Dr Christopher Clarke is a Senior Research Associate at CRASSH and the Principal Investigator on the ERC-funded project “Qualitative and Quantitative Social Science: Unifying the Logic of Causal Inference?

Dr Clarke is also an Assistant Professor at the Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics, Faculty of Philosophy (Erasmus University of Rotterdam).

At CRASSH, Christopher is working with the ‘Quality’ project to explore the roles that social scientists can play in constructing good public policy. Through studying the unique relationship between social science researchers and policymakers, it has become evident that it is currently unclear how to weigh up the evidence from multiple qualitative studies, either on their own or together with quantitative studies- particularly if the studies seem to contradict. This poses a momentous problem: it exposes one’s causal judgements to an increased risk of error, as it does any policies based upon these judgements.

His work at CRASSH brings together new work in epistemology with the expertise of leading social scientists. It will analyse some prominent qualitative studies in sociology and political science, and it will contrast them with some prominent quantitative studies based on econometrics.


‘A Science of Human Nature? Philosophical Disputes at the Interface of Natural and Social Science’

Christopher has previously worked at the University of Cambridge in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science. He was a Postdoctoral Research Associate on the ERC-funded A Science of Human Nature? Philosophical Disputes at the Interface of Natural and Social Science project, led by Prof. Tim Lewens, working to uncover and understand the philosophical foundations of disputes between natural scientists and social scientists working on theories of social and cultural evolution, to propose resolutions, and ultimately to point the way towards a reconciliation of the two domains.

Doctoral Research

Christopher was a graduate student at the University of Bristol, where he was part of the AHRC “Evolution Cooperation and Rationality” project led by Prof. Samir Okasha and Prof. Ken Binmore

His doctoral thesis examined the role of psychology in economic models, with a particular focus on the question of whether utility value is to be interpreted psychologically or behaviourally. His work explored how this question related to issues concerning the aims of economics, the evidential support for economic models, and pluralism about the interpretation of models.

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • Christopher Clarke, ‘Functionalism and the role of psychology in economics’, Journal of Economic Methodology 27, 4 (July 2020): pp. 292-310.
  • Christopher Clarke, ‘The Correlation Argument for Reductionism’, Philosophy of Science 86, 1 (2019): pp. 76-97.
  • Christopher Clarke, ‘How to Define Levels of Explanation and Evaluate Their Indispensability’, Synthese 194, 6 (2017): pp. 2211-2231.
  • Christopher Clarke, ‘Multi-Level Selection and the Explanatory Value of Mathematical Decompositions’, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67, 4 (2016): pp. 1025-1055.
  • Christopher Clarke, ‘The Explanatory Virtue of Abstracting Away from Idiosyncratic and Messy Detail’, Philosophical Studies 173, 6 (2016): pp. 1429-1449.
  • Christopher Clarke, ‘Preferences and Positivist Methodology in Economics’ Philosophy of Science 83, 2 (2016): pp. 192-212.
  • Christopher Clarke, ‘Neuroeconomics and Confirmation Theory’ Philosophy of Science 81, 2 (2014): pp. 195-215.

Review Articles

Selected Talks

  • ‘Against Causal-Explanatory Kinds’, Cambridge Philosophy of Science Seminar Series, CamPoS, University of Cambridge (March 2015).
  • ‘Beyond Invariance: How Psychology Deepens Social Science Understanding’, Joint Conference of the European Network for the Philosophy of the Social Sciences and the Philosophy of Social Science Roundtable, University of Venice Ca’ Foscari (September 2013).
  • ‘Methodological Individualism and Group Selection’, International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science 2013, Montpellier (July 2013).
  • ‘Why Prefer Explanations at Diverse Levels?’, Departmental Seminar, University of Bristol (May 2013).
  • ‘Why Prefer Explanations at Diverse Levels?’, Serious Metaphysics Group, University of Cambridge (May 2013).
  • ‘Methodological Individualism Defended’, Cambridge Philosophy of Science Seminar Series, CamPoS, University of Cambridge, (March 2013).


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk