This website provides a brief overview of my work, variously as a policy advisor, consultant, and academic, with appointments in the Government of Canada and the University of Oxford.
Within the university walls, I lecture and write about theoretical and empirical aspects of scientific method. Over the past 15 years, I have done so with a primary focus on the foundations of the exact sciences, especially the foundations of physics and mathematics.
In more recent years, an accumulation of influences, including a stint lecturing in Oxford’s program in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, has led me to explore the bearing of my work on digital and data transformation, and on enterprise strategy more broadly. This informs my work as a policy advisor to government.
Now, much to my own surprise, I wear several hats and divide my time between several places, though mostly Ottawa and Toronto.
Scientific Methodology and Foundations of the Exact Sciences
Within the foundations of the exact sciences, much of my research has focused on the foundations of the theories of Newton and Einstein: it examines their articulation of a number of basic concepts; it examines the accounts of space, time, motion, and causality that they motivate; it examines their significance for the theory of theories. All of these interests, though motivated by concerns peculiar to the exact sciences, form part of a broader interest in the analysis and revision of our most basic scientific concepts and the place of a particular kind of philosophical or critical conceptual analysis in this task. (As for my particular stake in the debates, I argue that, despite appearances and a large literature to the contrary, Newton and Einstein proposed the very same kind of theory.)
I retain an affiliation as Associate Faculty at the University of Oxford, where previously I lectured in the programs in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (“PPE”) and Physics and Philosophy (“PhysPhil”), and with whose staff I continue to enjoy intellectual exchange. But I am not in Oxford much, having taken up a position as an advisor to the Canadian government on data strategy and governance.
Enterprise Strategy and Data Governance
I currently work in an in-house consultancy in government, where I give advice on developing the evidence base that supports strategic and operational planning in matters of income security and socio-economic development. This involves a swirl of economics, econometrics, methodology, sociological imagination, and horse sense, all set against a backdrop of legislation, regulation, and best practice. (In plain English, my team and I are helping the organization to play “Moneyball” with social statistics. It worked for Major League Baseball and we think it can work for the social contract.)