Lawrence Dallman

Dallman
Research Interests: Philosophical Methodology, Epistemology, General Philosophy of Science, 19th-Century German Philosophy (esp. Marx), and 20th-century American Philosophy (esp. Sellars)

Previous Education

MA, Philosophy, University of Chicago

BA, Philosophy, Montana State University

BA, English, Montana State University

Interests

Philosophical Methodology, Epistemology, General Philosophy of Science, 19th-Century German Philosophy (esp. Marx), and 20th-century American Philosophy (esp. Sellars)

Dissertation

Title: Marx's Naturalism: A Study in Philosophical Methodology

Committee: Brian Leiter (co-chair), Robert Richards (co-chair), Michael Forster, Matthias Haase

Summary: Karl Marx’s reputation for obscurity owes, at least in part, to the idea that his writings involve the application of some special philosophical method, different from that employed by ordinary philosophers. Serious readers of Marx tend to distance themselves from this idea, worrying that it reduces (somehow) to nonsense. In my dissertation, I reconstruct Marx's early reflections on method, and challenge this dismissive attitude, which I view as an over-correction against bad habits common among less serious defenders of Marx. Drawing on recent debates about philosophical method within the analytic tradition (concerning e.g. intuition, analysis, and conceptual engineering), I argue that, properly reconstructed, Marx's early criticisms of G. W. F. Hegel -- though they perhaps miss the mark as criticisms of Hegel's own views -- raise very real problems for certain optimistic non-naturalist approaches in philosophical methodology. I then argue that Marx's mid-career writings on "ideology" and "historical materialism" are concerned in part to develop a new, alternative method for philosophy: a naturalistic approach, on which philosophical progress is made when more adequate successor theories explain (causally) how their less adequate predecessors came to take on the (illusory) appearance of plausibility. Through my reconstruction of Marx, I derive the outlines of an independently defensible, non-moralistic, thoroughgoingly naturalistic alternative to existing options in the contemporary methodology debate.

Recent Courses

PHIL 29200-02 Junior Tutorial

Topic: Marx and Philosophy.  Karl Marx is at once an incisive philosophical thinker, and a powerful critic of the whole enterprise of philosophy. In this course, we will investigate Marx's critique of philosophy. In particular, we will do so with an eye to the implications such a critique may have for philosophy as it exists today. That is, we will ask what conclusions can be drawn within philosophy, and about philosophy, from Marxian premises. This will require careful examination of key works by Marx, as well as by Hegel, Feuerbach, and Engels. It will also involve reflection on central disputes in contemporary theoretical philosophy, including the mind-body problem, the problem of knowledge, and the naturalism/anti-naturalism dispute.

Meets with Jr/Sr section. Prerequisite: Open only to intensive-track majors. No more than two tutorials may be used to meet program requirements.

2018-2019 Winter

PHIL 29300-02 Senior Tutorial

Topic: Marx and Philosophy. Karl Marx is at once an incisive philosophical thinker, and a powerful critic of the whole enterprise of philosophy. In this course, we will investigate Marx's critique of philosophy. In particular, we will do so with an eye to the implications such a critique may have for philosophy as it exists today. That is, we will ask what conclusions can be drawn within philosophy, and about philosophy, from Marxian premises. This will require careful examination of key works by Marx, as well as by Hegel, Feuerbach, and Engels. It will also involve reflection on central disputes in contemporary theoretical philosophy, including the mind-body problem, the problem of knowledge, and the naturalism/anti-naturalism dispute.

Meets with Jr/Sr section. Prerequisite: Open only to intensive-track majors. No more than two tutorials may be used to meet program requirements.

2018-2019 Winter