Professor and Director of the Center for Formal Epistemology

Baker Hall 135K



Research Interests

I am mainly interested in how scientific method could possibly lead us to true generalizations about Nature; generalizations that extend infinitely beyond our current, finite perspective. Standard philosophy of science sidesteps this question by asking, instead, about the meanings of "justification" and "rationality" a different matter entirely. I put the former question front and center, so that methodological normativity must be traced back to truth-finding efficacy, rather than to sociological generalizations about scientific practice. In this respect, my approach to epistemology closely parallels work in theoretical computer science and the foundations of mathematics, in which the central question is existence of a reliable procedure for finding the right answer to a question. The shift in emphasis results in a fresh, new perspective on a number of standard issues in epistemology and the philosophy of science, such as:
  • Ockham's razor and realism (NSF project page)
  • How rationality can impede the search for truth
  • The logic of discovery
  • Goodman's new riddle of induction
  • Underdetermination and uncomputability
  • A defense of infinite epistemic regress
  • Belief revision
  • Relativism and convergent realism
  • Causal inference
  • Distinguishing chaos from non-chaos
  • Epistemic logic

I have side interests in the philosophy of religion and eastern philosophy.

Selected Publications



  • 80-105: Freshman Seminar on Mysticism
  • 80-120: Reflections on Science
  • 80-201: Epistemology
  • 80-202: Metaphysics
  • 80-210: Self-paced Introduction to Logic
  • 80-220: Philosophy of Science
  • 80-251: Ancient Philosophy
  • 80-252: Medieval Philosophy
  • 80-252: History of Modern Philosophy
  • 80-265: Philosophy of Religion
  • 80-310: Logic and Computability
  • 80-311: Logic and Artificial Intelligence
  • 80-311: Goedel and Undecidability
  • 80-312: Probability and Artificial Intelligence
  • 80-812: Seminar on Formal Learning Theory
  • 80-411/711: Computability and Learnibility
  • 80-411/711: Descriptive Set Theory
  • 80-518: Epistemology Seminar
  • 80-602: Proseminar

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