About me

I am Veli Virmajoki, a philosopher of science and historiography. In 2019, I finishd my PhD with a dissertation on causal and counterfactual thinking in historiography of science. My aim is to understand science as a human practice that is embedded in a wider order of things – societies, cultures and nature.  My aim is to develop conceptual tools that enable us to answer science-related questions from different perspectives. Rather than solving philosophical problems, I attempt to understand how those problems can be approached – even from different starting points. The tools I develop are meant to be useful independently of substantial views on the nature of science.

I have published on areas

  • Philosophy of Science: How to understand science historically
  • Philosophy of Historiography: Explanation and counterfactuals
  • Future of Science: How philosophy provides insights on possible futures of science

In addition to my future-oriented research, I am currently working on “Causal Explanation in Historiography” for the series Cambridge Elements in Historical Theory and Practice.

I am also one of the editors of a (hopefully soon forthcoming!) book (in Finnish) about history of knowledge.

Every now and then I reflect on the philosophical foundations of futures studies.

What do I believe:

Counterfactual thinking is essential to our historical understanding in many ways.

Understanding history and estimating the future are based on similar epistemology.

Philosophical theories are tools. They map possible ways of thinking. The value of a philosophical theory depends on its ability to clarify unclear issues and suggest new ways of thinking.

Actual world does not matter much. It only gets its value in relation to counterfactual worlds we habit mentally.

Methodological dogmatism: We should defend every position as far as we can, without being afraid of being right or wrong. In philosophy, we focus too much on whether we are ultimately right or wrong. A heroic fight is better than easy victory.