Team helsinki

Topic and Research

Neuroscience has been surrounded with hope and hype of scientific breakthroughs and innovations. Subproject 2 focuses on two case studies, namely (A) behavioural policy, economic conceptions of welfare, and the neural basis of utility and (B) addiction policy and the neuroscience of addiction. The hypothesis defended is that neuroeconomic evidence is a poor guide to policy as long as the neuroscientific models of decision-making are not embedded in a broader framework of social mechanisms, and that this embedding is best done according to the mechanistic blueprint for integration.

The Helsinki team project explores the possibilities and limits of neuroscientific evidence in policy-making, focusing on two case studies:

  1. One of the central questions in the relevance of neuroeconomics of decision is whether neuroscience can provide evidence of decision-making mechanisms relevant for behavioural policy, e.g., nudge policies. The project is interested in the question of what is the best way to integrate neuroscientific theories of decision mechanisms to models of social mechanisms so that neuroeconomics can fulfil these conditions. We also scrutinise the impact of neuroscience to conceptions of agency behind economic assessments of welfare.
  2. The second topic is the embedding of neuroscientific accounts of addiction unto broader accounts of social mechanisms and strategies of self-control. The subproject also asks normative questions regarding the potential friction between the conception of agency entailed by the prevalent neuroscientific theories of addiction and the normatively salient conception of autonomy relevant for the evaluation of (possibly coercive) treatments.

The results will provide conceptual resources, and possibly new models, for the integration of neuroscientific findings into broader accounts of social mechanisms related to addiction, as well as choice behaviour in general. We will also provide clearer normative grounds for assessing the justification and possible limitations for behavioural interventions and treatments. These results will assist end-users of social scientific knowledge in translating diverse evidence into policy recommendations.


We are a group of a senior researcher and three post-doctoral researchers covering a variety of fields in philosophy, e.g. philosophy of science, applied ethics, and metaethics.

Prof. Dr. Jaakko Erkinpoika Kuorikoski

Team leader is Research Fellow and Professor Jaakko Kuorikoski, philosopher of science with a special focus on scientific explanation, modelling, and mechanistic research heuristics in economics and other social science. Read More

Dr. Teemu Toppinen

Postdoctoral researcher Teemu Toppinen is metaethicists with a special interest in practical reasoning and moral psychology. Read More

Dr. Susanne Maria Uusitalo

Postdoctoral researcher Susanne Uusitalo is a scholar of applied philosophy and ethics. She specializes in philosophy of addiction and has published on several issues concerning addiction and autonomy in platforms ranging from neuroethics to public health ethics. Read More

Dr. Samuli Reijula

Postdoctoral researcher Samuli Reijula (formerly Pöyhönen) is a philosopher of science with an interest in cognitive sciences. Read More


Postdoctoral researchers all work in their areas of expertise thus providing an extensive approach to the issues of consumer and welfare policy, especially in the issues related to addiction control and governance.

Our Results

As soon as we have publishable results from one of our (sub-)projects, you will be able to access them here. We strongly encourage you to return to this site repeatedly to check if we have updated the content here.

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