Past events

BIAP Lecture Series: The Science and Politics of Lockdowns

Lecture 01

Prof. Eric Winsberg (University of South Florida)

Epidemics, science and lockdowns: why the models failed us
Date:  Monday 30 November 2020, 6 – 8pm.
Venue:  Zoom. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, models have played a larger role in guiding human affairs than perhaps ever in history.  Simple models have been used to predict the “herd immunity threshold” for Covid-19.  More complex models have been used to predict the natural course of the disease and project the impact of various candidate interventions.   Causal modeling has been used to infer the (counterfactual) effects of past interventions.   Some of the decisions that have been guided by these models have been disastrous.  The brazen character of some of the inferences that have been drawn and widely publicized will likely diminish the future credibility of science in an increasingly politically fractured world.   Why has this happened?  How can we do better in the future?


Lecture 02
Dr Philippe van Basshuysen (Leibniz University Hannover & London School of Economics & Political Science), and
Dr. Lucie White (Institut für Philosophie, Leibniz University Hannover)

Policy-making in a pandemic: Justifying lockdown
Date:  Monday, February 1st, 2021, 17:00 pm (GMT +1)
Venue: Zoom.
In response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many governments initially imposed lockdowns to contain the spread of the virus. It has been argued that these lockdowns weren’t justified, as such severe impositions on individual liberties require that governments meet high epistemic standards, which were not satisfied at the beginning of the pandemic because the data available at the time were poor, and the models that guided policy decisions were flawed (Winsberg et al. 2020). We contend that this argument is based on erroneous claims about the available evidence. By revisiting the epistemic basis upon which policy decisions were made at the beginning of the pandemic, we can begin to think about whether, and under what circumstances, lockdowns might be justified.

Lecture 03

Dr. Vlasta Sikimić – Universität Tübingen
The context-dependency of lockdown measures
Date: Thursday, May 20th 2021, 16:00h
Venue: Zoom, see below for link
Different security measures such as the control of social media content and data collection may limit individual freedom. More generally, one can say that there is a constant tension between freedom and security. When it comes to lockdown measures, historically there have been examples of their serious abuse and they often negatively resonate in public. In the Kantian tradition the limit of individual freedom is the freedom of others, while in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, persuasive arguments are provided that the health protection of many people outweighs individual freedom. On the other hand, economic, psychological, and also physical, e.g., orthopedic problems, are significant side effects of strict lockdown measures. For these reasons, I will argue that lockdown measures should always be analyzed in their particular context. As an example, the current measures are dependent on the local circumstances and the socio-economic status of a county. Finally, I will conclude by emphasizing that there is an important tension between the context-dependency of lockdown measures and the coordinated response to global threats such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

BIAP workshop on Evidence

Universitat de Girona, 20-21 February 2020

Venue: Sala de Grados de la Facultad de Derecho, Universitat de Girona
Edgar Aguilera (Universitat de Girona)
Diego Dei Vecchi (Universitat de Girona)
José Antonio Díez (Universitat de Barcelona)
Paolo Garbolino (Università Iuav di Venezia)
Barbara Osimani (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
Federico Picinali (London School of Economics and Political Science)
Albert Solé (Universitat de Barcelona)
Further information is available here

BIAP workshop on Gender
Venue: Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona)
Date: December 17-18, 2019

Further information is available here

BIAP Colloquium: Inaugural Lecture by Jason Stanley (Yale)
Hustle: The Politics of Language
Date: 26 November 2019
Venue: Aula Magna, Faculty of Philosophy. Universitat de Barcelona
Time: 11:00 – 13:00

Further information here:


Collaboration with the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB)

Lecture by Jason Stanley
How Fascim Works. The Politics of Us and Them

Date: November 25, 2019.
Time: 18:30 – 20:00
Venue: CCCB, C/Montalegre, 5 – 08001 Barcelona
The event is organised by CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona), in collaboration with BIAPand Blackiebooks.

1st BIAP Workshop: Disagreements

Barcelona, 24 – 25 January 2019
Venue:  Sala Gran, Faculty of Philosophy (4th floor), University of Barcelona, Montalegre 6 (08001, Barcelona)

Further information here: