Anubav Vasudevan

Anubav Vasudevan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy. His current research interests are in the areas of Epistemology and Philosophy of Science, with a particular emphasis on the foundations of probability. In one way or another, his work aims to address the following question: What does it mean for one assignment of probabilities to be more rational than another? In his PhD dissertation, he discussed the role that judgments of symmetry play in both probabilistic inference and decision-making. His present research builds on this work.

CV (PDF)

Anubav Vasudevan on Elucidations (podcast)


Contact

office: Rosenwald 218-C
office hours: Winter Quarter, Mondays: 1:00 - 2:00 pm
phone: 773/702-4234
email: anubav@uchicago.edu

 

News

Anubav Vasudevan was awarded a Franke Institute of Humanities Fellowship for the academic year 2014-2015.

"In the Engine Room of Reality: Philosophy’s junior faculty members discuss their work, inspiration, and teaching" by Courtney C. W. Guerra, AB’05 Tableau, Spring 2012 - Link

 

Selected Publications

  • Deceptive Updating and Minimal Information Methods, with Haim Gaifman (forthcoming in Synthese) - PDF

Work in progress

  • Symmetry and the Exchange Paradox - PDF

Courses

PHIL 50116. Pragmatism. This course will begin by examining the central writings of the early American Pragmatists, C.S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey. We will compare the early formulations of pragmatism that appear in these works, both against one another other, as well against more recent formulations of pragmatism, as put forward by such philosophers as Putnam, Davidson, and Rorty. (II) and (III) Spring 2017.

PHIL 29400/39600. Intermediate Logic. (=CHSS 33600, HIPS 20500) In this course, we will prove the soundness and completeness of deductive systems for both sentential and first-order logic. We will also establish related results in elementary model theory, such as the compactness theorem for first-order logic, the Lowenheim-Skolem theorem and Lindstrom's theorem. (II) and (B) Winter 2017.

PHIL 22960/32960. Bayesian Epistemology. This course will provide an introduction to Bayesian Epistemology. We will begin by discussing the principal arguments offered in support of the two main precepts of the Bayesian view: (1) Probabilism: A rational agent's degrees of belief ought to conform to the axioms of probability; and (2) Conditionalization: Bayes's Rule describes how a rational agent's degrees of belief ought to be updated in response to new information. We will then examine the capacity of Bayesianism to satisfactorily address the most well-known paradoxes of induction and confirmation theory. The course will conclude with a discussion of the most common objections to the Bayesian view. (B) Autumn 2016.

PHIL 22960. Introduction to Bayesian Epistemology. (B) Spring 2016.

PHIL 29400/39600. Intermediate Logic. (=CHSS 33600, HIPS 20500) In this course, we will prove the soundness and completeness of deductive systems for both sentential and first-order logic. We will also establish related results in elementary model theory, such as the compactness theorem for first-order logic, the Lowenheim-Skolem theorem and Lindstrom’s theorem. (II) (B)Winter 2016.

PHIL 50100. First Year Seminar. PQ: Enrollment limited to first-year graduate students. Open to grad students. This course meets in Autumn and Winter quarters. Autumn 2015.

29406/39406. Algebraic Logic and Its Critics: The History of Logic from Leibniz to Frege. The study of logic in the second half of the 19th century was dominated by an algebraic approach to the subject. This tradition, as exemplified in George Boole’s Laws of Thought, aimed to develop a calculus of deductive reasoning based on the standard algebraic techniques employed in mathematics. In this course, we will trace the historical development of the algebraic tradition in logic, beginning with the early attempts of Leibniz to formulate a calculus ratiocinator. We will consider the various systems of algebraic logic developed in the 19th century in the works of De Morgan, Boole, Jevons, Peirce, and Schroder, and conclude by examining Frege’s critique of Boole’s system in relation to Frege’s own Begriffsschrift. (B) (II, V) . With M. Malink. Spring 2014.

29400/39600. Intermediate Logic. (=CHSS 33600, HIPS 20500) In this course, we will prove the soundness and completeness of deductive systems for both sentential and first-order logic. We will also establish related results in elementary model theory, such as the compactness theorem for first-order logic, the Lowenheim-Skolem theorem and Lindstrom’s theorem. (B) (II) Winter 2014.

32001. Pragmatism and Philosophy of Science of C.S. Peirce. In this seminar will examine the views of the American pragmatist philosopher C.S. Peirce as they pertain to the nature and methodology of science. The course will be organized around a careful reading of the six essays comprising the series “Illustrations of the Logic of Science,” published by Peirce in Popular Science Monthly in the years 1877-78.  Among the many topics addressed in these essays are: (1). What is the aim of scientific inquiry? (2). What are the conditions for the meaningfulness of a scientific hypothesis? (3). What is the role of probability in science (inverse inference vs. hypothesis testing)? (4). Are there natural laws? (5). What are the grounds for inductive inference? (6) How are we to classify the various sciences? In addition to the six essays mentioned above, we will also consider some of Peirce’s later writings on the subject as well as contemporary interpretations of the Peircean view. (II) Autumn 2013.

53600. The Philosophy of Probability. This course will be devoted to a critical survey of contemporary issues in the Philosophy of Probability. We will begin by reviewing the traditional arguments for probabilism (the view that an agent's credences or partial beliefs ought to conform to the axioms of probability) and consider recent challenges to the standard preference-based approaches to justifying probabilities. We will then turn our attention to the question of probability dynamics (the question of how a rational agent ought to revise his or her probabilities in the light of new evidence). We will review and assess the arguments that have been offered in support of the most widely-considered proposals for how probabilistic updating ought to proceed (e.g., simple conditionalization, Jeffrey conditionalization, minimal information updating). The course will conclude with a brief examination of contemporary responses to certain well-known paradoxes of probability theory, e.g., Bertrand's paradox and the St. Petersburg paradox. (II) Spring 2012.

20305/30305. Foundations of Probability: A Historical Approach. In this course, we will explore the conceptual origins of the dominant views in the philosophy of probability by conducting a careful historical survey of the seminal writings on the subject. Readings for the course will include writings by Cardano, Leibniz, Pascal, Fermat and Jacob Bernoulli, among others. In reading these texts we will try to address the following questions: Did these early thinkers conceive of probabilities as expressing objective facts about the world or did they interpret probabilities in epistemic terms? How did these early thinkers understand the relationship between probabilities and observed frequencies? How did they view the relationship between probabilistic reasoning and logic? In light of our survey of these early texts, we will attempt to assess the various claims made by contemporary historians of probability, such as Ian Hacking and Lorraine Daston. (B) (II) Autumn 2011.

22950/32950. Foundationalism and its Critics: Epistemic Foundationalism is the view that all of our knowledge rests ultimately on a foundation of non-inferentially justified belief (thus, for example, in the context of Cartesian epistemology, certain judgments can be justified directly on the grounds of the “clarity and distinctness” of their contents). In this course, we will examine the various arguments that have been offered against epistemic foundationalism, and we will consider some of the most well-known attempts to articulate an anti-foundationalist conception of epistemology. Readings for the course will include writings by Peirce, James, Sellars, Davidson, Quine and Putnam among others. (B) (III) Winter 2012.