Associate Professor
W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics
227 – 6356 Agricultural Road
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2
phone: 7789197198

Dr. Steel’s research focuses on coupled ethical-epistemic issues in science, especially in relation to environmental and public health issues. He is the author of Philosophy and the Precautionary Principle: Science, Evidence, and Environmental Policy (Cambridge 2015) and Across the Boundaries: Extrapolation in Biology and Social Science (Oxford 2008), as well as numerous articles in leading journals in the philosophy of science. His research interests focus on the role of values in scientific disciplines linked to environmental and health policy issues. Current projects under this heading can be divided into three main categories: 1 Research on the value stances of scientists, and how these vary according to factors such as discipline and gender; 2 Examination of the problem of sponsorship bias (i.e., the tendency of researchers to draw conclusions that coincide with the financial interests of their funders) and evaluation of proposals for how to address it; and 3 normative philosophical work on how values and science should interact.

Single Authored Books

Steel, D. 2015. Philosophy and the Precautionary Principle: Science, Evidence, and Environmental Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[Reviewed in: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, Neil Manson, May 27, 2015; Philosophy of Science, Kevin Elliott, 2015, 82: 524-527; Monash Bioethics Review, Christian Munthe, 2015, 33(2): 219-225; Economics and Philosophy, Charlotte Werndel, 2016, 32(1): 162-169; British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Camilla Colombo and Katie Steele, 2016; Ethics, Policy and Environment, Thomas Boyer-Kassem, in press.] 

Steel, D. 2008. Across the Boundaries: Extrapolation in Biology and Social Science. New York: Oxford University Press.


[Reviewed in: Metascience, Francesco Guala, 2009, vol. 18: 331–333, Economics and Philosophy. Julian Reiss, 2010, vol. 26: 382-390. Theoria, Daniel Blanco, 2010, vol. 69: 386-388. Philosophical Review, John Dupré, 2010, vol. 119: 123-126. Journal of Economic Methodology, Federica Russo, 2010, vol. 17: 81-87.]


Co-Edited Books

Elliott, Kevin, and Daniel Steel (2017). Current Controversies in Values and Science. Routledge.

Steel, Daniel, and Francesco Guala. (2011). A Philosophy of Social Science Reader. New York, NY: Routledge.


Articles in Peer Reviewed Journals 

1.     Steel, Daniel. (in press). “Sustainability and the Infinite Future: A Case Study of a false Modeling Assumption in Environmental Economics.” Erkenntnis.

2.     Robinson, Brian, Stephanie E. Vasko, Chad Gonnerman, Markus Christen, Michael O’Rourke, and Daniel Steel. (2016). “Human Values and the Value of Humanities in Interdisciplinary Research.” Cogent Arts and Humanities 3(1). 

3.     Moll, Remington, Daniel Steel, and Robert Montgomery. (2016). “AIC and the Challenge of Complexity: A Case Study from Ecology.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 60: 35-43.

4.     Steel, Daniel. (2016a). “Accepting an Epistemically Inferior Alternative? A Comment on Elliott and McKaughan.” Philosophy of Science.

5.     Steel, Daniel. (2016b). “Climate Change and Second-Order Uncertainty: Defending a Generalized, Normative, and Structural Argument from Inductive Risk.” Perspectives on Science.

6.     Steel, Daniel. 2015. “Acceptance, Values, and Probability.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 53: 81-88.

7.     Steel, Daniel. 2013a. “Precaution and Proportionality: A Reply to Turner.” Ethics, Policy and Environment 16: 341-345.

8.     Steel, Daniel. 2013b. “The Precautionary Principle and the Dilemma Objection.” Ethics, Policy and Environment 16: 318–337.

9.     Steel, Daniel. 2013c. “Acceptance, Values, and Inductive Risk.” Philosophy of Science 80: 818-828.

10. Steel, Daniel, and Kyle Whyte. 2012. “Environmental Justice, Values, and Scientific Expertise.” Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 22: 163-182. (Special Issue on Science, Knowledge, and Democracy, edited by Kevin Elliott, Rebecca Kukla, and Justin Weinberg)

11. Steel, Daniel. 2011a. “On not changing the Problem: A Reply to Howson.” International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25: 285-291.

12. Steel, Daniel. 2011b. “Extrapolation, Uncertainty Factors, and the Precautionary Principle.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42: 356-364.

13. Steel, Daniel. 2010a. “A New Approach to Argument by Analogy: Extrapolation and Chain Graphs.” Philosophy of Science 77: 1058-1069.  (Proceedings of the 2008 PSA Meeting.)

14. Steel, Daniel. 2010b. “What if the Principle of Induction is Normative?  Formal Learning Theory and Hume’s Problem.” International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24: 171-186.

