I received my Ph.D. in philosophy from Stanford University. My research focuses mainly on the foundations of physics as well as in the metaphysics of laws and chance. I have published in many areas of philosophy including philosophy of science, metaphysics, epistemology, history of philosophy, philosophical logic, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind.
I was led into philosophy when, as an undergraduate at Amherst College, I often rankled my physics professors with questions about what probability means, and my history professors with questions about counterfactuals (“if Kennedy had not been assassinated then the Vietnam war…”). They sent me to the philosophy department. There such questions were taken seriously, but no answers were provided. One of my teachers (Joe Epstein) told me that I would have to find answers for myself and that it would take a long time if ever. I am still thinking about them.
On Esptein’s advice I went to graduate school at Stanford. I intended to study logic and philosophy of physics with Patrick Suppes. I ended up writing my dissertation on modality and the semantics of names with Jaakko Hintikka. My first job was at the University of South Carolina. I moved to Rutgers in 1989 and have in my time here been chair and graduate director.
I am currently working the Templeton Project “What Breathes Fire into the Equations: The Metaphysics of Laws of Nature.” My project aims to explore Stephen Hawking’s question of what makes an equation (or generalization) express a law of nature. Central to this project is a book I am writing which defends a novel view of the metaphysics of laws, a view I call the “Package Deal Account”.