•  2
    This paper explains Sophie de Grouchy’s philosophical debts to Adam Smith. I have three main reasons for this: first, it should explain why eighteenth-century philosophical feminists found Smith, who has—to put it mildly—not been a focus of much recent feminist admiration, a congenial starting point for their own thinking; second, it illuminates De Grouchy’s considerable philosophical originality, especially her important, overlooked contributions to political theory; third, it is designed to re…Read more
  • In this paper I distinguish four methods of empirical inquiry in eighteenth century natural philosophy. In particular, I distinguish among what I call, the mathematical-experimental method; the method of experimental series; the method of inspecting ideas; the method of natural history. While such a list is not exhaustive of the methods of inquiry available, even so, focusing on these four methods will help in diagnosing a set of debates within what has come to be known as ‘empiricism’; througho…Read more
  •  1
    Introduction
    with Justin E. H. Smith and Mogens Lærke
    In Mogens Laerke, Justin E. H. Smith & Eric Schliesser (eds.), Philosophy and its History: Aims and Methods in the Study of Early Modern Philosophy, Oxford University Press Usa. 2013.
    The introduction explain the need for how an international, inclusive discussion about the range of different methodological approaches from different traditions of philosophy can be read alongside each other and be seen in sometimes very critical conversation with each other. In addition, the introduction identifies four broad themes in the volume: the largest group of chapters advocate methods that promote history of philosophy as an unapologetic, autonomous enterprise with its own criteria wi…Read more
  •  10
    This paper offers a composite portrait of the concept of magnanimity in nineteenth-century America, focusing on Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and Henry David Thoreau. A composite portrait, as a method in the history of philosophy, is designed to bring out characteristic features of a group's philosophizing in order to illuminate characteristic features that may still resonate in today's philosophy. Compared to more standard methods in the historiography of philosophy, the construction o…Read more
  •  37
    Synthetic philosophy
    Biology and Philosophy 34 (2): 19. 2019.
    In this essay, I discuss Dennett’s From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds and Godfrey Smith’s Other Minds: The Octopus and The Evolution of Intelligent Life from a methodological perspective. I show that these both instantiate what I call ‘synthetic philosophy.’ They are both Darwinian philosophers of science who draw on each other’s work. In what follows I first elaborate on synthetic philosophy in light of From Bacteria and Other Minds; I also explain my reasons for introducing…Read more
  •  3
    Introduction
    with Zvi Biener
    In Zvi Biener & Eric Schliesser (eds.), Newton and Empiricism, Oxford University Press. 2014.
    The introduction considers the state of scholarship on empiricism as a philosophical and historical category, particularly as it pertains to experimental philosophy. It concludes that empiricism properly understood is a rich category encompassing epistemic, semantic, methodological, experimental, and moral elements. Its richness makes it a suitable lens through which to account for actual historical complexity. The introduction relates the category to the work of Sir Isaac Newton, who influenced…Read more
  •  11
    Author Meets Critics
    Journal of Scottish Philosophy 16 (3): 272-282. 2018.
  •  14
    Sophie de Grouchy, de traditie van de twee vrijheden en de missende moeder van het liberalisme1
    Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 109 (1): 7-23. 2017.
  •  18
    Introduction to Newton and Empiricism
    with Zvi Biener
    In Zvi Biener & Eric Schliesser (eds.), Newton and Empiricism, Oxford University Press. pp. 1-15. 2014.
  •  141
    The Certainty, Modality, and Grounding of Newton’s Laws
    with Zvi Biener
    The Monist 100 (3): 311-325. 2017.
    Newton began his Principia with three Axiomata sive Leges Motus. We offer an interpretation of Newton’s dual label and investigate two tensions inherent in his account of laws. The first arises from the juxtaposition of Newton’s confidence in the certainty of his laws and his commitment to their variability and contingency. The second arises because Newton ascribes fundamental status both to the laws and to the bodies and forces they govern. We argue the first is resolvable, but the second is no…Read more
  •  8
    Newton and Empiricism (edited book)
    with Zvi Biener
    Oxford University Press. 2014.
    This is the first volume of original commissioned papers on the subject of Newton and empiricism. The chapters, contributed by a leading team of both established and younger international scholars, explore the nature and extent of Newton's relationship to a variety of empiricisms and empiricists
  •  26
    On Philosophical Translator-Advocates and Linguistic Injustice
    Philosophical Papers 47 (1): 93-121. 2018.
  • Adam Smith was a famous economist and moral philosopher. This book treats Smith also as a systematic philosopher with a distinct epistemology, an original theory of the passions, and a surprising philosophy mind. The book argues that there is a close, moral connection between Smith's systematic thought and his policy recommendations.
  •  30
    Nothing Much for Philosophers
    Philosophy of the Social Sciences 48 (1): 40-46. 2018.
