Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Ph.D. Carnegie Mellon University, 2010
226 Major Williams Hall | Email | (540) 231-1766 | Personal Website
Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Physics, Philosophy of Biology
Benjamin Jantzen's research is broadly concerned with the question of what if anything can be said about the existence and nature of unobservable entities, processes, and events in the natural world. He is especially concerned with clarifying the relationship between theories and their interpretations, as well as the role interpretations play in scientific practice. His past projects have included an explication of the concept of `code' in the context of molecular biology, a demonstration of the incoherence of interpretations that try to separate the notions of cardinality and individuality, and an argument for the incompatibility of particle interpretations with quantum theory. His current work concerns the significant influence quantum randomness has on biological processes, the interpretation of quantum mechanics in terms of spatial regions, and a general method for identifying individuals in the special sciences. Outside of his work in the philosophy of science, Dr. Jantzen has interests in judgment aggregation, inductive inference, pragmatism, and the philosophy of religion. He also maintains an active interest in experimental biology, especially butterfly flight.
Dr. Jantzen received his PhD in Logic, Computation, & Methodology from the Department of Philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University in 2010. In addition, he holds an MA in philosophy (also from CMU), an MS in physics from Cornell, and BS degrees in biology and physics from Penn State.
Recent Articles and Book Chapters
- "Peirce on miracles: the failure of Bayesian analysis," in Jake Chandler and Victoria Harrison (eds.), Probability in the Philosophy of Religion, Oxford University Press (expected publication date of June 2012).
- "An awkward symmetry: The tension between particle ontologies and permutation invariance," Philosophy of Science 78(1): 39-59, 2010.
- "No two entities without identity," Synthese 181(3): 433-450, 2010.
- "Peirce on the method of balancing `likelihoods'," Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 45(4): 668-688, 2009.
- "Biological codes and topological causation," (with D. Danks) Philosophy of Science 75: 259-277, 2008.
- "Hindwings are unnecessary for flight but essential for execution of normal evasive flight in Lepidoptera," (with T. Eisner) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105(43): 16636-16640, 2008.