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Timothy McGrew
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University

Professor | Department of Philosophy
History and Philosophy of Physics (inc. astronomy), History and Philosophy of Probability, Confirmation Theory, and History of Philosophy of Science

Department of Philosophy
Moore Hall 3010

website | interview | timothy [dot] mcgrew [at] wmich [dot] edu

HPS Research Interests
I am intensely interested in epistemological issues in science, broadly conceived -- the nature and structure of reasonable belief, methodological controversies in the sciences, questions about the nature of mathematical knowledge and of logical truth, and the history of all of the above. I have a forthcoming book (with Lydia McGrew) on internalism in epistemology that deals with some of the issues regarding knowledge of logical truth, and I have published recently on induction, explanatory reasoning, cumulative case reasoning, and the use of probabilities in the fine-tuning argument.

I am particularly interested in the application of the probability calculus to classic philosophical arguments. This is a subject with a very rich history, and somewhere down the line I will probably put together a textbook on probability that will double as a short history of some of the most interesting strands of thought from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Some of the fundamental issues in dispute then are as yet unresolved -- the question of the viability of the principle of indifference, for example, is still with us in the form of maxent methods and the appeal to symmetry.

One of my long term projects is to put together a book on the History and Philosophy of Science that can serve not only as a text but also as a monograph that pulls together some of the methodological and epistemological themes from the history of science.

HPS Teaching Interests
I regularly teach a two semester sequence of courses in the history and philosophy of science at both the undergraduate and the graduate level. Part I goes from Democritus to Galileo; Part II goes from Newton through the 20th century. I also teach the upper level undergraduate courses in symbolic logic and scientific reasoning and the graduate seminars in philosophical applications of symbolic logic and philosophical applications of probability theory. On the side, I have taught independent studies recently in philosophy of mathematics.

HPS Representative Publications

Tim McGrew, Internalism and Epistemology: The Architecture of Reason. With Lydia McGrew. Forthcoming from Routledge.

Tim McGrew, “Has Plantinga Refuted the Historical Argument?” Philosophia Christi 6 (2004): 7-26.

Tim McGrew, “Confirmation, Heuristics, and Explanatory Reasoning.” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2003): 553-67.

Tim McGrew, “Probabilities and the Fine Tuning Argument: A Sceptical View.” With Lydia McGrew and Eric Vestrup. Mind 110 (2001): 1027-37. Anthologized in Neil A. Manson, ed., God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science. Routledge, 2003

Tim McGrew, “Direct Inference and the Problem of Induction.” The Monist 84 (2001): 153-74. An expanded version of this paper is anthologized in Henry Kyburg and Mariam Thalos, eds., Probability is the Very Guide of Life: The Philosophical Uses of Chance. Open Court, 2003.

Tim McGrew, “Physics in Islam.” In Helaine Selin, ed., The Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. Kluwer Academic Publications, 1997.

Fritz Allhoff, Marc Alspector-Kelly, and Tim McGrew (eds.), History of Philosophy of Science: Essential Readings with Commentary (under review, Blackwell Publishing).

Tim McGrew, "Philosophy of Logic" in Fritz Allhoff (ed.) (under review, Blackwell Publishing).

Tim McGrew, "Philosophy of Probability" in Fritz Allhoff (ed.) (under review, Blackwell Publishing).

  WMU History & Philosophy of Science | Copyright 2006