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ETH Zurich ›› Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences ›› Chair for philosophy ›› people ›› Karim Bschir

Karim Bschir
Karim Bschir

Professur für Philosophie
Clausiusstrasse 49
CH-8092 Zürich

Tel: 0041-44-632-7180

Fax: 0041-44-632-1048


After finishing his undergraduate studies in biochemistry and philosophy at the University of Zurich, Karim Bschir obtained a PhD in philosophy of science at the ETH in 2011. Karim held visiting research positions at the London School of Economics, the Leibniz University in Hannover, and the University Roma Tre. He is also affiliated with the Collegium Helveticum and an affiliated research fellow at the Center for Philosophy and the Natural Sciences at California State University Sacramento. From September to December 2014, he was a visiting fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. His current research focuses on the philosophical implications of scientific uncertainty, and is supported by Society in Science – The Branco Weiss Fellowship.


Realism and Scientific Practice (finished)

The Concept of Potentiality in Natural Philosophy (finished)

Uncertainty in Science



Wissenschaft und Realität – Versuch eines pragmatischen Empirismus, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, 2012.
Review NZZ

Review Theologische Literaturzeitung 139 (2014), 1361-1363.

journal articles

“Risk, Uncertainty and Precaution in Science: The Case of the Threshold of Toxicological Concern Approach in Food Toxicology” (under review).

“Feyerabend and Popper on Theory Proliferation and Anomaly Import: On the Compatibility of Theoretical Pluralism and Critical Rationalism”. The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science HOPOS, 2015.

“Realism, Empiricism and Ontological Relativity” (to appear in the Proccedings of the SILFS Triennial Conference 2014).

Pahlich S, Bschir K, Chiavi C, et al. “Different Methylation Characteristics of Protein Arginine Methyltransferase 1 and 3 Toward the Ewing Sarcoma Protein and a Peptide”. Proteins 61 (1): 164-175, 2005.

contributions in edited volumes

“Potentiality in Natural Philosophy”. In: T. E. Eastman, M. Epperson, and D. R. Griffin (eds). Physics and Speculative Philosophy: Potentiality in Modern Science. De Gruyter: Berlin (2016).

“Free Will From a Grammatical Perspective”. In: Abstract – Ideas, Facts, Fictions, published by W.I.R.E hink Tank of Bank Sarasin & Co. Ltd and Collegium Helveticum, Volume 3, 2010. Republished in German in: S. Achermann, S. Sigrist, B. Varnholt, M. Wannaz, G. Folkers (eds.). Was zählt – 2013. Suhrkamp, Berlin 2012 (in German).

“Transient or Fundamental? The Code Metaphor in Molecular Biology”. In: A. Gleiniger, G. Vrachliotis (eds.). Code – Between Operation and Narration. Birkhäuser, Lepizig, 2010.

encyclopedia entries

„Dialectics“, „Eristics“, „Elenctics“, „Classification“. In: Stefan Schierholz & Herbert Ernst Wiegand (Eds.), Wörterbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft, (in press).

“Teleology”. In: Enzyklopädie Philosophie, Meiner, Hamburg, 2010 (together with Michael Hampe).

review articles

Hoyningen-Huene, Systematicity, The Nature of Science. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 2014.

Harrison et al. Wrestling with Nature – From Omens to Science. In: Annals of Science, 2012.

Stengers, Isabelle. Cosmopolitics I. In: Annals of Science, 2011.

Chalmers, Alan. The Scientist’s Atom and the Philosopher’s Stone – How Science Succeeded and Philosophy Failed to Gain Knowledge of Atoms. In: Annals of Science, 2011.

Boi, Luciano. Symétries, brisures de symétries et complexité. In: Bibliographie de la philosophie, 2007 (in German).

Siggen, Michel. L'expérience chez Aristote. In: Bibliographie de la philosophie, 2006 (in German).


“Reality as a Relational Property: The Story of G-Protein Coupled Receptors.” 5th Conference of the European Philosophy of Science Association, Düsseldorf, September 2015. (co-authored paper with Ann-Sophie Barwich).

“Feyerabend and Popper on Theory Proliferation and Anomaly Import.” Symposium contribution for the 15th Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science, Helsinki, August 2015.

 “Precaution in Scientific Model Building: The Case of the Threshold of Toxicological Concern Approach in Food Toxicology.” 5th Biennial Conference of the Society for Philosophy of Science in Practice (SPSP), Aarhus, Denmark, June 2015.