15. Steel, Daniel. 2010c. “Epistemic Values and the Argument from Inductive Risk.” Philosophy of Science 77: 14-34.

16. Steel, Daniel. 2009. “Testability and Ockham’s Razor: How Formal and Statistical Learning Theory Converge in the New Riddle of Induction.” Journal of Philosophical Logic 38: 471-489.

17. Steel, Daniel. 2007a. “With or Without Mechanisms: A Reply to Weber.” Philosophy of the Social Sciences 37: 360-365.

18. Steel, Daniel. 2007b. “Bayesian Confirmation Theory and the Likelihood Principle.” Synthese 156: 55-77.

19. Steel, Daniel. 2006a. “Methodological Individualism, Explanation, and Invariance.” Philosophy of the Social Sciences 36: 440-463.

20. Steel, Daniel. 2006b. “Homogeneity, Selection, and the Faithfulness Condition.” Minds and Machines 16: 303-317.

21. Steel, Daniel. 2006c. “Comment on Hausman and Woodward on the Causal Markov Condition.” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57: 219-231.

22. Steel, Daniel. 2005a. “Indeterminism and the Causal Markov Condition.” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56: 3-26.

23. Steel, Daniel. 2005b. “The Facts of the Matter: A Discussion of Norton’s Material Theory of Induction.” Philosophy of Science 72: 188-197.

24. Steel, Daniel. 2005c. “Mechanisms and Functional Hypotheses in Social Science.” Philosophy of Science (Proceedings) 72: 941-52.

25. Steel, Daniel. 2004a. “Social Mechanisms and Causal Inference.” Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34: 55-78.

26. Steel, Daniel. 2004b. “Can a Reductionist be a Pluralist?” Biology and Philosophy 19: 55-73.

27. Steel, Daniel. 2003a. “A Bayesian Way to Make Stopping Rules Matter.” Erkenntnis 58: 213-27.

28. Steel, Daniel. 2003b. “Making Time Stand Still: A Response to Sober’s Counter-example to the Principle of the Common Cause.” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54: 309-17.

29. Steel, Daniel. 2001. “Bayesian Statistics in Radiocarbon Calibration.” Philosophy of Science 68 (Proceedings): S153-64.

30. Steel, Daniel. 1999. “Trade Goods and Jívaro Warfare: The Shuar, 1850-1957, and the Achuar 1940-1978.” Ethnohistory 46: 745-76.

31. Steel, Daniel. 1998a. “Warfare and Western Manufactures: A Case Study of Explanation in Anthropology.” Philosophy of Science 65: 649-71.

32. Steel, Daniel. 1998b. “A Reply to Jones.” Philosophy of Science 65: 682-7.

33. Steel, Daniel. 1996. “Bayesianism and the Value of Diverse Evidence.” Philosophy of Science 63: 666-74.



34. Steel, Daniel. 2014. “Explanation and Robust Intervention in Coupled Human and Natural Systems.” In Explanation in the Special Sciences: The Case of Biology and History, ed. Marie Kaiser, Oliver Scholz, Daniel Plenge, and Andreas Hüttemann, 325-346. Dordrecht: Springer. 

35. Steel, Daniel. 2013d. “Mechanisms and Extrapolation in the Abortion-Crime Controversy.” In Mechanism and Causality in Biology and Economics, ed. Hsiang-Ke Chao, Szu-Ting Chen, and Roberta L. Millstein, 185-206. Dordrecht: Springer.

36. Steel, Daniel. 2013e. “Causation in the Social Sciences.” In Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Social Sciences, ed. Byron Kaldis, 71-74. London, UK: Sage Publications.

37. Steel, Daniel. 2011c. “Causal Inference and Medical Experiments.” In Handbook of the Philosophy of Science, Volume 16: Philosophy of Medicine, ed. Fred Gifford, 159-186. Elsevier.

38. Steel, Daniel. 2011d. “Testability and Statistical Learning Theory.” In Handbook of the Philosophy of Science, Volume 7: Philosophy of Statistics, ed. Prasanta S. Bandyopadhyay and Malcolm Forster, 849-861. Elsevier.

39. Steel, Daniel. 2011e. “Causality, Causal Models, and Mechanisms.” In The Sage Handbook on the Philosophy of Social Science, ed. Ian Jarvie and Jesús Zamora Bonilla, 288-304. London, UK: Sage Publications.

40. Steel, Daniel. 2010d. “Naturalism and the Enlightenment Ideal: Rethinking a Central Debate in the Philosophy of Social Science.” In New Waves in Philosophy of Science, ed. P.D. Magnus and Jacob Busch, 226-249. New York: Palgrave.