C.V.

Below is a summary of my CV and interests.  You can get my complete, and (hopefully) up-to-date, CV in PDF form by clicking here.

Education

  • Ph.D., Philosophy, University of Western Ontario, 2007 – 2014.

Dissertation Title: The Methodological Roles of Tolerance and Conventionalism in the Philosophy of Mathematics: Reconsidering Carnap’s Logic of Science (Link)

  • M.A.,  Philosophy, University of Western Ontario, 2006-2007.
  • H.B.A., Philosophy, University of Toronto, 2002-2006 (with distinction).

Areas of Specialization

Early Analytic Philosophy, History & Philosophy of Logic, Foundations & Philosophy of Mathematics

Areas of Competence

Metaphysics & Epistemology, History & Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Language

Areas of Interest

Meta-Philosophy & Philosophical Methodology, Leibniz, Hume, Thought Experiments, Moral Deference & Expertise, Philosophy of Humour

Dissertation Abstract

My dissertation makes two primary contributions. The first three chapters develop an interpretation of Carnap’s Meta-Philosophical Program which places stress upon his methodological analysis of the sciences over and above the Principle of Tolerance. Most importantly, Carnap sees philosophy as contiguous with science—as part of the scientific enterprise—utilizing the very same methods and subject to the same limitations. I argue Carnap’s understanding of mathematics as a set of formal auxiliaries is premised upon this prior analysis of the character of logico-mathematical knowledge, his understanding of its role in the language of science, and the methods used by practising mathematicians. Thus Tolerance, and so Carnap’s conventionalism, is licensed and justified by these methodological insights rather than acting to ground his entire program. Carnap’s recommended methodological reforms to philosophy thereby amount to philosophy as the explication of the concepts of science (including mathematics) through the construction of suitably robust meta-logical languages.

This reading is in contrast to the popular “Deflationary” interpretation of Carnap, as advocated by Warren Goldfarb and Thomas Ricketts.  The leading idea they attribute to Carnap is a Logocentrism: That philosophical assertions are always made relative to some particular language(s), and that our choice of syntactical rules for a language are constitutive of its inferential structure and methods of possible justification.  Consequently the Principle of Tolerance is considered the foundation of Carnap’s entire program. My third chapter argues that this reading makes Carnap’s program philosophically inert, and I present evidence that such a reading is misguided.

The final chapter extends and applies the methodological ideals of Carnap’s program to the ongoing debate between category- and set-theoretic foundations for mathematics. Recent criticisms of category theory as a foundation charge that it is neither autonomous from set theory, nor offers a suitable ontological grounding for mathematics. I argue that an analysis of concepts can be foundationally informative without requiring their construction from first principles, and that ontological worries can be put to one side in the investigation of their methodological and epistemic roles in science.

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