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Vanessa Schipani


  • M.S. History and Philosophy of Science, Utrecht University
  • B.A. Philosophy, University of Florida
  • B.S. Zoology, University of Florida


I'm currently a PhD candidate in my 5th year. Prior to starting the PhD, I was a science journalist for 10 years, working most recently for, where I vetted claims made by politicians about climate change to public health. As a philosopher, I examine the importance of science communication in maintaining a healthy democracy. I'm particularly interested in analyzing why people deny science, how such denial might harm individuals and society and how we might avoid such denial in the first place. Research in the science of science communication informs my work. I also have keen interests in teaching and public philosophy. In particular, I aim to find ways to create partnerships between scientists, science journalists and philosophers of science. This includes organizing a session on the philosophy of science journalism at the 2022 Philosophy of Science Association Conference and writing for the Penn Center for Science, Sustainability and the Media. For the 2023-24 academic year I'm also a Climate and Democracy Fellow with the Andrea Mitchell Center and the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities.

Research Interests

  • Areas of Specialization: Philosophy of Science, Political Philosophy
  • Areas of Competence: Social Epistemology, Bioethics, Pragmatism, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Cognitive Science, Philosophy of Biology
  • Research Topics: Science Denialism, Misinformation, Science Communication and Education, Public Reason, Science in Democracy, Free Speech


  • Science Communication in Democracy (Fall 2023)
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Climate Change
  • Bioethics
  • Social Contract
  • Intro to Philosophy


Selected Publications

  1. Schipani, V. (2019) "Doudna’s Confidence in CRISPR’s Research Potential Burns Bright." Quanta Magazine.
  2. Schipani, V. (2018) "Is there a link between media violence and mass shootings?" USA Today.
  3. Schipani, V. (2017) "Prediction of Climate Change Impacts Not as 'Limited' as Tillerson Suggests." Scientific American.
  4. Schipani, V. (2017) "The Facts on Chlorpyrifos."
  5. Schipani, V. (2016) "Cruz’s 'Pseudoscientific' Climate Claims."
  6. Schipani, V. (2016) "Immunology Gone Wild: Researchers bridge the divide between ecology and immunology." BioScience. (66)2, 100–106.
  7. Duperron, S., De Beer, D., Zbinden, M., Boetius, A., Schipani, V., Kahil, N., Gaill, F. (2009) "Molecular characterization of bacteria associated with the trophosome and the tube of Lamellibrachia sp., a siboglinid annelid from cold seeps in the eastern Mediterranean." FEMS Microbiology Ecology. (69)3, 395-409.