Department of Philosophy

Benjamin Jantzen

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

Dr. Jantzen is interested in the contents and character of the natural world and how we come to know it. Mostly this amounts to a concern with questions about language and inference in science: How and to what do scientific terms refer? How do we infer successful theories from limited observations of the world? Some of his past projects are about the interpretation of talk about "information" in biology and whether quantum physics is compatible with an atomistic view of the world.

His current research is focused on building new kinds of algorithms for automated scientific discovery. In other words, a robot scientist. He believes that doing so is the best way of testing answers to questions about scientific inference: working algorithms provide the most concrete answers possible about how (if not why) various sorts of induction are possible. Doing so is also a way of getting at questions of meaning and reference in scientific theory.

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 Publications and Further Information

For access to a list of recent publications, a current CV, or his research blog, see Dr. Jantzen's personal website.