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, and pursued this work within higher education.
Recently, an accumulation of influences, including my work as a lecturer in Oxford’s program in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, has led me to explore the relevance and applicability of some of my earlier work to the development of public-sector strategy. This now informs my work as a policy advisor to government.
While my interests span 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.)
Currently I wear several hats and divide my time between Toronto and Ottawa. 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. This involves a swirl of economics, econometrics, methodology, strategic planning, and horse sense, all set against a backdrop of legislation, regulation, and best practice. Practically speaking, I give advice on developing the evidence base that supports strategic and operational planning in matters of income security. And this is not such an odd proposition for someone with an interest in the relation between theory and evidence.
I attach a bare-bones academic CV. Email me for the full thing.
For some indication of my work in other fields and beyond the university walls, see my LinkedIn profile, though this is similarly minimal. Email me for a résumé.