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College of Arts and Sciences

Faculty and Staff

Tarja Knuuttila

Title: Assoc. Professor
Department: Philosophy
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-4166
Office: Byrnes 423
Resources: Department of Philosophy



2010 Title of Docent (Habilitation), Theoretical Philosophy, University of Helsinki

2005 Doctor of Philosophy, Ph.D., Department of Philosophy, Theoretical Philosophy, University of Helsinki.

2001 Master of Social Sciences, M.Soc.Sc., Social and Moral Philosophy, University of Helsinki

1991 Master of Economic Sciences, M.Sc. (Econ.), Economics, Helsinki School of Economics


Research Interests 

General Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of the Special Sciences, Interdisciplinary Research, Science and Technology Studies.

I am studying scientific representation, modelling and scientific inference, with a special emphasis on synthetic biology, economics, and interdisclipinary relations between different scientific disciplines. Although the philosophical questions I am interested in are general, my approach is geared towards contemporary science, and practice-oriented in nature. In particular, I combine philosophical analysis with historical and empirical case studies, often in collaboration with scientists, or scholars from history and sociology of science. In addition to synthetic biology and economics, I have been working on language technology, and engineering sciences more generally, and also on commercialization of scientific research. One of my areas of expertise lies in science and technology studies - I served as an Editor-in-Chief of Science & Technology Studies.


Knuuttila, Tarja and Andrea Loettgers (in press, 2016): “Modelling as Indirect Representation? The Lotka-Volterra Model Revisited.” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.

Knuuttila, Tarja and Andrea Loettgers (2014). “Magnets, Spins, and Neurons: The Dissemination of Model Templates across Disciplines.” The Monist 97: 280–300.

Knuuttila, Tarja (2014). “Reflexivity, Representation, and the Possibility of Constructivist Realism”, in Maria Carla Galavotti, Stephan Hartmann, Marcel Weber, Wenceslao Gonzalez, Dennis Dieks, and Thomas Uebel: New Directions in the Philosophy of Science. Dordrecht: Springer, 297-312.

Knuuttila, Tarja and Andrea Loettgers (2013). “Synthetic Modeling and the Mechanistic Account: Material Recombination and Beyond.” Philosophy of Science 80: 874–885.

Knuuttila, Tarja and Andrea Loettgers (2013). “Basic Science through Engineering: Synthetic Modeling and the Idea of Biology-inspired Engineering.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44: 158–169.

Knuuttila, Tarja (2012). “Contradictions of Commercialization: Revealing the Norms of Science?” Philosophy of Science 79: 833–844.

Morgan, Mary S. and Tarja Knuuttila (2012). “Models and Modelling in Economics”, in Uskali Mäki (ed.) Philosophy of Economics, Handbook of the Philosophy of Science (general editors Dov M. Gabbay, Paul Thagard, and John Woods) Elsevier Science, 49–87.

Knuuttila, Tarja (2011). “Modeling and Representing: An Artefactual Approach.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42: 262–271.