Lena Kästner


About ME

I am an assistant professor in philosophy at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain. I am working primarily in philosophy of science and philosophy of mind; my background is in cognitive science, especially cognitive neuroscience. I specialize in scientific explanation, experiments, and causation.

In summer 2009, I graduated from University of Osnabrück, Germany with a BSc. in Cognitive Science. From Osnabrück I moved to University College London (UCL) to get join their Cognitive Neuroscience program. During my time in London, I worked at the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) on a project investigating the neural basis of sign language processing in the human brain. I graduated from UCL in October 2010 with an MSc. in Cognitive Neuroscience. Before coming to Berlin in spring 2014, I did my PhD in philosophy at Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany. My dissertation is on scientific explanations in cognitive neuroscience. Part of my project was to develop a system of experiment classification. An abstract can be found on the CV page.

What I Currently Work On

  1.    epistemology of neuroscience, especially different experimental designs and 

      manipulations as well as their roles in scientific explanations

  1.    classifying experiments (natural, intervention-based, exploratory, ...)

  2.    interventions and mechanistic explanations, mechanism discovery

  3.    conceptions of causation in psychiatry

  4.    a taxonomy for “phenomena”

  5.    situated views of cognition (embodied, embedded, extended, enacted), 

      dynamical systems theory

  1.    predictive coding -- is it a theory of everything?

Areas of Specialization

philosophy of science (especially philosophy of cognitive science and neuroscience)

     research: scientific explanation, experiments, causation

philosophy of mind

     research: embodiment, extended mind, mental causation, predictive coding

Areas of competence

philosophy of psychiatry

philosophy of psychology

history of cognitive science


language research (cortical sign language processing, sign language linguistics)

empirical methods: eye-tracking, fMRI


Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Berlin School of Mind and Brain

Unter den Linden 6

10099 Berlin