David Spurrett
David Spurrett
Title Prof
Position Professor
Discipline
Philosophy
Campus Durban
Phone No. +27 (0) 31 260 2309
E-Mail spurrett@ukzn.ac.za
Room No. MTB 316

Degrees Held

  • BA, BA(hons), MA, PhD (natal)

Profile:

Experience:

  • 2006- Philosophy, University of KwaZulu-Natal: Professor.
  • 2004-2005 Philosophy, University of KwaZulu-Natal: Associate Professor.
  • (The University of KwaZulu-Natal was created through a merger between the University of Natal, and the University of Durban Westville, effective from January 2004.)
  • 2002–2003 Philosophy Programme, University of Natal, Durban: Senior Lecturer.
  • 1999–2001 Philosophy Programme, University of Natal, Durban: Lecturer.
  • 1992–1998 Department of Philosophy, University of Natal, Durban: Part-time lecturer, leave substitute lecturer and tutor, including three years on contract as a Junior Lecturer.
  • 1993 Department of Philosophy, University of Durban-Westville: Guest lecturer for one module at honours level (part time).
  • 1991–1992 Department of Philosophy, University of Durban-Westville: Leave substitute lecturer (part time).
  • 1990 Department of Classics, University of Natal, Durban: Assistant Curator, Museum of Classical Archaeology (part time).

Awards:

  • 2009 National Resarch Foundation ‘B3’ research rating.
  • 2003 Distinguished Teacher’s Award, University of Natal (two awarded annually); Vice-Chancellor’s Research Award, University of Natal (one awarded annually); Colenso scholar, spending one term (Easter 2003) at St John’s College, Cambridge.
  • 2002 National Research Foundation President’s Award (three awards nationally for 2002).
  • 1998/9 Three year Visiting Research Fellowship in Philosophy at King’s College, London; Association of Commonwealth Universities split-site Doctoral Scholarship; Centre for Science Development (South Africa) Overseas Doctoral Scholarship.
  • 1994 University of Natal Doctoral Research Scholarship (two awarded annually).
  • 1989 Notcutt Prize for Philosophy.

Research Interests:

  • Areas of Specialisation: Philosophy of Science, Cognitive Science, Metaphysics.
  • Areas of Competence: Philosophy of Mind, Epistemology, Behavioural Economics, Early Modern Philosophy (especially Descartes), Postmodernism and Science, History and Philosophy of Early Modern Science, Critical Reasoning, Health Policy.

Teaching Areas:

  • History of Modern Philosophy, Epistemology, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Cognitive Science, Philosophy of Biology.

Supervision:

  • PhD and Masters supervision in epistemology, philosophy of cognitive science, and metaphysics.

Publications/Selected Publications (2011 – 2013):

Journal Articles:

  • Spurrett, D. (2014) ‘Philosophers should be interested in ‘common currency’ claims in the cognitive and behavioural sciences’, in The South African Journal of Philosophy.
  • Dellis, A.M., Sharp, C., Hofmeyr, A., Schwardman, P.M., Spurrett, D., Rousseau, J.M. & Ross, D. (2014) ‘Criterion-related and construct validity of the Problem Gambling Severity Index in a sample of South African gamblers’, South African Journal of Psychology. 44(2), pp 243-257. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0081246314522367
  • Spurrett, D. (2014) ‘Cui bono? Selfish goals need to pay their way’ (Commentary on Huang and Bargh), Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37(2), pp155-156.
  • Spurrett, D. (2014) ‘A map of where? Problems with the 'transparency' dimension’ (Commentary on Bentley et al), Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37(1), pp 100-101.
  • Dellis, A., Spurrett, D., Hofmeyr, A., Sharp, C., and Ross, D. (2013) ‘Gambling Participation and Problem Gambling Severity among Rural and Peri-Urban Poor South African Adults in KwaZulu-Natal’, Journal of Gambling Studies, 29(3) pp417-433. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10899-012-9324-y
  • Spurrett, D. (2013) Dis-integrating Galileo: A Commentary on Pablé, Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective, 3(1): pp. 23-27.
  • Spurrett, D. (2013) “Reduction and the Unity of Science” (Encyclopedia entry) in Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Social Sciences (Edited by Byron Kaldis), SAGE.
  • Dellis, A. and Spurrett, D. (2013) ‘An eye for an eye: Reciprocity and the calibration of redress’ (Commentary on McCullough et al), Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 36(1), p.20. doi: 10.1017/S0140525X11002160
  • Spurrett, D. (2012) ‘What is to be done? Why reward is difficult to do without’ (Commentary on Clark in Behavioral and Brain Sciences), Frontiers in Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 3: 142. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00412
  • Spurrett, D. (2011) ‘Hooray for Babies’, South African Journal of Philosophy, 30(2), pp197-206.
  • Spurrett, D. (2011) ‘Reason is normative and should be studied accordingly’ (Commentary on Elquayam and Evans), Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 34(5), pp 267-268.
  • Collins, P., Stein, D.J., Pretorius, A., Sinclair, H., Ross, D., Barr, G., Hofmeyr, A., Sharp, C., Spurrett, D., Rousseau, J., Ainslie, G., Dellis, A., Kincaid, H., & Bak, N. (2011) ‘Addressing problem gambling: South Africa’s National Responsible Gambling Programme’, South African Medical Journal, 101(10), pp. 722-723.

