Katie PlaisanceKathryn S. Plaisance, PhD

Associate Professor

Department of Knowledge Integration

Cross-appointed to the Department of Philosophy

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


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” (2019-20)
    • 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


Published papers:
  • Plaisance, Kathryn S. and Kevin C. Elliott (forthcoming), “A Framework for Broadly Engaged Philosophy of Science,” Philosophy of Science, forthcoming.
  • Plaisance, Kathryn S., Jay Michaud, and John McLevey (2021) “Pathways of Influence: Understanding the Impact of Philosophy of Science in Scientific Domains,” Synthese, forthcoming.
  • 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, in press. 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” (2019-20)
  • 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 420 A & B: Senior Research Project A & B
  • INTEG 475: Special Topics in Knowledge Integration: Interdisciplinary Collaboration
  • INTEG 475: Socially Relevant Philosophy of Science (held with PHIL 458 and PHIL 673)