March 2015  

Feedback from my students is consistent.

They need and want help in learning to write concisely. 

I assign three 1000-word papers.

 

“. . . forced us to be concise writers.”

“. . . unlike in other classes, in which 12 page papers encourage long-windedness.”

“This is the class that has taught me the most about writing.”

 

Blog

 

Mill Came to Bury Induction, Not to Praise It.

John Stuart Mill did not come to praise induction but to bury it. He did not catalog the Methods of Experimental Inquiry—now called Mill’s Methods—because he thought they should be used in science but because he thought they were being used and no longer should be. He introduced the Hypothetico-Deductive Method to replace induction.

 

Free Will: A Kind of Will

Ethics: The Science for Finding Happiness

Analytic Statements and Organic Concepts

I Have a Right. Don’t Try to Stop Me.

Evil Deeds Can Have Good Results.

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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