University of Pittsburgh
History and Philosophy of Science
PhD, 2014
Ames, Iowa, United States of America
  •  9
    The Believing Scientist: Essays on Science and Religion. By Stephen M. Barr
    American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 92 (4): 703-706. 2018.
  •  21
    Interventionist Causation in Thermodynamics
    Philosophy of Science 84 (5): 1303-1315. 2017.
    The interventionist account of causation has been largely dismissed as a serious candidate for application in physics. This dismissal is related to the problematic assumption that physical causation is entirely a matter of dynamical evolution. In this article, I offer a fresh look at the interventionist account of causation and its applicability to thermodynamics. I argue that the interventionist account of causation is the account of causation that most appropriately characterizes the theoretic…Read more
  •  12
    Introduction to the CEPOS Discussion
    American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 92 (1): 107-121. 2018.
  •  29
    Methodology in Aristotle’s Theory of Spontaneous Generation
    Journal of the History of Biology 51 (2): 355-386. 2018.
    Aristotle’s theory of spontaneous generation offers many puzzles to those who wish to understand his theory both within the context of his biology and within the context of his more general philosophy of nature. In this paper, I approach the difficult and vague elements of Aristotle’s account of spontaneous generation not as weaknesses, but as opportunities for an interesting glimpse into the thought of an early scientist struggling to reconcile evidence and theory. The paper has two goals: to g…Read more
  •  102
    Interventionist Causation in Physical Science
    Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. 2014.
    The current consensus view of causation in physics, as commonly held by scientists and philosophers, has several serious problems. It fails to provide an epistemology for the causal knowledge that it claims physics to possess; it is inapplicable in a prominent area of physics (classical thermodynamics); and it is difficult to reconcile with our everyday use of causal concepts and claims. In this dissertation, I use historical examples and philosophical arguments to show that the interventionist …Read more
  •  26
    John Dalton’s puzzles: from meteorology to chemistry
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (1): 58-66. 2011.
    Historical research on John Dalton has been dominated by an attempt to reconstruct the origins of his so-called "chemical atomic theory". I show that Dalton's theory is difficult to define in any concise manner, and that there has been no consensus as to its unique content among his contemporaries, later chemists, and modern historians. I propose an approach which, instead of attempting to work backward from Dalton's theory, works forward, by identifying the research questions that Dalton posed …Read more
  •  191
    The Status of Laws of Nature in the Philosophy of Leibniz
    Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 85 149-160. 2011.
    Is it possible to take the enterprise of physics seriously while also holding the belief that the world contains an order beyond the reach of that physics? Is it possible to simultaneously believe in objective laws of nature and in miracles? Is it possible to search for the truths of physics while also acknowledging the limitations of that search as it is carried out by limited human knowers? As a philosopher, as a Christian, and as a participant in the physics of his day, Leibniz had an interes…Read more
  •  69
    An Epistemology of Causal Inference from Experiment
    Philosophy of Science 80 (5): 660-671. 2013.
    The manipulationist account of causation provides a conceptual analysis of cause-effect relationships in terms of hypothetical experiments. It also explains why and how experiments are used for the empirical testing of causal claims. This paper attempts to apply the manipulationist account of causation to a broader range of experiments—a range that extends beyond experiments explicitly designed for the testing of causal claims. I aim to show that the set of causal inferences afforded by an exper…Read more
  •  26
    Dalton’s Chemical Atoms versus Duhem’s Chemical Equivalents
    Philosophy of Science 78 (5): 842-853. 2011.
    Paul Needham has claimed in several recent papers that Dalton’s chemical atomism was not explanatory. I respond to his criticism of Dalton by arguing that explanation admits of degrees and that under a view that allows for a spectrum of explanatory value, it is possible to see ample worth in Dalton’s atomistic explanations. Furthermore, I argue that even Duhem, who rejected atomism, acknowledged the explanatory worth of Dalton’s atomism.