About me

I am a philosopher working at the intersection of ethics, philosophy of action, and the philosophy of behavioral and brain sciences. My main interest is in self-control, agency, and responsibility; further interests include philosophy of disability and psychopathology, and the application of emerging technologies in healthcare. From February 2021 onwards, I am also Senior Researcher (fi: erikoistutkija) in the multidisciplinary Academy of Finland Nudging for Climate research project, where my attention is on the conceptual and ethical aspects of nudge theory and the development of nudge interventions.

Best contacted by e-mail at polaris.koi (at) utu (dot) fi.
I can also be found at PhilPeople, ResearchGate and Academia.edu.

My pronouns are he/him, they/them.

Photo: Tinksu Wessman

Research statement

My research explores self-control, agency and responsibility in our changing scientific landscape.

In my dissertation, An Access Theory of Self-Control, I examine current theories of self-control within philosophy and social psychology in light of the example of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, asking, what explains such striking individual differences in self-control. Supporting my philosophical argumentation with evidence from cognitive and behavioral sciences, I develop a theory of self-control that accounts for these differences by describing self-control as multiply realizable and by identifying agents’ active interaction with their environments as both supporting and constraining various self-control practices. This research has been funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

From 2016 to 2019, I participated as Junior Investigator in the Genetics and Human Agency research project. Within that project, I investigated genetic explanations of ADHD and their import for assessments of moral and criminal responsibility. Studying the biological causation of human behavior within GHA has left me with a sustained interest in thinking about gene-environment interaction in the context of individual differences in complex traits, including within psychiatry.

I have a further interest in the ethics of emerging technologies in healthcare. I have recently worked on the promises and concerns raised by the prospective use of AI and big data in healthcare, particularly for the off-label use of stimulant medication.

Finally, a future direction for my research is to look into the role of attention sampling heuristics for decision-making and action.


Peer reviewed articles and book chapters

Polaris Koi (Forthcoming). ”Accessing self-control.” Erkenntnis.

Polaris Koi (Forthcoming). ”Towards informed user decisions about pharmacological cognitive enhancement”. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics.

Helena Siipi & Polaris Koi (2021). ”The ethics of climate nudges: Central issues for applying choice architecture interventions to climate policy”. European Journal of Risk Regulation. DOI 10.1017/err.2021.49

Polaris Koi (2021). ”Genetics on the neurodiversity spectrum: Genetic, phenotypic and endophenotypic continua in autism and ADHD.Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2021.07.006

Polaris Koi & Olli I. Heimo (2021). ”Koneoppimisalgoritmit mahdollistavat jo ihmisen parantelun” (Machine learning algorithms enable human enhancement). in Panu Raatikainen (ed.), Tekoäly, ihminen ja yhteiskunta: Filosofisia näkökulmia (AI, humanity and society: Philosophical perspectives). Helsinki: Gaudeamus.

Polaris Koi (2020). ”Born Which Way? ADHD, Situational Self-Control, and Responsibility”. Neuroethics. DOI 10.1007/s12152-020-09439-3

Polaris Koi, Susanne Uusitalo and Jarno Tuominen (2018). “Self-Control in Responsibility Enhancement and Criminal Rehabilitation.” Criminal Law and Philosophy. DOI 10.1007/s11572-017-9423-z

Juha Räikkä and Polaris Koi (2016). “Mahdolliset ja mahdottomat poliittiset järjestelyt” (Possible and Impossible Political Arrangements). in Ilkka Niiniluoto, Tuomas Tahko & Teemu Toppinen (eds.), MahdollisuusHelsinki: Suomen Filosofinen Yhdistys (Philosophical Society of Finland).

Popular articles and publications

Polaris Koi & Kaisa Kärki (2020). ”Toimijuuden tutkimus monitieteisessä lukupiirissä” (Study of agency in a multidisciplinary reading group). Niin & Näin 3 (20): 129.

Polaris Koi (2018). “Human Enhancement for Freedom.” In Ezio di Nucci & Stefan Storrie (eds.), 1984 and Philosophy. Chicago: Open Court.

Book reviews

Polaris Koi (2019). “Behaving: What’s Genetic, What’s Not, and Why Should We Care? By Kenneth F. Schaffner, New York, Oxford University Press.” Philosophical Psychology, online first.

Polaris Koi (2018). “Review – In Praise of Desire, by Nomy Arpaly and Timothy Schroeder, Oxford University Press, 2014.” Metapsychology online reviews.

Policy briefs

Polaris Koi & Helena Siipi (2021). ”Eettisesti kestävillä tuuppauksilla kohti ilmastoviisasta toimintaa.” (Ethically sustainable nudging for climate wise action). Climate-Nudge. 

Curriculum Vitae