My Paper Published in Philosophy of Science

My paper, “Past Longevity as Evidence for the Future,” appears in the new issue (Vol. 76, No. 1) of Philosophy of Science, a leading mainstream academic journal of philosophy. The abstract and acknowledgment—including my acknowledgment of the epistemology of Ayn Rand—are here, on the Web site of the University of Chicago Press.

(Update, 6/29/2011: Read about my revised and expanded paper, now available online.)

Part of my paper refutes what is known as the Doomsday Argument. But far more important than what the paper argues against is what the paper argues for: an objective means for using knowledge of the past as evidence for the future.

This paper represents a small but significant part of my work, begun in the early 1990s, toward the development of a full theory of knowledge; this larger work includes a theory of causality and induction, and draws heavily on my study of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. Completing this project would take many years even under the best conditions. Unfortunately, due to the need to make a living, neither my collaborator Glenn Marcus nor I have had much time to devote to this project the past several years. Since submitting my paper in May 2007, and apart from revisions I made after conditional acceptance in August 2008, I have done essentially no research. Glenn and I look forward to the day when we can give our enjoyable project in epistemology the time it requires.

As for my paper just published, I chose to write it and submit it for publication because it addresses a delimited topic of much current interest to many philosophers and scientists. The next such paper I might consider for publication in an academic journal is on my theory of propositions. My initial paper on propositions has already been written, but it would have to be revised in order to be acceptable to an academic journal; specifically, it would have to deal much more with the mainstream contemporary academic literature instead of dealing almost exclusively with the Aristotelian and Randian traditions. (In particular, I would have to explain in more detail how my theory solves the puzzles that plague other contemporary theories.) I have not decided whether I want to undertake that task, since my theory is a clean break and fresh start from the mainstream anyway.

Now that some of my work in epistemology will, for the first time, have more than a very small (though distinguished) readership, perhaps others will be able to build or improve upon my work in ways I had not envisioned. That prospect is, to my mind, the best reward of being published.

9 thoughts on “My Paper Published in Philosophy of Science

  1. In 1671, John Locke and a few friends met to discuss the ethical, religious, and political problems of their turbulent time. They made little progress. Locke realized that they had to go deeper, down to the roots, down to understanding what man can know and what his limits are. He set off to find answers. About 18 years later, he published the first edition of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. When Locke died in 1704, he was working on a fifth edition of his expanded work, one of the most influential works on epistemology of modern times.

    Persistence is a virtue.

    Those who are not writers or editors or publishers do not understand the enormous amount of time required to think, research, organize, write, edit, submit to criticism, proofread, and publish.

    Congratulations on having your work published.

  2. Ron

    Congratulations! I second Burgess Laughlin’s comment that

    “Persistence is a virtue. Those who are not writers or editors or publishers do not understand the enormous amount of time required to think, research, organize, write, edit, submit to criticism, proofread, and publish.”

    It took Ayn Rand two years of intense work to complete Galt’s speech–about 13 days per page! Highly creative work that breaks new ground and solves difficult problems in original ways is very time-consuming even for the greatest geniuses. Stephen Wolfram’s principle of computational irreducibility goes some way towards explaining why.

    The problems you are interested in are of the first order of importance. I hope you find a way to continue your research soon.



Comments are closed.