Avital Pilpel
Haifa, Israel
My Philosophical Interests, Writing, and Experience


'What is "pragmatic" about pragmatism is the recognition of a common structure to practical deliberation and cognitive inquiry in spite of the diversity of aims and values" -- Isaac Levi,
The Fixation of Belief and Its Undoing, p. 78.

Today most philosophers of science believe that no important insights can be had by looking for such a "common structure to inquiry" (RBCT, as I called it). The collapse of the positivist-empiricist project, rise of the "weak program" and "strong program", and numerous other issues all seem to point in that direction.

I claim RBCT does play an important role, and inquirers (from physicists to economists and psychiatrists) take its epistemic desiderata -- to seek information and avoid error -- seriously. E.g., when some error is discovered in a previous experiment forces to give up some previously-held views, or when a shocking discovery makes it unclear what experiments must be performed next, researchers often obey RBCT's recommendations in preference to their "normal" way of research. 

To say researchers are often implicitly committed to taking RBCT seriously is not to say RBCT is the (nonexistent) "real" scientific method, or that it obeying it demarcates "real" science from pseudoscience. But if we take epistemology and scientific inquiry seriously, in all its complexity, we must consider all the epistemic concerns real-life scientists do (or should) take seriously in their work, including RBCT. 

My Interests 

For my CV, in English or Hebrew, please contact me (and/or see "contact" page). Below are some selections of my work

I concentrate in the selections below on my academic work. For my chess history related work see the "Hobbies and Interests" part of the web site; for other work (high school teaching, content advisor to various bodies, etc.), contact me for full CV.

As noted in the homepage, as well as above, I am in particular interested in the relationship between rational choice and psychiatry -- but more generally, in the interest between philosophy in general and psychology in general. I strongly believe that philosophy can help us in therapy -- as many others did -- and that the current idea of philosophical counseling has much to recommend it

I believe that I can show, however, that both philosophers and therapists had gotten it (somewhat) wrong. Philosophers are often unaware of the risks that philosophical counseling takes -- it may devolve into either inefficient "anything goes" talk or else into what is, in effect, practicing therapy without a license.

On the other hand, therapists use philosophy in their therapy -- famous examples are, e.g., existentialist therapy or logic-based therapy. But there is much more to philosophy than (to simplify) Nietzsche or Plato! Philosophy is a living field, with numerous issues, from ethics to metaphysics, with great therapeutic potential and relevance.

It should be, we believe, the joint work of therapists and philosophers to mine philosophy's unappreciated therapeutic potential -- without making a caricature of either the philosophy used by the therapist, or the therapy as practiced by the philosopher.  

Teaching Philosophy

Since teaching is a major part of my career,you can also contact me for teaching evaluation.

I am very interested in the possibilities of online education -- both for "official" online courses and as a very helpful tool for "regular" courses.  I have much experience with Moodle, HighLearn, and other "official" online teaching programs.

I also have much experience using Youtube, social networks such as facebook or Google+ - and of course email - to keep in touch with students for and with designing the appropriate blend of online / frontal teaching teaching for maximum teaching effectiveness. 

The field of online education is being revolutionized all the time. Newer and better online tools -- from google's classroom applications, to online interactive "Wiki"'s, to numerous other tools -- are constantly updated. I keep abreast of these developments. 


Teaching Certification, Beit Berl College, 2009, Mathematics Education. 

Columbia University, 2005, Philosophy

Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1995, Mathematics / "Amirim" Program in the Humanities

Teaching History 

Lecturer, Bar Ilan School of Communications, Ramat Gan, Israel.

Lecturer, Levinsky Teacher's College, Tel Aviv, Israel

 Beit Berl Academic College, Kfar Saba, Israel (Tenure Track position 2007-2010 in philosophy of education dept. in School of Education until dept. closed due to reorganization of the School).

 Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel

 University of Haifa, Haifa, Haifa, Israel

Lecturer, New Jersey City University, Jersey City, NJ, USA

 Columbia University, New York, NY, USA

Selected Fellowships & Scholarships

"Vatat" post-doctorate fellowship, University of Haifa

Full scholarship, Columbia University

Selected Recent Publications (Not including popular, chess, or history articles)

Pilpel, Avital. Utopias, Rational Choice, and Israeli Science Fiction. In Science Fiction: Beyond Borders (Cambridge Scholars, 2016)

Pilpel, Avital. Propaganda and Advertisement. Entries in the Online Hebrew University of Communications (ed. Yuval Karniel, in preparation, 2015)

Pilpel, Avital, Gindi, Shahar, and Sherf, Ronny. Does Single-Sex Education Affect Competitiveness Among Single Girls? A Pilot Study. (2016). (Mofet grant for study approved April 2014, Poster Presented in APA Conference, 2016).

Gindi, Shahar and Pilpel, Avital. Bridging the Gap Between Philosophy and Psychotherapy: An Outline for the Integration of Philosophical Counseling into Therapeutic Pratice (2015). Journal of Humanities Therapy 6(2) (Dec. 2015).

Pilpel, Avital and Amsel, Lawrence. What is Wrong with Rational Suicide. Philosophia 39.1 (2011): 111-123.

Taleb, Nassim and Pilpel, Avital. The Prediction of Action. A Companion to the Philosophy of Action (Blackwell’s Companions to Philosophy). Eds. Timothy O’Connor and Constantine Sandis. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2010. 410-416.

Selected Courses

Graduate Level

Philosophy of Science for Ph.D. students in Occupational Therapy, University of Haifa; fall 2013.

Philosophy of Biology for Ph.D. students in Biology, University of Haifa; fall 2008, 2009, 2010.

Philosophy of Medicine, seminar in M.A. program in philosophy of science, University of Haifa; summer 2010 

Senior Level

History of Propaganda, senior seminar, Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya; yearly 2009-2010 to 2015-2016

Undergraduate Level 

History of Political Thought, Bar Ilan University, 2016-2017.
History of Communications, Bar Ilan University; Spring 2016, 2017 (planned).

History and Philosophy of Mathematics, Levinsky's Teacher College; fall 2013.

Philosophy of Education, Levinsky's Teacher College; spring 2012, fall 2013 [Online Course].

History of Communications
, Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya; fall 2008, spring 2010, spring 2011 to 2017 (planned)

Game Theory, Interdisciplinary Center; summer 2007, summer 2008, fall 2008, summer 2010 to 2016 (except 2013). 

Philosophy of Military Intelligence, University of Haifa; fall 2007, fall 2008, spring 2010, spring 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014.

Civilizations I, New Jersey City University; fall 2004, fall 2005, spring 2005.

Theory and Practice of Science, Columbia University, spring 2001, fall 2002.

Formal Logic, Columbia University, Spring 1999.

Professional Associations

Canadian Philosophical Association

American Philosophical Association

Israeli Philosophical Association

Israeli Society for History & Philosophy of Science

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