Gordon Purves, Ph.D.

Gordon Purves, Ph.D.

Associate Professor , Philosophy

Dr. Purves’ interests tend to focus more on the applications of philosophical methods and ideas to more concrete problems. His main interests are in the philosophy of science, in particular in questions concerning what makes certain scientific methodologies and investigations successful (or unsuccessful) and producing true knowledge, and in applied ethics, principally animal ethics and environmental ethics. Dr. Purves joined the Department of Philosophy in 2012.

Degrees and Certifications

    • Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Physics from Bucknell University
    • Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of South Carolina

Teaching Responsibilities

    Dr. Purves primarily teaches philosophy in the contemporary Anglophone traditions, with forays into the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Germanic traditions that inspired them.

    • The Art of Thinking
    • Introduction to Philosophy
    • Philosophy of Science
    • Environmental Ethics
    • Analytic Philosophy

Research Interests and Grants

    Much of Dr. Purves’ research has been in a prolonged investigation of the various ways that scientists use falsehoods in models that generate true knowledge of the world.  He also has strong interests in interpretations of quantum theory, in particular quantum statistical mechanics and quantum field theory, and a correlate interest in the representative power of abstract mathematical models.  In addition to his work in philosophy of science, Dr. Purves done research in applied ethics, in particular environmental ethics and animal ethics, and is currently completing a project on the nature of rationality and risk assessment in environmental policy.

Publications and Presentations

    View All Publications

    • "Finding Truth in Fiction: Identifying Non-fictions in Imaginary Cracks" Synthese 19:2 (January 2013) 235-51

Contact Information

Office Location & Hours

  • Location:
    Humanities Center of Acad Bldg HC*127
    College of Arts and Sciences
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