John Salvatier

I am a psychology and philosophy researcher. I’m concerned with the question “how should you live?”

‘Life philosophy’ is what we tend to call attempts to answer the question “how should you live?”. It has two particularly nice properties

This explains why you have to find a philosophy of your own, and at the same time why we feel compelled to argue over philosophies.

If you don’t feel like you already have a philosophy, you might worry that searching for a philosophy will be ungrounded. Should I just go to the library's philosophy section and pick a book? Fortunately, every person’s aesthetics (broadly construed) already encodes an implicit life philosophy. You already have a philosophy that guides your actions, and that implicit philosophy forms a very nice starting place.

Concretely, I help people find and work with their life philosophy. I do that both directly and indirectly by working with them on concrete problems in their life. Your philosophy should pay rent; if your philosophy doesn't help you concretely live your life, it's not a very good philosophy.

My work

More of my writings. More of my projects.

Selected publications

Jan M. Brauner, Sören Mindermann, Mrinank Sharma, David Johnston, John Salvatier et al. (2020) The effectiveness of eight nonpharmaceutical interventions against COVID-19 in 41 countries. Science

Owain Evans, Andreas Stuhlmüller, John Salvatier, and Daniel Filan. Modeling Agents with Probabilistic Programs.

Abel D, Salvatier J., Stuhlmüller A., Evans O. (2016) Agent-Agnostic Human-in-the-Loop Reinforcement Learning. Future of Interactive Learning Machines Workshop at NIPS 2016

Kreuger D., Leike J., Evans O., Salvatier J. (2016) Active Reinforcement Learning: Observing Rewards at a Cost. Future of Interactive Learning Machines Workshop at NIPS 2016

Salvatier J., Wiecki TV., Fonnesbeck C. (2016) Probabilistic programming in Python using PyMC3. PeerJ Computer Science 2:e55

More publications