RESEARCH

My research interests:

  • Philosophy of Biology and Evolutionary Theory (e.g., evolution of cooperation; units of selection; altruism; adaptationism; cultural evolution)
  • Philosophy of Science (e.g., social structure of science; reductionism; climate change)
  • Philosophy of Mind and Action, Game Theory (e.g., theory of mind; animal cognition; social cognition; collective action)
  • Applied ethics (e.g., bioethics; environmental ethics; climate change)

PhD thesis (working title): Philosophy of Science at the Intersection of the Priority Rule, Replicability and Scientific Novelty (supervisor: TBA)
The main aim of my research within GRK 2073 Integrating Ethics and Epistemology of Scientific Research is to explore epistemological and ethical issues arising from the debates about the functional role of the priority rule in producing scientific novelty and its apparent detrimental impact on scientific integrity, including replication studies.
In recent years, there has been increasing concern about the priority rule driven competition among scientists and about the rise of a “publish or perish” culture, which seem to have detrimental effects on creativity, scientific objectivity and integrity. This is especially evident in the so-called replicability crisis. However, the priority rule also has valuable functions, as it encourages the production of novelty and ensures efficient allocation of resources among competing research projects. These issues prompted debates about the interaction between individual scientist’s egoistic interests and collective good. I will tackle these issues by using insights from the research of cultural and social evolution since science is undoubtedly a product of cumulative cultural evolution and scientists are undoubtedly social beings organized into social institutions and governed by social norms within their scientific environment. I will also consider the general structure of contemporary scientific practices since contemporary science is characterized by necessity of collaboration and high rate of team production, which seem to marginalize competitive drive.

Within the project Building a support system for young researchers at the University of Rijeka my research focused on the evolutionary approach to philosophy of science with emphasis on the role of cooperation and competition and their relationship in the development of science. According to Hull (1988), a social structure of science plays a crucial role in its development and progress. Scientists do not just analyze empirical facts. In attempt to maximize their fitness, scientists compete with one another in different ways but they also engage in cooperative behaviors. However, in the relationship between competition and cooperation, competition seems to be the driving force, that is, successful scientists are those who pursue their individual interests.
In my research, I emphasized the importance of cooperation for scientific progress.

Master thesis: Teorija uma u ne-ljudskih životinja [Theory of mind in non-human animals] (supervisor: Pavel Gregorić, DPhil)
Theory of mind is the ability to attribute mental states to oneself and others in order to predict and explain behavior. It is often regarded as an ability unique to humans. In my thesis I considered whether non-human animals have a theory of mind and can we reliably ascertain it. According to the behavior-reading hypothesis, animals predict behaviors of others by relying on their behavioral and environmental cues. According to the mindreading hypothesis, animals predict behaviors of others by relying on the understanding of others’ mental states. Recent discoveries suggest that chimpanzees can recognize some mental states of others, but they cannot recognize others’ false beliefs. Main problem of ongoing research is the possibility of interpreting results through behavioral terms. In my thesis I considered, through the perspective of philosophy of science, the attempts of reducing the plausibility of one of the hypotheses.