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Ryan Muldoon

M.A. in Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania

B.S. in Philosophy (with honors), University of Wisconsin - Madison

B.S. in Mathematics, University of Wisconsin - Madison


Dissertation Title: 

 Diversity and the Social Contract


2007: Summer School Support and Travel Award Santa Fe Institute

2007: Dean's Summer Fellowship in Philosophy Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania

2006: PSA Travel Grant Philosophy of Science Association and the National Science Foundation

2006: Summer School Support and Travel Award Santa Fe Institute

2006: Summer Research Grant
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania

2005: Russell Ackoff Doctoral Student Fellowship for Research on Human Decision Processes Center for Risk and Decision Processes, The Wharton School

2005: Provost's Travel Grant to attend Symposium on Risk and Uncertainty University of Pennsylvania

2005: Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Summer Research Travel Grant University of Pennsylvania

2004: Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Conference Travel Grant University of Pennsylvania


Cristina Bicchieri, Adrienne Martin, Samuel Freeman, Michael Weisberg

Research Interests

My dissertation project, "Diversity and the Social Contract", is an attempt to lay the foundations for a novel formulation of social contract theory in which diversity is a central concern. To do this, I offer a new moral stance that allows for substantive, fundamental moral disagreement, and then use this moral stance to develop a bargaining model in which agents can cooperate with only minimal conditions on their agreement. I demonstrate that, up to certain limits, a more diverse population is one that is more able to provide public goods. This framework is then used to argue that we ought to replace a notion of toleration with a more aggressive embrace of diversity. I see this project as an attempt to bring Mill's conception of experiments in living into the fold of contract theory.

Selected Publications

"Robust Simulations" Philosophy of Science 74 (December 2007)

"Epistemic Landscapes and the Division of Cognitive Labor" (With Michael Weisberg) Philosophy of Science (Forthcoming)

"Robustness and Idealization in Models of Cognitive Labor" (With Michael Weisberg) (Under Review)


"The View from Everywhere" The Epistemology of Liberal Democracy – Free Speech, Disagreement and Common Belief University of Copenhagen, Denmark, November 2008

"Epistemic Diversity and Epistemic Landscapes" Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association, Pittsburgh, November 2008

"Toward a Mechanism for Realizing Mill’s Experiments in Living" Tenth Conference of the International Society for Utilitarian Studies Kadish Center for Morality, Law and Public Affairs, UC – Berkeley, September 2008

"Agreeing to Disagree: How Conflicting Norms Can be Mutually Reinforcing" Fundacion Urrutia Elejalde XI Summer School on Economics and Philosophy: Social Norms San Sebastian, Spain, July 2008

"Spatial Models of Bargaining" Formal Methods in Philosophy Workshop University of Pennsylvania, May 2008

"Diversity and the Public Sphere" Democracy, Constitutionalism and Citizenship Graduate Workshop, University of Pennsylvania, November 2007.

"Correlating Strategies With Neighbors Even When The Goal is Anti-Correlation" 2007 Meeting of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology, Exeter, England, July 2007

"Diversity and the Social Contract" Santa Fe Institute Graduate Workshop in Computational Social Science Modeling and Complexity, Santa Fe, New Mexico, July 2007

"Social Epistemology and Individual Rationality" Fourth Annual Formal Epistemology Workshop, Carnegie Mellon University, May 2007

"How Computer Simulations are like Telescopes and Microscopes" Philosophy of Science Association 2006 Biennial Meeting, Vancouver, November 2006

Comments on Epsen's "Games with Zero-Knowledge Signaling" Third Annual Formal Epistemology Workshop, UC - Berkeley, May 2006

"The Emergence of Trust: Preventing Conflicts with Covenants" Mind, Brain, and Behavior Graduate Student Conference, Harvard University, May 2006

"The Need for a Plurality of Fairness Norms: An Evolutionary Account" Computing and Philosophy Conference (CAP 2005), Oregon State University, August, 2005

"Fairness Plurality: An Evolutionary Account" Social Network Analysis: Advances and Applications Forum, Oxford University, July, 2005

"Modeling the Emergence of Multiple Fairness Norms" (with Cristina Bicchieri) Social Dynamics Workshop, Santa Fe Institute, April, 2005

"On The Validity of Model-Based Arguments" Graduate Philosophy Conference, University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, April 2005