Brian Epstein

Contact Info:
Tufts University
Department of Philosophy
Miner Hall, Room 01
Medford, MA 02155

Office: 617.627.4701
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Associate Professor

Metaphysics, Philosophy of Social Science, Philosophy of Language

Brian Epstein received his PhD in philosophy from Stanford University, his master's in philosophy from Oxford University, and graduated summa cum laude with an AB in philosophy from Princeton University.  His research interests include philosophy of social science, metaphysics, and philosophy of language, focusing in particular on issues in the theory of reference and the ontology of social kinds. He also has interests in conceptual schemes, the philosophy of music, and the philosophy of economics.  Between degree programs, he worked at a number of technology startups and consulting firms.  His interests outside of philosophy include music and sound production, hiking, and photographing ducks. His personal webpage is:

Ph.D., Stanford University
M.S., Oxford University
AB, Princeton University

Publications (View downloadable versions)
  • "Biko on non-white and black: Improving social reality," in Debating African Philosophy: Perspectives on Identity, Decolonial Ethics and Comparative Philosophy, ed. by George Hull. New York: Routledge, 2018.
  • "Replies to Hawley, Mikkola, and Hindriks," Inquiry, 62, No. 2 (2019) 230-246.
  • "Social Ontology," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, first version published March 2018
  • "What are Social Groups? Their Metaphysics and How To Classify Them," Synthese (2017), doi:10.1007/s11229-017-1387-y
  • "Social Ontology," in The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Social Science, ed. by Lee McIntyre and Alex Rosenberg, pp. 240-253. New York: Routledge, 2017.
  • "Social Construction and Social Facts," in The Routledge Handbook on Collective Intentionality, edited by Marija Jankovic and Kirk Ludwig, pp 265-76. New York: Routledge, 2017.
  • "Précis of The Ant Trap," Journal of Social Ontology 2, No. 1 (2016), 125-134.
  • "Replies to Guala and Gallotti," Journal of Social Ontology 2, No. 1 (2016), 159-172.
  • "A Framework for Social Ontology," Philosophy of the Social Sciences 46, No. 2 (2016), 147-167.
  • The Ant Trap: Rebuilding the Foundations of the Social Sciences, Oxford University Press, 2015.
  • "Why Macroeconomics does not Supervene on Microeconomics," Journal of Economic Methodology 21, No. 1 (2014), 3-18.
  • "How Many Kinds of Glue Hold the Social World Together?" in Social Ontology and Social Cognition, ed.  by Mattia Gallotti and John Michael, pp. 41-55. Dordrecht: Springer, 2014.
  • "What is Individualism in Social Ontology? Ontological Individualism vs. Anchor Individualism," in Rethinking the Individualism/Holism Debate: Essays in the Philosophy of Social Science, ed. by Finn Collin and Julie Zahle, pp. 17-38. Dordrecht: Springer, 2014.
  • "Social Objects without Intentions," in Institutions, Emotions, and Group Agents: Contributions to Social Ontology, ed. by Anita Konzelmann Ziv and Hans Bernhard Schmid, pp. 53-68. Dordrecht: Springer, 2013.
  • "Sortals and Criteria of Identity," Analysis 72, No. 3 (2012), 474-478.
  • "The Perils of Tweaking: How to Use Macrodata to Set Parameters in Complex Simulation Models" with Patrick Forber, Synthese 190, No. 2 (2012), 203-218.
  • Review of Creations of the Mind, edited by Margolis and Laurence, Mind 121, No. 481 (2012), 200-204.
  • Review of The SAGE Handbook of the Philosophy of Social Sciences, ed. by Jarvie and Zamorra-Bonilla, Economics and Philosophy 28, No. 3 (2012), 428-435.
  • "Agent-Based Models and the Fallacies of Individualism," in Models, Simulations, and Representations, ed. by Paul Humphreys and Cyrille Imbert, pp. 115-144.  New York: Routledge, 2011.
  • "The Diviner and the Scientist: Revisiting the Question of Alternative Standards of Rationality," Journal of the American Academy of Religion 78, No. 4 (2010), 1048-1086.
  • "History and the Critique of Social Concepts," Philosophy of the Social Sciences 40, No. 1 (2010), 3-29.
  • "Ontological Individualism Reconsidered," Synthese 166, No. 1 (2009), 187-213.
  • "Grounds, Convention, and the Metaphysics of Linguistic Tokens," Croatian Journal of Philosophy 9 No. 25 (2009), 45-67.
  • "The Realpolitik of Reference," Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (2008), 1-20.
  • "When Local Models Fail," Philosophy of the Social Sciences 38 (2008), 3-24.
  • "The Internal and the External in Linguistic Explanation," Croatian Journal of Philosophy 8 No. 22 (2008), 77-111.
  • Review of Language: A Biological Model by Ruth Millikan, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (April 2006).