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Faculty Profiles

Joshua D Norton

Joshua Norton, Ph.D.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy; Director, Wheaton College Summer Institute

On Faculty since 2021



joshua.norton@wheaton.edu

University of Illinois at Chicago Ph.D. Philosophy
Dissertation: Quantum Ontology, Supervised by Nick Huggett

University of Illinois at Chicago
M.S. Physics

University of California, San Diego
B.A. Mathematics

“Suppressing Spacetime Emergence”, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science (forthcoming 2021)

“Loop Quantum Ontology: spacetime and spin-networks,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics (2020)

“The Hole Argument Against Everything,” Foundations of Physics (2019)

“Incubating a Future Metaphysics: Quantum Gravity,” in Synthese (2017)

“Weak Discernibility and Relations Between Quanta,” in Philosophy of Science (2015)

“Weak Discernibility for Quanta, The Right Way,” in British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (2013), with Nick Huggett

 Publications Nearing Completion

“Empirically Incoherent Quantum Gravity” (under review)
In this paper, I argue that quantum theories of gravity which do not include spacetime in their fundamental ontology, are empirically incoherent. That being said, these theories can gain empirical coherence were they to make novel predictions which were then verified. Under these circumstances, these theories would define a new paradigm with its own internal criteria for empirical coherence.

“Chaos in Consequentialism” (under review)
In this paper, I apply chaos theory to consequentialist ethics and argue that were consequentialism true, there would be moral facts that could not be known outside of omniscience. The heart of this paper is the recognition that social structures are intertwined (chaotically) in such a way that any error — whatsoever — introduced into our utilitarian calculus will result in arbitrarily wrong results. The only way to avoid being arbitrarily wrong is to have perfect knowledge of the parameters and initial conditions of our chaotic system — which, as it turns out, is practically impossible.

“Suppressing Spacetime Emergence,” Philosophy of Science Association, Baltimore (forthcoming November, 2021)

“Suppressing Spacetime Emergence,” Foundations of Physics Conference, Paris (forthcoming October, 2021)

“Suppressing Spacetime Emergence,” Pacific APA, Seattle (April, 2021).

“The Hole Argument Against Everything”, Eastern APA, Philadelphia (January, 2020)

“Suppressing Spacetime Emergence,” Society for the Metaphysics of Science conference, Toronto (November, 2019)

“Out-of Space Physics,” Bogazici University, Istanbul (November 2018)

“Unification Through Elimination”, at POND’s Unity and Disunity of Science, Lisbon (September, 2018)2

“No Time for the Hamiltonian Constraint”, Pacific APA, San Diego (March, 2018)

“Out-of Space Physics”, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago (January, 2018)

“The Hole Argument Against Everything”, Society for the Metaphysics of Science conference, Switzerland (September, 2016)

“No Time for the Hamiltonian Constraint,” at the International Association for the Philosophy of Time conference, Winston-Salem (July, 2016)

“Spin-networks as Real as Spacetime,” at the Fourth International Conference on the Nature and Ontology of Spacetime, Bulgaria (May, 2016)

“Lessons in Metaphysics from Quantum Theories of Gravity,” at the New Trends in the Metaphysics of Science conference, France (December, 2015)

“The Hole Argument Against Everything,” American University of Beirut, Lebanon (May, 2015)

“The Hole Argument Against Everything,” Inter-University Centre, Croatia (April, 2015)

“No Time for Problems,” at Beyond Spacetime II, San Diego (March, 2015)

“Weak Discernibility and Relations Between Quanta,” at the Philosophy of Science Association, San Diego (2014)

“The Hole Argument Against Everything”, Southern California Philosophy of Physics, Irvine (May, 2018)

“Observing Out-of Space”, at POND’s Aspects of Objectivity in Science conference, Athens (September, 2017)

“Loop Quantum Ontology,” at the Interdisciplinary Workshop on the Mathematics and Philosophy of Physics, NYU Abu Dhabi (May, 2017)

“Incubating a Future Metaphysics: Quantum Gravity” at Space and Time After Quantum Gravity, University of Geneva, Switzerland (September, 2016)

“Time in Quantum Gravity,” presentation and panel discussion at the International Association for the Philosophy of Time Conference, Winston-Salem (July, 2016)

Rickles, Dean (ed.) The Ashgate Companion to Contemporary Philosophy of Physics, Heythrop Journal 52 (2):304-305 (2011)

Public Philosophy, volunteered at the “Ask a Philosopher a Question” booth during the 2020 Eastern APA (January, 2020)

Philosophy workshop, Veritas Classical Academy (January, 2020)

“Why Quantum Mechanics Makes No Sense,” public talk hosted by AUB, Philosophy(November 2018)

“Leibniz meets Quantum Mechanics,” invited undergraduate lecture, NYU Abu-Dhabi (November, 2018)

“The Never-Ending Dance of Philosophy and Physics,” with Nick Huggett (Video), (September, 2018)

“The Copernican Revolution”, lecture for the University for Seniors at AUB 3(October, 2017)

“Copernican Revolution”, Common Lecture, Civilization Studies Program, AUB (September, 2017)

“Instruments of Revolution” Common Lecture, Civilization Studies Program, AUB (September, 2017)

Interview on the nature of time in loop quantum gravity for the podcast The Biggest Questions (June, 2017)

“Instruments of Revolution” Common Lecture, Civilization Studies Program, AUB (February, 2017)

"Einstein’s Hole Argument Against Everything,” Faculty of Arts and Sciences research talk hosted by AUB (November, 2016)

“The Nature of Knowledge and Reason,” public talk hosted by IDEAS/Lebanon Book Club, Beirut (March, 2016)

“No Time for the Hamiltonian Constraint,” brownbag lecture hosted by the Civilization Studies Program, AUB (March, 2016)

“Science is a god of Facts and Myths,” public talk hosted by AUB, Philosophy (February 2016)

Interview on the nature of time in modern theories of physics for LAU Magazine & Alumni Bulletin (Winter, 2015)

“Time Travel,” at the undergraduate philosophy club, UIC (2013)

  • Philosophy of Science Association (2008-current)
  • American Philosophical Association (2013-current)
  • European Philosophy of Science Association (2017-current)
  • Pond: Philosophy of Science Around the Mediterranean (2017-current)