I am a physicist, mathematician, and philosopher. I hold a permanent position as Chancellor’s Professor in the Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science at the University of California, Irvine, where I am also a member of the Center for Theoretical Behavioral Science, the Center for Cosmology, and the Jack W. Peltason Center for the Study of Democracy.  I am currently Department Chair for Logic and Philosophy of Science. I have previously been Suppes Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University and Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University; at Clare Hall College, Cambridge; at the Center for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science at the London School of Economics; and at the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh.

The Misinformation Age

I am the Secretary of the Philosophy of Physics Society, and I organize the Southern California Philosophy of Physics Group, which meets several times a quarter in Irvine.  I am the Editor-in-Chief of Philosophy of Science, the official journal of the Philosophy of Science Association; I am also Editor of the book series Cambridge Elements in Philosophy of Physics, published by Cambridge University Press.

My most recent book is The Misinformation Age: How False Beliefs Spread, co-authored with Cailin O’Connor. It was published in January 2019 by Yale University Press.  In it we use network models to  explore how social factors contribute to the persistence and spread of false beliefs, even when there is strong evidence available that those beliefs lead to poor outcomes.  We also discuss how these same social factors can be manipulated by industrial and political agents.Void: The Strange Physics of Nothing

I am also the author of two other books.  Void: The Strange Physics of Nothing, was published in November, 2016 by Yale University Press. It explores some historical and conceptual issues related to the physics of nothing, from controversies about empty space in the 17th century to the strange features of the vacuum state in quantum field theory today. My first book, The Physics of Wall Street, explains how ideas have moved from physics into financial modeling over the last century. It was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in early January, 2013.

The Physics of Wall Street Book Cover

More generally, my research concerns the mathematical and conceptual foundations of classical and quantum field theories. I also work on issues in general philosophy of science (and epistemology more broadly), with particular interest in questions concerning model building in finance; I maintain serious side interests in category theory and the foundations of mathematics, atomic physics and quantum control, and in non-relativistic quantum theory.

I am married to the philosopher Cailin O’Connor.  We have twin daughters, Evenstar and Vera, and a son, James, who is [truly] the 8th of his name.  We also have three cats and seven chickens.

A complete cv is available for download.