Plutynski wins Lakatos Award for book about the philosophical questions surrounding cancer


Anya Plutynski

Anya Plutynski, associate professor of philosophy, has won the 2021 Lakatos Award for her 2018 book Explaining Cancer: Finding Order in Disorder.

The Lakatos Award is given by the London School of Economics in honor of an outstanding contribution to the philosophy of science. It is named after Imre Lakatos, a noted philosopher of mathematics and science at LSE, and funded by the Geneva-based Latsis Foundation.

Plutynski is a historian and philosopher of biology and medicine whose research explores the roles of modeling in science and scientific explanation. Explaining Cancer is a consideration of the philosophical questions that emerge in cancer science. Using case studies of scientific practice, Plutynski turns her attention to broader debates about the relationship between disease and health, genetic causation, disease classification, and the nature of scientific explanation.

The anonymous board that recommended Explaining Cancer for the Lakatos Award Explaining Cancer said it offered a “densely-argued, wide-ranging and penetrating analysis of the science of cancer research. Anyone interested in the subject would learn much from reading it, and find many surprises, both from the point of view of the science and philosophy.”

“Receiving the Lakatos Award is a tremendous honor,” said Plutynski. “This award is the highest a book in my field can receive. The award went to books by many of the philosophers of science I’ve most admired, books I read in graduate school. I am genuinely humbled to have my scholarship recognized with the same award.”