Paul Franco

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Contact Information
Email address: 
Dissertation Title: 
The Constitutive A Priori and the Structure of Physical Knowledge [Deposited April 2011]
Research Interests: 
  • History of Modern Philosophy (esp. Kant)
  • History of Analytic Philosophy (esp. Logical Empiricism)
  • Philosophy of Science

My main research and teaching interests are in the history of modern philosophy, the history of 20th Century analytic philosophy, and the philosophy of science. My dissertation and future research are part of an expansionary and revisionary trend in studying philosophy’s most recent past. In my dissertation, I was particularly interested in tracing the development in the early 20th century of Immanuel Kant’s fundamental insight in the Critique of Pure Reason. Kant’s insight was that certain a priorielements of knowledge provide the conceptual and methodological background necessary for making precise judgments about space, time, and objects and their relationships in space and time. Beginning with my own interpretation of Kant’s insight, my dissertation shows how Kantian minded philosophers of science in the early 20th century modify it in light of the relativistic revolution in physics. From there, I drew lessons for contemporary attempts to understand the possibility and conditions of objective physical knowledge.

Previous Degrees: 
  • B.A in Philosophy with Honors, Colorado State University 2000
  • M.A in Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania, 2006

Other training:

NEH Summer Seminar for College and University Teachers, Princeton University, “20th Century American Philosophy: Quine and Davidson” June – July 2011

Institut Wiener Kreis, Vienna Summer University, "The Culture of Science and its Philosophy," Summer 2009

Publications: 

Papers:

“Are Kant’s Concepts and Methodology Inconsistent with Scientific Change? Constitutivity and the Synthetic Method in Kant,” Accepted to HOPOS: The Journal for the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science


Presentations: 

Invited presentations

  • “Can Kant Account for Scientific Progress? Constitutivity and the Synthetic Method in Kant,” Siena College, Loudonville NY, February 2011 [Paper distributed beforehand, discussion session]
  • "On the Very Idea of the Constitutive A Priori" Haverford College, Haverford PA, May 2010

At peer-reviewed conferences

  • "Genetic and Structural Philosophies of Science" Sydney-Tilburg conference on The Future of Philosophy of Science, Tilburg Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Tilburg, Netherlands, April 2010
  • "Hans Reichenbach's Transcendental Method and the Constitutive A Priori," 25th Boulder Conference on the History and Philosophy of Science, October 2009; 1st Colombian Conference on Logic, Epistemology, and Philosophy of Science, November 2009
  • "Reframing the Quine/Carnap Debate," 1st European Philosophy of Science
    Association, Madrid, November 2007

Other presentations

  • "Comments on Dai Heide's 'Kant's Rejected Alternative'" 1st Princeton-Penn-Columbia Graduate Conference in the History of Philosophy, Princeton, NJ, April 2010
  • "C.I. Lewis's Conceptual Pragmatism," Vienna Summer University on 'The Culture of Science and Its Philosophy', Vienna, July 2009
Awards: 
  • Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2009-2010
  • Bacon Fellowship for Summer Study, 2009
  • Ford Foundation Diversity Dissertation Fellowship Alternate, 2009
  • Willard O. Eddy Scholar at Colorado State University, 2003
Advisors: 

Paul Guyer (supervisor), Elisabeth Camp, Michael Weisberg