November 2014   This semester, I am teaching “Rival Defenses of American Capitalism” at Brown.   On October 17 at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Philosophy of Science, I gave a presentation on induction in the Socratic tradition.   I’m back to writing my book on the history of induction, Socrates to Popper, writing the chapter now from Richard Whately forward. Current conceptions of induction go back only to his 1826 Elements of Logic

Blog

 

Analytic Statements and Organic Concepts

Analytic statements have come to be disparaged. They shouldn’t be. We should bring them back, strip them of their association with a priori, and build up theories of inductively acquired analytic truths.

 

I Have a Right. Don’t Try to Stop Me.

Evil Deeds Can Have Good Results

Stop Pirating Copyrighted Course Readings

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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, but I also teach some history of 20th century political philosophy.

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