Complete Research Record:

Books (including edited)

  • Ross, D., Kincaid, H., Spurrett, D. & Collins, P. Eds. (2010) What is addiction?, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
  • Ross, D., Vuchinich, R., Sharp, C., and Spurrett, D. (2008) Midbrain Mutiny: The Picoeconomics and Neuroeconomics of Disordered Gambling, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
  • Ross, D., Spurrett, D., Kincaid, H., and Stephens, L. Eds (2007) Distributed Cognition and The Will: Individual Volition and Social Context, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
  • Ladyman, J. & Ross, D. with Spurrett, D. & Collier, J. (2007) Everything Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Published (and forthcoming) papers and chapters

Electronic preprints of some of these papers are available from the CogPrints archive (http://cogprints.soton.ac.uk) and the Philosophy of Science archive (http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu)

  • Spurrett, D. (2014) ‘Philosophers should be interested in ‘common currency’ claims in the cognitive and behavioural sciences’, in The South African Journal of Philosophy.
  • Dellis, A.M., Sharp, C., Hofmeyr, A., Schwardman, P.M., Spurrett, D., Rousseau, J.M. & Ross, D. (2014) ‘Criterion-related and construct validity of the Problem Gambling Severity Index in a sample of South African gamblers’, South African Journal of Psychology. 44(2), pp 243-257. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0081246314522367
  • Dellis, A., Spurrett, D., Hofmeyr, A., Sharp, C., and Ross, D. (2013) ‘Gambling Participation and Problem Gambling Severity among Rural and Peri-Urban Poor South African Adults in KwaZulu-Natal’, Journal of Gambling Studies, 29(3) pp417-433. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10899-012-9324-y
  • Spurrett, D. (2011) ‘Hooray for Babies’, South African Journal of Philosophy, 30(2), pp197-206.
  • Spurrett, D. and Cowley, S. (2010) ‘The Extended Infant: Utterance-activity and distributed cognition’, in R. Menary (ed.) The Extended Mind, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, pp 295-324. (Parts of this paper overlap with Spurrett and Cowey (2004) listed below.)
  • Spurrett, D. (2010) ‘Why ‘Appeals to Intuitions’ might not be so bad’, South African Journal of Philosophy, 29(2), pp156-166.
  • Spurrett, D. and Murrell, B. (2010) Measuring Dispositions to Bundle Choices. In: Ross, D., Kincaid, H., Spurrett, D. & Collins, P. (eds.) What is addiction?, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
  • Spurrett, D. (2009) Need there be a common currency for decision-making?, South African Journal of Philosophy, 28(2), pp210-221.
  • Spurrett, D. (2009) Inaugural Lecture: Philosophy Enough, South African Journal of Philosophy, 28(1), pp 47-68.
  • Spurrett, D. (2009) How to semanticize science, and sell it short – review article of The Semantics of Science by Roy Harris, Language Sciences, 31, pp 97-110. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.langsci.2008.07.005
  • Spurrett, D. (2008) Why I am not an Analytic Philosopher, South African Journal of Philosophy, 27(2), pp 153-163
  • Ross, D., Ladyman, J. & Spurrett, D. (2007) In Defence of Scientism, in Ladyman, J. & Ross, D. with Spurrett, D. & Collier, J. Everything Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp 1-65.
  • Ross, D., Ladyman, J. & Spurrett, D. (2007) Causation in a Structural World, in Ladyman, J. & Ross, D. with Spurrett, D. & Collier, J. Everything Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp 258-297. (Overlaps partially with Ross & Spurrett 2007.)
  • Ross, D. and Spurrett, D. (2007) Notions of Cause: Russell's thesis revisited, The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 58(1), pp45-76. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axl027
