JProf. Dr. Lena Kästner

Curriculum Vitae

professional experience

since January 2019
junior professor (W1) in Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Systems at Department of Philosophy, Saarland University, Germany

May – June 2019
visiting scholar at Australian National University, Canberra, Australia 
host: Colin Klein

October 2017 – December 2018
assistant professor (wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin) in Philosophy at Department of Philosophy II, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany

April 2014 – September 2017
assistant professor (wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin) in Philosophy at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Germany

June 2013
visiting scholar at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, USA
host: Carl Craver

April – June 2013
visiting scholar at University of California San Diego, CA, USA
host: William Bechtel

June 2012
research scholar at DCAL, University College London, London, UK,
hosts: Velia Cardin & Bencie Woll

October 2010 – March 2014
research assistant at Department of Philosophy II, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany
group leader: Albert Newen

September 2009 – December 2019
member of research project “Sights and Signs – Processing Visual Language and Non-Language”, Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL), London, UK
PIs: Bencie Woll & Mary Rudner (Linköping, Sweden)

August – December 2008
visiting scholar at Washington University in St. Louis;
Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology program, host: José Bermúdez 

education

September 2014
PhD in Philosophy (grade: summa cum laude), Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany
dissertation title: Philosophy of Cognitive Neuroscience: Causal Explanations, Mechanisms & Empirical Manipulations
supervision: Albert Newen (Bochum), Carl Craver (St. Louis)

My dissertation is about scientific explanations. I focus on how cognitive neuroscientists explain phenomena such as memory and language processing. While I am generally sympathetic to the view that scientists search for the neural mechanisms underlying these phenomena, and that they do so by employing systematic interventions, I argue, that the mechanist-interventionist picture suffers from conceptual challenges. I suggest a way to meet these, but even so the picture remains incomplete. There is much more to experimental manipulations than interventions into some factor X with respect to another factor Y. Examining cases from experimental research practice I distinguish intervention-based from other experimental strategies. This work provides the starting point for a new era in philosophy of science taking experimental practice at face value.

November 2010
MSc. in Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, UK
dissertation title: The What and Where of Sign Language
supervision: Eleni Orfanidou (DCAL, London), Bencie Woll (DCAL, London)

September 2009
BSc. in Cognitive Science, University of Osnabrück, Germany
dissertation title: What is Cognition?
supervision: Sven Walter (Osnabrück), Carl Craver (St. Louis)