Watson Lecture Preview: Frederick Eberhardt

What causes what? If correlation does not equal causation, then how can we untangle the “why” behind processes that regulate the brain, the climate, or the economy? And how does this apply to the development of artificial intelligences (AIs)?

In his lecture on Wednesday, October 16, Caltech professor of philosophy Frederick Eberhardt will begin with a tour of the philosophical foundations of causality and end with the discovery of neural connections in the brains of zebrafish larvae.

Before coming to Caltech, Eberhardt was an assistant professor in the Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology (PNP) program in the Department of Philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis. Eberhardt is interested in the formal aspects of the philosophy of science, machine learning in statistics and computer science, and learning and modeling in psychology and cognitive science.

His work has focused primarily on methods of causal discovery from statistical data, the use of experiments in causal discovery, the integration of causal inferences from different data sets, and the philosophical issues at the foundations of causality and probability.

The lecture, which will be held at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 16, in Beckman Auditorium, is a free event; online registration is requested. Please register to attend via the calendar page.

Named for the late Caltech professor Earnest C. Watson, who founded the series in 1922, the Watson Lectures present Caltech and JPL researchers describing their work to the public. Many past Watson Lectures are available online at Caltech's YouTube site.