  • Spurrett, D. (2006) ‘Reductionisms and physicalisms’, South African Journal of Philosophy, 25(2), pp. 163-174.
  • Spurrett, D. (2005) ‘Computer Supported Development of Critical Reasoning Skills’, in the International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, 1(2), http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=44&layout=html.
  • Spurrett, D. (2004) ‘Computer Supported Development of Critical Reasoning Skills’, in H Griesel (ed), Curriculum Responsiveness: Case Studies in Higher Education. SAUVCA: Pretoria (ISBN # 0-620-33085-6), pp159-183.
  • Ross, D. and Spurrett, D. (2004) ‘What to Say to a Sceptical Metaphysician: a Defense Manual for Cognitive and Behavioral Scientists’, target article in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 27(5), pp 603-627. Reprint: This paper was anthologised in Henderikus J. Stam (ed) Theoretical Psychology – Contemporary Readings (volume 1), Sage 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X04000147
  • Ross, D. and Spurrett, D. (2004) ‘The cognitive and behavioral sciences: Real patterns, real unity, real causes, but no supervenience’, response to commentaries in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 27(5), pp 637-645. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X04000147
  • Spurrett, D. and Cowley, D. (2004) ‘How to Do Things Without Words: Infants, utterance-activity and distributed cognition’ Language Sciences, 26(5), pp 443-466. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.langsci.2003.09.008
  • Dellis, A. and Spurrett, D. (2003) ‘Real Patterns and Distributed Cognition’, AlterNation, 10(1), pp 105-131.
  • Spurrett, D. (2003) ‘Why think that cognition is distributed?’, AlterNation, 10(1), pp 292-306.
  • Cowley, S. and Spurrett, D. (2003) ‘Putting apes (body and language) together again’, a review article of Savage-Rumbaugh, S., Taylor, T. J., and Shanker, S. G. Apes, Language, and the Human Mind (Oxford: 1999) and Clark, A. Being There: Putting Brain, Body, and World Together Again (MIT: 1997), in Language Sciences, 25 (3), pp 289-318. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0388-0001(02)00020-7
  • Spurrett, D. (2002) ‘The Human Self as a Coalition of Distributed Agencies’, in C W du Toit (ed) Brain, mind and soul: Unifying the human self; Pretoria: Research Institute for Theology and Religion, pp. 191-223. [Chapter in Book.]
  • Spurrett, D. (2001a) ‘Cartwright on Laws and Composition’, International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 15 (3), pp. 253-268.
  • Spurrett, D. (2001b) ‘What Physical Properties Are’, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 82 (2) pp. 201-225.
  • Spurrett, D. and Jackson, C-A. (2001). ‘Virtually incomprehensible: pros and cons of WWW-based communication and education’, South African Journal of Information Management, volume 3, Number 1.
  • Spurrett, D. (2000) ‘Bhaskar on Open and Closed Systems’, South African Journal of Philosophy, 19 (3), pp. 188-208.
  • Spurrett, D. (1999a) ‘Fundamental Laws and the Completeness of Physics’, International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 13 (3), pp. 261-274.
  • Spurrett, D. (1999b) ‘Lyotard and the Postmodern Misunderstanding of Physics’, Theoria, 93: Science and Civilisation, pp. 29-52.
  • Spurrett, D. (1999c) Review article of Cilliers, P. 1998. Complexity and postmodernism (London: Routledge), South African Journal of Philosophy, 18 (2), pp. 258-274.
  • Spurrett, D., and Papineau, D. (1999) ‘A Note on the Completeness of ‘Physics’’, Analysis, 59 (1), pp. 25-29. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1111/1467-8284.00144
  • Spurrett, D. (1998) ‘Transcendental Realism Defended: A Response to Allan’, South African Journal of Philosophy, 17 (3), pp. 198-210.
  • Spurrett, D. (1997) ‘Beyond Determinism’, South African Journal of Philosophy, 16 (1), pp.14-22.

