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Dr David Corfield

Senior Lecturer in Philosophy


Office: CGA N04C


David Corfield works in the philosophy of science and mathematics. His interests range from probability theory and physics to psychology and medicine, and he looks both to formal methods and historical narrative to understand disciplinary rationality. He is a director of the Centre for Reasoning here at Kent. He is also one of the three owners of the blog The n-category Café where the implications for philosophy, mathematical and physical of the exciting new language of higher-dimensional category theory are discussed.

In 2007 he published a book – Why Do People Get Ill? – with Darian Leader, which aims to revive interest in the psychosomatic approach to medicine. He intends to carry out further work in the philosophy of medicine.

Before coming to Kent, he spent two and a half years as the ‘philosopher in residence’ with the Empirical Inference Group of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen. There he worked with machine learning researchers on the use of non-parametric models, and the representation of background knowledge.

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  • 2007, with Darian Leader, Why do people get ill?, Hamish Hamilton.
  • 2003, Towards a Philosophy of Real Mathematics, Cambridge University Press.
  • 2001, with Jon Williamson (eds.) Foundations of Bayesianism. Kluwer Applied Logic Series.

Articles and chapters

  • 2010, Understanding the Infinite I: Niceness, Robustness, and Realism, Philosophia Mathematica 18(3), 253-275
  • 2010, Varieties of Justification in Machine Learning, Minds and Machines, Volume 20, Number 2, 291-301.
  • 2009, with B. Schölkopf and V. Vapnik, Falsificationism and Statistical Learning Theory: Comparing the Popper and Vapnik-Chervonenkis Dimensions, Journal for General Philosophy of Science 40(1), 51-58.
  • 2009, Projection and Projectability in J. Candela et al. (eds.) Dataset Shift in Machine Learning, MIT Press, pp. 29-38.
  • 2005, ‘Categorification as a Heuristic Device’, in D. Gillies and C. Cellucci (eds.) Mathematical Reasoning and Heuristics, King's College Publications.
  • 2002, ‘From Mathematics to Psychology: Lacan's missed encounters’ in J. Glynos and Y. Stavrakakis (eds.) Lacan and Science, Karnac Books, 179–206.
  • 2002, ‘Argumentation and the Mathematical Process’, in G. Kampis, L. Kvasz & M. Stöltzner (eds.) Appraising Lakatos: Mathematics, Methodology, and the Man, 115–138. Kluwer, Dordrecht.
  • 2001 ‘The Importance of Mathematical Conceptualisation’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 32(3), 507-533.
  • 2001, ‘Bayesianism in Mathematics’, in Corfield D. and Williamson J. (eds.) Foundations of Bayesianism. Kluwer Applied Logic Series, 175-201.
  • 1998 ‘Beyond the Methodology of Mathematical Research Programmes’, Philosophia Mathematica 6, 272-301.
  • 1997 ‘Assaying Lakatos’s Philosophy of Mathematics’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 28(1), 99-121.
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Philosophy, School of European Culture and Languages, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 827159 or email Philosophy

Last Updated: 19/12/2013