chris swoyer

Chris Swoyer Professor Emeritus & Affiliated Professor of Cognitive Psychology

Ph.D., Minnesota
Research areas: Philosophy of Psychology & Social Science, Applied Epistemology, History of Modern Philosophy, Philosophy of Logic

(405) 325-6447

I retired in June of 2012. Over the years I have worked on philosophy of psychology, history of modern philosophy, and philosophy of logic. I still publish some in those areas, but I'm now more interested in contemporary social and political thought, and the arts, and in cultural and philosophical thought over the last century, than in academic philosophy. I expect most of my future writing to reflect these more recent interests. I now also spend a significant portion of my time as a goat and chicken farmer at Hollow Farms (you can visit us on Face Book).

I grew up in Belleville, Kansas and worked my way through college playing in rock-and-roll bands. I majored in psychology and eventually took a second major in philosophy in hopes that it would help me see how the data we got in the lab were related to the theories we were trying to test--a topic that still interests me.

I have (qualified) hopes for the internet as a way of freely disseminating information (in a way that bypasses big business and big government) for everyone everywhere, especially those in places where they couldn't otherwise get it, and for those who couldn't otherwise afford it. Hence, for some years I have been co-editor for the philosophy of science area in, and done other work on, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (the best, I not disinterestedly think, philosophical encyclopedia in the world, and we are working very hard to keep it free for users all over the world). I also have a 640-page textbook on critical reasoning that is, along with slides, freely available on the net. Information is a source of empowerment, and I have an on-going project to make additional sorts of information, including information for nonspecialists, freely accessible on the net.

My wife Shari and I live on eleven wooded acres about ten miles east of Norman. Never going back to the city.

Selected publications:

One of Professor Swoyer's papers was selected as one of the ten best philosophy papers of 1997 and reprinted in Philosopher's Annual, 20 (1998). Two other papers are included in the top ten most cited articles in the arts and humanities by Univerisity of Oklahoma faculty: "The Nature of Natural Laws," Australasian Journal of Philosophy 60 (1982), and "Structural Representation and Surrogative Reasoning," Synthese 87 (1991). (.pdf)

"How Does Language Affect Thought?" forthcoming in Language and Cognition (Taylor and Francis). (.pdf)

Relativism,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

“Judgment and Decision Making: Extrapolations and Applications,” in Judgments, Decisions, and Public Policy, Rajeev Gowda and Jeffrey C. Fox (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 9-35. (.pdf)

“Conceptualism,” in Universals, Concepts and Qualities: New Essays on the Meaning of Predicates, P. F. Strawson and Arindam Chakrabarti (eds.) (Ashgate, 2006), pp. 127-154.

"Structural Representation and Surrogative Reasoning"Synthese 87 (1991). (.pdf)

“Rational Choice” (with Steve Ellis), International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 2nd  Edition, vol. 9, William A. Darity, Jr. (ed.) (Gale Group, 2008), pp. 2006-2008. (.pdf)

Properties,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

“Leibnizian Expression,” Journal of the History of Philosophy, 33 (1995); 65-99. (.pdf)

“Abstract Entities” in Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics, Theodore Sider, John Hawthorne, and Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.) (Blackwell, 2008), pp 1-31. (.pdf)

“Complex Predicates and Logics of Properties and Relations,” Journal of Philosophical Logic, 27 (1998); 295-325. (.pdf)

“Complex Predicates and Conversion Principles,” Philosophical Studies, 87 (1997); 1-32.  Selected as one of the ten best philosophy papers of 1997 and reprinted in Philosopher's Annual, 20 (1998).

“C. I. Lewis's Calculus of Predicates,” History and Philosophy of Logic, 16 (1995); 19-37.

“Leibniz's Calculus of Real Addition,” Studia Leibnitiana, 26 (1994); 1-30.

“Hume and the Three Views of the Self,” Hume Studies, 8 (1982); 43-61. (.pdf)

Recent courses:

History of Social and Political Philosophy
Dual-Process Theories of Cognition
Rawl's Political Liberalism
Later Wittgenstein
Nature & Nurture
Symbolic Logic II