seminar, 20 participants (x2) [phil mind]
2009.II Indiana Philosophical Foundations of Cognitive Science Lecture, 25 participants [phil cog sci]
2009.I Indiana Philosophical Foundations of Cognitive Science Lecture, 25 participants [phil cog sci]
2008.II Indiana Philosophical Foundations of Cognitive Science BA Seminar, 25 participants [phil cog sci]
2008.I Indiana Philosophical Foundations of Cognitive Science BA Seminar, 25 participants [phil cog sci]
2007.II Indiana Thinking & Reasoning BA Seminar, 25 participants (x2) [logic]