Yafeng WANG

Research Interests 

My current research mostly revolves around two sets of questions: How do (and should) investigators learn about events in the past, and how do (and should) they draw lessons from past events and use these lessons to guide future actions? One of my projects focuses on engineering failure investigations, and the philosophical questions I address include: How do investigators come up with a well-supported account of what happened in an engineering disaster? How do they infer causal relationships among failure events? Why are some recommendations based on the results of an investigation more effective than others in making the engineering system safer? Another project focuses on counterfactual and causal reasoning in history: Should historians use counterfactual reasoning explicitly in their research? Is it possible to reason counterfactually about a historical event (e.g., what could have been done to avoid the Great Recession) in a rigorous and empirically grounded way, and if so, how? 

In addition, I have research interests in the role of normative values in psychiatric research, ethics of engineering design, and algorithmic fairness.


Recent Publication 

Wang, Y. (2022). Feature Dependence: A method for reconstructing actual causes in engineering failure investigations. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 96, 100-111

Yafeng Wang CV.pdf