John Hawthorne

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John Hawthorne
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Analytic
Main interests
Metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language

John Hawthorne is currently the Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy at Oxford University, though he continues to teach on a visiting basis at the University of Southern California. In 2015, he will begin teaching full-time at the University of Southern California.[1] He is recognized as a leading contemporary contributor to metaphysics and epistemology..[2]

His 2006 collection Metaphysical Essays offers original treatments of fundamental topics in philosophy, including identity, ontology, vagueness, and causation, which one reviewer called "essential reading for anyone currently engaged in analytic metaphysics.[3] In his book Knowledge and Lotteries, Hawthorne defends a view in epistemology according to which the presence of knowledge is dependent on the subject's interests (he calls this view 'Subject-Sensitive Invariantism').[4] Unlike contextualism, Hawthorne's view does not require that the meaning of the word "know" changes from one context of ascription to another. His view is thus a variety of invariantism. However, whether a subject has knowledge depends to a surprising extent on features of the subject's context, including practical concerns. This position can be classed as a form of pragmatism (Hawthorne, 2004: p. 180). The American philosopher Jason Stanley holds a similar view.

Hawthorne has also written on philosophy of language and philosophical logic, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, and on Leibniz.

Hawthorne earned his Ph.D. from Syracuse University, where he studied with William Alston and Jonathan F. Bennett. He taught previously at the University of New South Wales, Arizona State University, Syracuse University, and Rutgers University, New Brunswick.



Edited books

  • Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics (edited with Theodore Sider and Dean Zimmerman, Blackwell, 2007)
  • Perceptual Experience (edited with Tamar Gendler, Oxford University Press, 2006)
  • Conceivability and Possibility (edited with Tamar Gendler, Oxford University Press, 2002)


  2. "The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics: Hardback: Michael J. Loux". Oxford University Press. 2003-08-28. Retrieved 2013-08-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. McGrath, Matthew (6 August 2004). "Knowledge and Lotteries". Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. Retrieved 9 December 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links