University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Spring Term 2006
Unification and the Holistic Nature of Scientific Evidence
Even though Malcolm was born and raised in New Zealand,
he has left much of that behind, except for the twang and an undying
interest in mountaineering and squash racquets. After leaving New
Zealand in 1978, he lived in Poland, Canada, and Australia, before
coming to the United States in 1987. He has been in the Department
of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since that
time. As a student of mathematics in the seventies, he underwent
a conversion to philosophy thanks to the positive influence of Alan
Musgrave and Pavel Tichý at the University of Otago, coupled
with a curiosity about intellectual problems that are not well posed.
Interested mainly in philosophy of physics at the time, he completed
a Ph.D. dissertation on probabilistic causality and quantum mechanics
at the University of Western Ontario in 1984. Since then, he has
traveled almost everywhere in philosophy of science, enjoying forays
in phylogenetic inference, the philosophy of statistics, connectionist
networks, simplicity and unification in the methodology of science,
William Whewell’s philosophy of science, and cognitive science.
And he is even thinking about the foundations of physics again,
thanks to his association with Alexey Kryukov.
3 August 2010
Malcolm Forster is now living in China as a result of his meeting another fellow, Wang Wei of Tsinghua University, during their stay at the Center in 2006. He plans to preach the Pittsburgh philosophy of science to unsuspecting PhD students at the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Tsinghua University, Beijing, for the next 18 months.