Kathryn S. Plaisance

Associate Professor
Department of Knowledge Integration


  • Department of Philosophy
  • Department of Psychology

Contact information:

Phone: 519-888-4567, ext. 48612
Office: Environment 1 (EV1), room 203
Email: kplaisan@uwaterloo.ca

Kathryn Plaisance website


  • PhD Philosophy, University of Minnesota, USA, 2006
  • MA Philosophy, University of Minnesota, USA, 2004
  • BS Molecular Biology and Philosophy, University of Wisconsin, USA, 2000


  • Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance Teaching Excellence Award, 2022
  • University of Waterloo Outstanding Performance Award, 2021
  • Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations Teaching Award, 2020-2021
  • University of Waterloo Distinguished Teacher, 2016

Research interests:

Philosophy of science, philosophy of the human behavioral sciences, socially relevant philosophy of science, social epistemology, interactional expertise, and interdisciplinary collaboration

Research grants / fellowships - current:

  • Research project on “Engaging Science with Philosophy: Best Practices for Fostering Effective Collaboration” (2020-25)
    • Funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant ($188,179)
  • Research project on “Developing a Collaborative Mindset” (2019-22)
    • Funded by a UW/SSHRC Explore Grant

Research grants / fellowships - past:

  • Research project on “Understanding ‘What Could Be’: Heritability in a Randomized Twin Design” (2017-19)
  • Research project on “Increasing the Impact of Philosophy of Science in Scientific Domains” (2016-18)
    • Funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant
  • International research partnership on “Communities of Integration” (2014-16)
    • Funded by a UW International Research Partnership Grant
  • Research project on "Interactional Expertise, Collaboration, and the Philosophy of Science" (2011-12)
    • Funded by: Lois Claxton Humanities and Social Sciences Award
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship in Philosophy of Biology (2007-2009)
    • Funded by: Centre for Philosophy and Ethics of Science (ZEWW), Leibniz University of Hannover, Germany


For PDF copies of any publications, please email Katie Plaisance.

Published papers

  • Plaisance, Kathryn S. and Kevin C. Elliott (2021), “A Framework for Broadly Engaged Philosophy of Science,” Philosophy of Science vol 88 (4): 594-615 https://doi.org/10.1086/713891
  • Plaisance, Kathryn S., Jay Michaud, and John McLevey (2021), “Pathways of Influence: Understanding the Impact of Philosophy of Science in Scientific Domains,” Synthese, 199: 4865-4896. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-020-03007-1
  • Burgoyne, A. P., Carroll, S., Clark, D. A., Hambrick, D. Z., Plaisance K. S., Klump, K. L., & Burt, S. A. (2020). Can a brief intervention alter genetic and environmental influences on psychological traits? An experimental behavioral genetics approach. Learning and Motivation, 72, 101683. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lmot.2020.101683.
  • Plaisance, Kathryn S. (2020), “The Benefits of Acquiring Interactional Expertise: Why (Some) Philosophers of Science Should Engage Scientific Communities,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 83: 53-62. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsa.2020.03.002
  • Plaisance, Kathryn S., Alexander V. Graham, John McLevey, and Jay Michaud (2019), “Show Me the Numbers: A Quantitative Portrait of the Attitudes, Experiences, and Values of Philosophers of Science Regarding Broadly Engaged Work,” Synthese, 198: 4603-4633. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-019-02359-7
  • Burt, S. Alex, Kathryn S. Plaisance, and Zach D. Hambrick (2019), “Understanding ‘What Could Be’: A Call for Experimental Behavioral Genetics,” Behavior Genetics, 49: 235-243. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10519-018-9918-y
  • McLevey, John, Alexander V. Graham, Reid McIlroy-Young, Pierson Brown, and Kathryn S. Plaisance (2018), “Interdisciplinarity and Insularity in the Diffusion of Knowledge: An Analysis of Disciplinary Boundaries Between Philosophy of Science and The Sciences,” Scientometrics, 117: 331-349. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-018-2866-8
  • Plaisance, Kathryn S., and Eric B. Kennedy (2014), “A Pluralistic Approach to Interactional Expertise”, Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science, 47: 60-68. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsa.2014.07.001
  • Plaisance, Kathryn S., Thomas Reydon, and Mehmet Elgin (2012), "Why the (Gene) Counting Argument Fails in the Massive Modularity Debate: The Need for Understanding Gene Concepts and Genotype-Phenotype Relationships", Philosophical Psychology, 25(6): 873-892. https://doi.org/10.1080/09515089.2011.616268
  • Fehr, Carla and Kathryn S. Plaisance (2010), "Socially Relevant Philosophy of Science: An Introduction", Synthese, 177(3): 301-316. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-010-9855-7

Edited volumes

  • Plaisance, Kathryn S. and Thomas Reydon, eds. (2012) "Philosophy of Behavioral Biology", Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, vol. 282
  • Plaisance, Kathryn S. and Carla Fehr, eds. (2010), "Making Philosophy of Science More Socially Relevant", special issue of Synthese, vol. 177(3): 301-492.

Scholarship of teaching and learning grants:

  • Learning and Innovation Teaching Enhancement (LITE) grant on “Building Capacity to Teach Collaborative Skills at the University of Waterloo” (2019-22)
  • Learning and Innovation Teaching Enhancement (LITE) grant on ““Closing the Collaborative Skills Gap: Assessing the Effectiveness of a University-Wide Course Designed to Teach Students How to Collaborate in Diverse Groups (2018-19)
  • Learning and Innovation Teaching Enhancement (LITE) grant on “Breaking Down Barriers: A Student-Led Conference on Interdisciplinary Collaboration” (2015-16)

Courses taught:

  • INTEG 210: Making Collaboration Work
  • INTEG 220: Nature of Scientific Knowledge
  • INTEG 221: The Social Nature of Knowledge
  • INTEG 375: Special Topics in Knowledge Integration: Science, Society and Values
  • INTEG 410: Interdisciplinary Collaboration (held with ERS 674 and BIOL 681)
  • INTEG 420 A & B: Senior Research Project A & B
  • INTEG 475: Socially Relevant Philosophy of Science (held with PHIL 458 and PHIL 673)