“Realism, Empiricism, and Ontological Relativity: A Happy Ménage à Trois?” Kolloquium für theoretische Philosophie, Universität Bern, April 2015.

“Dealing with Scientific Uncertainty: The Case of the Threshold of Toxicological Concern Approach in Health Risk Assessment”. Lunchtime Talk, Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, October 2014.

“Realism, Empiricism, and Ontological Relativity. A Happy Ménage a Trois?”, Triennial International Conference of the Italian Society for Logic and Philosophy of Sciences, Rome, June 2014.

“Decisions under Uncertainty: A View from Philosophy”, invited talk the Food Packaging Forum Foundation, Zurich, October 2013.

“The Concept of Potentiality in Current Debates in the Philosophy of Nature”, Postgraduate Conference of the Italian Society for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Urbino, May 2013.

“The Concept of Potentiality in Natural Philosophy”, invited talk at the Department of Philosophy and History of Sciences, Charles University Prague, February 2013.

“Potentiality in Natural Philosophy”, Center for Philosophy and the Natural Sciences, Sacramento State University, October 2012.

“Popper and Feyerabend on Theory Proliferation and Anomaly Import”, International Conference FEYERABEND 2012, Berlin, September 2012.

“The Implications of Szabó's Physicalist Account of Mathematical Truth for Scientific Realism“, Theoretical Philosophy Forum, Eötvös University Budapest, April 2012.

 “Uncertaintiy in Science”, Zentrale Einrichtung für Wissenschaftstheorie und Wissenschaftsethik (ZEWW), University Hannover, April 2012 (in German).

“Decoherence: A View from Topology”, 3rd EPSA conference, Athens, October 2011 (with M. Epperson and E. Zafiris).

“Scientific Realism as the Quest for a Universal Criterion of Reality“, Tea Time Talk, Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science, London School of Economics, February 2010.

“Acategoriality, Archetypes, Emotions and the Limits of Language”, a reply to Prof Reinhard Nesper in the lecture series “The Empiricism of Emotions“ at the Collegium Helveticum, February 2009 (in German).

“Scientific Realism and Immediacy”, World Congress of Philosophy 2008, National University Seoul, July 2008.

“The Role of Truth in Science”, Collegium Helveticum, ETH Zurich, May 2008 (in German).

“Reality without Language? – Science’s non-linguistic access to reality”, International Graduate Conference, Freie Universität Berlin, December 2007 (in German).

“Realism and Scientific Practice”, Collegium Helveticum, ETH Zurich, June 2007 (in German).

“Experience and Reality – A Contribution to the Debate on Realism in the Philosophy of Science”, poster presentation at the symposium of the Forschungskredit of the University of Zurich, June 2007 (in German).

“On the Metaphor of the Genetic Code”, Centre for History of Knowledge, ETH Zurich, July 2006 (in German).

“The Mathematization of Physics and the Concept of Experience in Galilei”, colloquium for theoretical philosophy, University Zurich, December 2005 (in German).

“On Putnam’s Sense, Nonsense, and the Senses”, colloquium for theoretical philosophy, University Zurich, June 2004 (in German).


Spring 2016   Uncertainty in Science

Spring 2015    Topics in the General Philosophy of Science

Spring 2014    Induction, Causality, Law of Nature
                     Philosophy of Biology: Darwin's Theory

Winter 2012    Atomism from Democritus to Einstein (Leibniz University Hannover)

Winter 2011     Philosophy of Science Classics: Popper and Feyerabend.

Winter 2010     Atomism

Winter 2008     with Michael Hampe: Philosophy of Biology – Evolution

Winter 2007     with Ursula Renz: Realism in Philosophy and Science.

Spring 2007     with Michael Hampe: Philosophy of Biology – The Concept
                      of Information in Biology.

grants and fellowships

2012              Society in Science - Branco Weiss Fellowship

2004-2006     Forschungskredit, University of Zurich.

2009-2010     Fellowship for prospective researchers, Swiss National Science Foundation


Society in Science

Collegium Helveticum

Center for the Philosophy of Science, Pittsburgh

Centre for Natural and Social Science (CPNSS), LSE, London

Center for Philosophy and the Natural Sciences (CPNS), California State University, Sacramento