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Prof. Dr.

Nancy Cartwright

Year of election: 1999
Section: Epistemology
City: Durham, UK
Country: Great Britain
CV Nancy Cartwright - deutsch (pdf)
CV Nancy Cartwright - english (pdf)


Main interests: History and philosophy of science (especially physics and economics), Causal inference, Objectivity in science, Evidence, especially for evidence-based policy

Recently the philosopher Nancy Cartwright committed herself mainly to questions on objectivity and evidence, evidence-based policy in particular. The latter refers to public policy which is informed by objective evidence.

Since the publication of ‘How the Laws of Physics Lie’ (1983) Nancy Cartwright ranks among the most important philosophers of Science of our times. She is associated with the so-called “Stanford School”, a group of philosophers of science who repudiate the concept of the unity of science. Nancy Cartwright challenges the universal validity of the theoretical laws of physics.

Recently her main interest was on causal inference and objectivity and evidence, especially on evidence-based policy.


  • since 2012 Professor of Philosophy, University of Durham, GB
  • since 1998 Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, University of California at San Diego, USA
  • 1991-2012 Professor of  Philosophy, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • 1984 Visiting Professor of Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh
  • 1978 Visiting Professor of Philosophy, Princeton University
  • 1976 Visiting Associated Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Los Angeles
  • 1974 Visiting Assistant Professor, Cambridge University
  • 1973-1991 Assistant, then Full Professor of Philosophy, Stanford University
  • 1971-1973 Assistant, University of Maryland
  • 1971 Ph.D., University of Illinois, Chicago
  • 1966 Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, University of Pittsburgh


  • since 2009 Research grant, John Templeton Foundation ‘God’s Order, Man’s Order and the Order of Nature’
  • 2010-2012 Research grant, UK Arts and Humanities Research Council ‘Choices of Evidence: Tacit Philosophical Assumptions in the Debates within the Campbell Collaboration’
  • 2009-2011 Research grant ‘A Theory of Evidence for Use’, British Academy Research Development Award
  • 2007-2008 Research grant ‘Evidence for Use: Prolegomena to a Theory of Evidence-Based Education Policy’, Spencer Foundation
  • 2007 Research grant ‘Evidence for Use’, LSE Seed Fund
  • 2005-2009 Research grant ‘Contingency and Dissent in Science’, UK Arts and Humanities Research Board
  • 2004-2005 Research grant ‘Methods for Causal Inference: Status and Health’, British Academy
  • 2004-2005 Research grant ‘Biomedical Research: Towards a Well-Ordered Science’, Columbia-LSE Alliance Collaborative Research Fund
  • 2002-2005 Research grant ‘Causality’, Latsis Foundation
  • 2003-2004 Research grant ‘Causal Pluralism and Causal Inference, with Applications to Health and Status’, U.S. National Science Foundation
  • 2002-2004 Research grant ‘A Defence of Scientific Theories as Tools’, in Zusammenarbeit mit  Mauricio Suarez, New Del Amo Programme, UCSD/Universidad Compultense, Madrid
  • 2001-2004 Research grant ‘Causality: Metaphysics and Methods’, UK Arts and Humanities Research Board
  • 1999-2002 Research grant ‘Measurement in Physics and Economics’, Latsis Foundation
  • 1998-2000 Research grant ‘Causality in Economics’, Latsis Foundation
  • 1995-2004 Research grant ‘Philosophy in Economics’, A. K. Knight
  • 1995-1998 Co-Director Research grants ‘The Political Economy of the German Historical School’, History and Economics Centre, Cambridge University, Leverhulme
  • 1993-1999 Co-Director Research grants ‘Modelling in Physics and Economics’, Latsis Foundation
  • 1986-1987 Research grant ‘Causes and Capacities’, U.S. National Science Foundation
  • 1974-1975 Grant ‘Philosophical Analysis of Quantum Mechanics’, U.S. National Science Foundation


  • since 2012 Co-Director, Centre for Humanities Engaging Sciences and Society, University of Durham
  • 2009 Consultant to Consortium of Institutes of Advanced Study for the REF (Research Excellence Framework) ‘Measuring Research Impact: Special Problems’
  • 2008-2009 President, American Philosophical Association (Pacific Division)
  • 2007-2012 Member, Committee on Developing a Research Agenda for Social Science Evidence for Use, US National Research Council (National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC)
  • 2008-2010 President, Philosophy of Science Association
  • 2007 Member, Search Committee for a Senior Research Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford
  • 2006-2008 Director, London School of Economics, Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science
  • 2002-2003 Vice-President, British Association for the Advancement of Science
  • 2001-2006 Chair, Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science, London School of Economics
  • 2001-2002 President, History of Science Section, British Association for the Advancement of Science
  • 1998 Member, Advisory Board of the Alternative Natural Philosophy Association
  • 1997 Member, Ad Hoc Appointments Committee, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
  • 1993-2001 Director, London School of Economics, Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science
  • 1993-1997 Member, Wissenschaftlicher Rat des Centre for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF), Bielefeld, Germany
  • 1991 Member, Lakatos Award Committee, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • 1991-1996 Member, Beratungsausschuss Institute for Advanced Study, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
  • 1991 Member, Advisory Board, Centre for History and Economics, Cambridge
  • 1988-1990 Chair, Philosophy Department, Stanford University
  • 1989-1990 Member, National Science Foundation Oversight Committee for History and Philosophy of Science
  • 1986-1987 President, American Association of University Professors, Stanford Chapter
  • 1985-1987 Member, National Science Foundation Award Panel, History & Philosophy of Science
  • 1985 President, Society for Exact Philosophy

Honours and Memberships

  • 2014 Tsing Hua Honorary Chair, University of Taiwan
  • 2013 Honorary Degree, University of St. Andrews
  • 2012 Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, honors causa, awarded by Southern Methodist University, Dallas TX
  • 2011 Member, Doctorate School in Philosophy of the Universita Ca’ Foscari, Venice
  • 2009 Chancellor’s Associates Faculty Excellence Award for Excellence in Research in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of California at San Diego
  • 2007 Titular Member, Académie Internationale de Philosophie des Sciences (A.I.P.S.)
  • 2007 Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study, Durham  University
  • 2005 Senior Visiting Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Bologna
  • 2004 Fellow, American Philosophical Society
  • 2002-2014 Associate Member, Nuffield College, Oxford
  • 2001 Foreign Honorary Member, American Academy of Arts and Science
  • since 1999 Member, German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • 1996 Fellow, British Academy
  • 1996 Old Dominion Fellow, Philosophy, Princeton University
  • 1995-2001 Long-term Member of Common Room, Wolfson College, Oxford
  • 1993-1998 Fellow, MacArthur Foundation
  • 1987-1988 Fellow, Wissenschaftskolleg (Institute for Advanced Study), Berlin
  • 1984 Fellow, Philosophy of Science Center, University of Pittsburgh
  • 1982-1983 Fellow, ZiF (Center for Interdisciplinary Research), Bielefeld, Germany
  • 1976-1977 Fellow, Philosophy of Science Centre, University of Pittsburgh
  • 1971-1972 Postdoctoral Fellow, U.S. National Science Foundation, Cambridge University




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