    In this article, I argue that by discarding the significance of philosophical methods and tools, the picture of field philosophy offered in Socrates Tenured is more akin to public interest consulting than to philosophy.
  •  16
    Response to Amy Olberding, "Philosophical Exclusion and Conversational Practices"
    Philosophy East and West 67 (4): 1038-1044. 2017.
    A full third of the book is devoted to "Buddhist themes," and although I am unfortunately unqualified to comment on its exegetical and interpretative quality, I can report that I found the discussion fascinating and enlightening. Priest gives us clear, precise, technical, and philosophically sophisticated theorizing based around these thinkers, giving the lie to the not-uncommon trope among analytic philosophers that so-called "continental" and Eastern thought are inherently wooly, without rigor…Read more
  •  22
    Evaluating Philosophy as Exploratory Research
    Metaphilosophy 48 (3): 227-244. 2017.
    This article addresses the question how philosophy should be evaluated in a research-grant funding environment. It offers a new conception of philosophy that is inclusive and builds on familiar elements of professional, philosophical practice. Philosophy systematically questions the questions we ask, the concepts we use, and the values we hold. Its product is therefore rarely conclusive but can be embodied in everything we do. This is typical of explorative research and differentiates it from ex…Read more
  • . 2016.
  •  34
    Chapter one is an introduction. In chapter two, I argue that, due to a lack of knowledge of Newton, Hume is unable to use the "Science of Man" to provide a foundation for the other sciences. Hume's account of causality and the missing shade of blue receive special attention. Hume tries, without paying attention to scientific practice, to constrain what science can be about. ;In chapter three, I reconstruct Adam Smith's epistemology. The major theoretical concept of Smith's moral psychology, the …Read more
  •  121
    In this paper I call attention to Adam Smith’s 'Considerations Concerning the First Formation of Languages' in order to facilitate understanding Adam Smith from a Darwinian perspective. By ‘Darwinian’ I mean a position that explains differential selection over time through natural mechanisms. First, I argue that right near the start of Wealth of Nations Smith signals that human nature has probably evolved over a very long amount of time. Second, I connect this evidence with an infamous passage o…Read more
  •  71
    In this essay, I use a general argument about the evidential role of data in ongoing inquiry to show that it is fruitful for economic historians and historians of economics to collaborate more frequently. The shared aim of this collaboration should be to learn from past economic experience in order to improve the cutting edge of economic theory. Along the way, I attack a too rigorous distinction between the history of economics and economic history. By drawing on the history of physics, I argue …Read more
  •  187
    In this paper I investigate two denials in Milton Friedman's Nobel Lecture (1976). The first is [i] the denial that 'Economics and its fellow social sciences' ought to be 'regarded more nearly as branches of philosophy.' The second is [ii] the denial that economics is 'enmeshed with values at the outset because they deal with human behaviour' (267). I show that Friedman's appeal to his methodology in the Nobel lecture fails on conceptual grounds internal to Friedman's methodology. Moreover, I sh…Read more
  •  31
    The main task for philosophers is introducing, clarifying, articulating, or simply redirecting concepts as—to echo Quine’s poetic formulation— “devices for working a manageable structure into the flux of experience.” I sometimes use “coining concepts” as shorthand for this task. When the concepts are quantitative they are part of a possible science ; when the concepts are qualitative they can be part of a possible philosophy. Of course, in practice, concepts are oft en stillborn, while others ha…Read more
  •  400
    Smith's Humean criticism of Hume's account of the origin of justice
    with Spencer J. Pack
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 44 (1): 47-63. 2006.
    It is argued that Adam Smith criticizes David Hume's account of the origin of and continuing adherence to the rule of law for being not sufficiently Humean. Hume explained that adherence to the rule of law originated in the self-interest to restrain self-interest. According to Smith, Hume does not pay enough attention to the passions of resentment and admiration, which have their source in the imagination. Smith's offers a more naturalistic and evolutionary account of the psychological pre-condi…Read more
  •  108
    Newton and Spinoza: On motion and matter (and God, of course)
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (3): 436-458. 2012.
    This study explores several arguments against Spinoza's philosophy that were developed by Henry More, Samuel Clarke, and Colin Maclaurin. In the arguments on which I focus, More, Clarke, and Maclaurin aim to establish the existence of an immaterial and intelligent God precisely by showing that Spinoza does not have the resources to adequately explain the origin of motion. Attending to these criticisms grants us a deeper appreciation for how the authority derived from the empirical success of New…Read more
  •  71
    The main point of this paper is to contribute to understanding Milton Friedman’s (1953) “The Methodology of Positive Economics” (hereafter F1953), one of the most influential statements of economic methodology of the twentieth century, and, in doing so, help discern the non trivial but complex role of philosophic ideas in the shaping of economic theorizing and economists’ self-conception. It also aims to contribute to a better understanding of the theoretical origins of the so-called ‘Chicago’ s…Read more