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Research Interests

My main research interests are in the philosophy of science, the philosophy of physics, philosophy of probability, philosophy of economics and metaphysics. In the philosophy of physics, I have analyzed the curious nature of causality, probabilities and properties in the quantum realm and randomness and chaos in the classical realm. In the philosophy of probability, I have studied de Finetti’s subjective theory of probability and its application to the quantum realm and propensity theories of probability. In the philosophy of economics, my research interests are mainly in rational decision theory, the conceptual foundations of economics and the relations between economics and political philosophy. In addition, I have also worked on the conceptual foundations of causal inference and the nature of mathematical explanations of physical facts.

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Teaching interests

I have taught undergraduate and graduate courses in epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of economics, philosophy of science, philosophy of physics, philosophy of probability and political philosophy. I have supervised MSc theses in the philosophy of economics and political philosophy and PhD theses in the philosophy of economics, philosophy of physics and philosophy of science.

Selected publications

Forthcoming: A special issue on Probability in Biology and Physics, forthcoming in Erkenntnis (co-edited with Philippe Huneman).

2015: “The Propensity Interpretation of Probability: A Reconsideration”, Erkenntnis (published online, July 7, 2015), pp. 1-83.

2012: “On Supernatural Miracles and Laws of Nature”, Toronto Journal of Theology 28/1, 145-152.

2012: “The World According to de Finetti: On de Finetti’s probability theory and its application to quantum mechanics”, in Y. Ben Menachem and M. Hemmo (eds.), Probability in Physics, Springer, The Frontiers Collection, pp. 249-280.

2011: Review article on the “Ergodic Hierarchy of Randomness”, The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy subject to minor revisions (co- authored with Roman Frigg and Fred Kronz). http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ergodic-hierarchy/

2008: “On Predictions in Retro-causal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics”, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics (an issue on Time-Symmetric Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics), 709-735.

2007: “Action at a distance in quantum mechanics”, The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-action-distance/

2006: “The ergodic hierarchy, decay of correlations, and Hamiltonian chaos”, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 37, 661-991. (co-authored with Roman Frigg and Fred Kronz)

2006: “A Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics in Terms of Relational Properties” (co-authored with Meir Hemmo), in W. Demopoulos and I. Pitowsky (eds.), Physical Theory and Its Interpretation: Essays in Honor of Jeffrey Bub, Western Ontario Series in Philosophy of Science, Springer, pp. 1-28.

2002: “On Causal Inference in Determinism and Indeterminism”, in H. Atmanspacher and R. Bishop (eds.), Between Chance and Choice: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Determinism, Imprint Academic, pp. 237-278.

2001: “On Chance in Causal Loops”, Mind 110, 1-23.

1995: “What Econometrics Cannot Teach Quantum Mechanics“, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 26, 163-200.

Supervisions (at the University of Toronto)

  • Agnes Bolinska: Philosophy of Scientific Representation, graduated October 2014.
  • Chris Belanger: Philosophy of Chaos, graduated October 2014.
  • Mike Thicke: Economic Philosophy of Science, in progress.
  • Noah Stemeroff: On the Role of Mathematics in Theoretical Physics, in progress.

PHD Committees (at the University of Toronto)

  • Boaz Miller, Social Epistemology, December 2010.
  • Isaac Record, Philosophy of Scientific Instruments, November 2011.
  • Burke, Carol-Ann, Post-colonial Science Education, October 2013.
  • Alex Koo, Philosophy of Mathematics, November 2014.
  • Mike Stuart, Philosophy of Thought Experiments, March 2015.
  • Greg Lusk, Philosophy of climate models, September 2015.
  • Bruce Petrie, History of Mathematics, in progress.

Contact Information

  • Title: Associate Professor
  • Research Area: Philosophy of Probability, Philosophy of Physics, Philosophy of Economics
  • Location: VC 311
  • Telephone number: (416) 978–3224
  • E-mail address: joseph.berkovitz@utoronto.ca

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