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May 4: Richard Scheines Reappointed Head of Carnegie Mellon's Philosophy Department


Shilo Raube             

Richard Scheines Reappointed Head of
Carnegie Mellon's Philosophy Department

scheinesPITTSBURGH—Philosophy Professor Richard Scheines has been reappointed head of Carnegie Mellon's Department of Philosophy, a position he has held since 2005.
"The Carnegie Mellon Philosophy Department stands out from its peers because its focus is on research that directly impacts other fields such as computer science, math, statistics and psychology," said John Lehoczky, dean of the university's College of Humanities and Social Sciences. "Under Richard's outstanding leadership, the department has further established its niche, strengthened its international reputation and attracted the highest quality students. I look forward to continue working with him to ensure that philosophy will be a premier department for many years to come."
Scheines has been on the Carnegie Mellon faculty since 1990 and has additional appointments in the Machine Learning Department and Human-Computer Interaction Institute. His research focuses on causal discovery, the philosophy of social science and educational technology and online courses. He recently served on two committees for the National Academies of Science, Institute of Medicine, which resulted in two books: "Improving the Presumptive Disability Decision-Making Process For Veterans" and "Food Marketing to Children and Youth: Threat or Opportunity."
"It's an exciting time for the department," Scheines said. "We've managed to retain and build a star-studded faculty and stay deeply involved in educational outreach and research. I like the department's collaborative atmosphere, and I like the balance we've struck between rigorous foundational work on classical philosophical problems and applied work on real world scientific and policy problems. The department is very unusual in the world of philosophy, but is classic Carnegie Mellon: highly interdisciplinary, rigorous and relevant outside traditional disciplinary boundaries. "
Notable achievements under Scheines' tenure as department head include establishing the Patrick Suppes Chair (now held by Wilfried Sieg), working with the Department of History to upgrade the Ethics, History and Public Policy major, re-focusing the Center for the Advancement of Applied Ethics and Political Philosophy into more of a research center and creating a new Center for Formal Epistemology that will open on June 26.
"I'm honored to serve a second term as department head," Scheines said.  "I'd like to see the ethics center expand into a world-class entity in applied ethics, do more to bring educational research into every day teaching, and broaden and expand the graduate program."
For the first year of his second term, Scheines will be on sabbatical working to establish an online repository and edit a book on scientific case studies that involve automated search for causal hypotheses. Peter Spirtes, professor of philosophy and associate department head, will serve as acting department head.

Pictured above is Richard Scheines, head of Carnegie Mellon's Department of Philosophy.