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John F. Halpin

Headshot - JOHN F. HALPIN

Title: Associate Professor
Office: 750 Mathematics and Science Center
Phone: (248) 370-2264
Fax: (248) 370-3144
Email: [email protected]
The Logic Café

Ph.D., University of Illinois (Chicago)

Major Fields:
Philosophy of Science, Logic

Teaching: John Halpin teaches Logic, Philosophy of Science, and Philosophy of Mind.

  • Two Web resources for all these classes are (the Internet's virtual symbolic logic TA including an online textbook) and Logic for Applications (a guide to logic as used in various fields in philosophy of science and metaphysics – under construction).
  • Another logic text book and virtual teaching assistant for general logic is in progress: The Logic Café: Formal and Informal Argument.

Research Interests: Currently Halpin works in various areas of philosophy of science and their relation to metaphysics, philosophy of language and philosophy of logic.

  • Work in progress includes a book tentatively titled Humean Physicalism. This is work applying the systems view of scientific law (a perspectival best systems account) to issues in various scientific disciplines, metaphysics and the philosophy of logic.
  • Part of the Humean Physicalism project is a draft article relating the systems view of law to the philosophy of mind: "Hard Problems, Interpretive Concepts, and Humean Laws" (.doc). This paper argues that the problem of consciousness can be handled like the problem of objective chance: both concepts have reality arising from their best system. Chances, according to David Lewis, are objective insofar as the best system includes them. The same, I argue, is true for mental terms including qualitative ones: they are real insofar as they are including in the best theory of mind. This will make best sense given what I have called a "perspectival best system account." (See the articles below for more on this.) Qualia are real insofar as they are a part of the best system from the first person perspective.
  • The Myopic Anthropic Principle: an attempt to show that the popular anthropic reasoning of our time – often taken to show that laws of nature are fine-tuned by a god for us – should be seen merely as an indication of fine-tuning by us. This preference for short-sightedness in this case is shown (shown?) to support the best-system account of scientific law. "Fine-Tuning Arguments and the Concept of Law" (.doc)

Some of his recent publications are listed below:

The Logic Cafe (1999-2005; an online textbook and virtual teaching assistant in symbolic logic)

"Scientific Law: A Perspectival Account" (.doc), Erkenntnis; 2003, 58(2): 137-168.

"Nomic Necessity and Empiricism" (.doc), NOUS 1999, Vol. 33: 630-643.

"Lewis, Thau, and Hall on Chance and the Best-System Account of Law" (.doc), Philosophy of Science, June 1998: 349-60

"Legitimizing Chance: The Best-System Approach to Probabilistic Laws in Physical Theory" (.doc), Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 1994, 72(3): 317-338.

"What is the Logical Form of Probability Assignment in Quantum Mechanics?" (.pdf from the JSTORE link; click here for O.U. only), Philosophy of Science, 1991, 58: 36-60. (Reprinted in the 1991 Philosopher's Annual.)

Department of Philosophy

Mathematics and Science Center, Room 752
146 Library Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4479
(location map)
(248) 370-3390
fax: (248) 370-3157