May 2015   I’ll be teaching in Columbia’s famous Core Curriculum next year. I think it will be a lot of fun!   I’ll try to finish by then a draft of my book on the history of induction.

 

 

Blog

 

Induction Without the Uniformity Principle

Where did we get the idea that every induction includes some uniformity principle as a presumed premise—a premise that things will continue as they have, that the unobserved were, are, or will be like the observed? It turns out you don’t need this in a theory of induction.

 

How to Think Through and Argue About Public Policies

The History of Induction

Mill Came to Bury Induction, Not to Praise It.

Free Will: A Kind of Will

Ethics: The Science for Finding Happiness

More . . .

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Scholarship

The main theme of my research is that the philosophical problem of induction is an artifact of a bad turn taken in the early 19th century, by which induction came to be conceived as a logic of propositional inference that depends on a suppressed uniformity principle. In antiquity and from Bacon to Whewell, induction was instead conceived as a logic of classification.

Teaching

Since 2012, I have been teaching one seminar every fall for the Political Theory Project at Brown University. Two have been on 20th-century defenders of capitalism, one on Ayn Rand specifically. I taught similar seminars and ones on history of scientific method for several years at Stanford University. In 2011, I taught a course on history of science at Stevens Institute of Technology.

Service

Board of Advisors, College of Arts and Letters, Stevens Institute of Technology • Occasional referee for HOPOS • Founder and Chairman, Anthem Foundation for Objectivist Scholarship, 2001–10 • Board Member, Ayn Rand Institute, 2004–10 • Advisor, John P. McCaskey Foundation

Students’ Comments

“By far the most challenging and most rewarding course I’ve taken thus far at Stanford.” • “One of the best classes I’ve taken at Brown!” • “I’ve always liked precision of logic but wasn’t aware how it could be applied to morality.” • “It’s one of those classes that changes the way you look at things.”

Photograph of JohnAfter spending twenty years in the computer business, I went back to school and got a PhD in history from Stanford. I mostly now research the history of philosophy of science. I blog once a month on various topics from (what I think is) an Objectivist perspective.

 

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