Sahra Styger
Portrait: Sahra Styger (Foto: Ilka Reiter)

Sahra Styger

Akademische Mitarbeiterin

Since 2021, Sahra Styger has been an academic staff member and PhD candidate at the Department of Philosophy. Her research is embedded in the interdisciplinary project on “The future of creativity in basic research: Can artificial agents be authors of scientific discoveries?”, which is supervised by Prof. Thomas Müller (University of Konstanz, Germany) and Prof. Hans Briegel (University of Innsbruck, Austria). The project aims at connecting methods and techniques from philosophy, physics, and AI in an integrated approach.

Within the project and as a focus for her PhD thesis, Sahra Styger studies the meaning of scientific experiments in AI-driven research. She will specifically address the foundations of AI-driven research from a philosophy of science and epistemology perspective. In considering the various aspects of computer-controlled experiments, namely automation, simulation, and exploration, she will investigate the meaning of experiments in the light of recent advancements in deep learning and other AI techniques. Furthermore, she will evaluate the relevance of autonomous AI agents for experimentation in different scientific disciplines, for example quantum physics, chemistry, and linguistics, as well as possible problems arising from AI-driven research in each of those. Experiments in quantum mechanics, for example, might point to a more fundamental role for an agent in comparison to other fields of research.

In her MA thesis on “Explainability of AI systems. Philosophy of Science meets Machine Learning”, Sahra Styger showed how explanation theories of philosophy of science can be brought together with machine learning, especially when considering XAI-models (neural networks). With the help of two debates in philosophy of science on why-questions and how-explanations, both containing clear pragmatic elements as well as taking into consideration counterfactuals and causality, Sahra Styger approached two state-of-the-art XAI-models.

For her MA in philosophy, Sahra Styger studied philosophy at the University of Konstanz, Germany, and at the Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Italy. For her BA, she studied philosophy and political sciences at the University of Lucerne, Switzerland, and Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Germany. During her studies, Sahra Styger has been a teaching assistant at the University of Konstanz for various courses, such as Kernkurs 4 Philosophy of Science, Kernkurs 1 Practical Philosophy, and History of Philosophy.

As a side project to her current research at the Department of Philosophy, Sahra Styger also works as an Annotator in the Argument Analysis Team by Dr. Annette Hautli-Janisz at the Department of Linguistics. This activity contributes to a large international initiative, led by the Centre for Argument Technology at the University of Dundee ( Since 2020, they have been building the world’s first capacity for undertaking real-time analysis of argumentative debates.

Since 2019, Sahra Styger is working part-time at IBM Research, one of the world-leading industrial IT research institutions. At its research centre in Zurich, she supports operations and communications in the Think Lab, a platform for IBM Research to bring together IBM customers with its researchers to incubate innovation projects.


- Conceptualizing the experiment-machine learning relationship, 31. 05. 2023, 11:05 - 12: 05 Uhr, Techno-Scientific Practices. A workshop with Federica Russo. University of Konstanz (Germany)

- The experiment-technology relationship in AI-driven science, 09.05.2023, 16:00 - 18:00 Uhr, Digital Philosophy Seminar, TU Delft (Netherlands)

- Interpretation and technological enhancements of animal cognition experiments, 03.11.2022, 10:40 - 11:10 Uhr, Philosophy of Biology and Cognitive Science XI, University of Salamanca-ECyT (Spain)

- Interpretation and technological enhancements of animal cognition experiments, 02.06.2022, 11:45 - 13:15 Uhr, Early- Lunch-Philosophy, University of Konstanz

- The experiment-technology relationship in AI-driven science, 19.09.2022, 14:30 - 15:00 Uhr, Interdisciplinary aspects of agency, Maria Waldrast, University of Innsbruck