Published (and forthcoming) editorials, commentaries and other pieces

  • Spurrett, D. (2014) ‘Cui bono? Selfish goals need to pay their way’ (Commentary on Huang and Bargh), Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37(2), pp155-156.
  • Spurrett, D. (2014) ‘A map of where? Problems with the 'transparency' dimension’ (Commentary on Bentley et al), Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37(1), pp 100-101.
  • Spurrett, D. (2013) Dis-integrating Galileo: A Commentary on Pablé, Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective, 3(1): pp. 23-27.
  • Spurrett, D. (2013) “Reduction and the Unity of Science” (Encyclopedia entry) in Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Social Sciences (Edited by Byron Kaldis), SAGE.
  • Dellis, A. and Spurrett, D. (2013) ‘An eye for an eye: Reciprocity and the calibration of redress’ (Commentary on McCullough et al), Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 36(1), p.20. doi: 10.1017/S0140525X11002160
  • Spurrett, D. (2012) ‘What is to be done? Why reward is difficult to do without’ (Commentary on Clark in Behavioral and Brain Sciences), Frontiers in Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 3: 142. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00412
  • Spurrett, D. (2011) ‘Reason is normative and should be studied accordingly’ (Commentary on Elquayam and Evans), Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 34(5), pp 267-268.
  • Collins, P., Stein, D.J., Pretorius, A., Sinclair, H., Ross, D., Barr, G., Hofmeyr, A., Sharp, C., Spurrett, D., Rousseau, J., Ainslie, G., Dellis, A., Kincaid, H., & Bak, N. (2011) ‘Addressing problem gambling: South Africa’s National Responsible Gambling Programme’, South African Medical Journal, 101(10), pp. 722-723.
  • Spurrett, D. and Martin, J. (2010) ‘“Very like a whale”: Analogies about the mind need salient similarity to convey information’ (Commentary on Knobe), Behavioral and Brain Sciences, (33), pp 350-351.
  • Meadon, H. and Spurrett, D. (2010) ‘It’s not only the subjects – there are also too many WEIRD researchers’ (commentary on Henrich et al), Behavioral and Brain Sciences, (33), pp 44-45.
  • Baker, D-P., Beck, S. & Spurrett, D. (2006) Editorial: New Developments at the SAJP, South African Journal of Philosophy, 25(2), pp. 89-90.
  • Ross, D. and Spurrett, D. (2006) ‘Evolutionary psychology and functionally empty metaphors’, (commentary on Lea & Webley) in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 29(2), pp. 192-193.
  • Ross, D. and Spurrett, D. (2005) ‘Behavioral (pico)economics and the brain sciences’, (commentary on Ainslie), Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 28(5), 659-660.
  • Baker, D-P., Beck, S. & Spurrett, D. (2005) Editorial, South African Journal of Philosophy, 24(2).
  • Baker, D-P., Beck, S. & Spurrett, D. (2004) Editorial, South African Journal of Philosophy, 23(4).
  • Spurrett, D. & Dellis, A. (2004) ‘Putting infants in their place’ (Commentary on Falk), in Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27(4), pp. 524-525.
  • Spurrett, D. (2004) ‘Distributed Cognition and Integrational Linguistics’, Language Sciences 26(6): 497-501. [Editorial in special issue containing papers from the first (2003) conference of the mind AND world working group.]
  • Spurrett, D. (2003) ‘What about embodiment?’ (Commentary on Anderson and Lebiere), in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 26(5), p 620.
  • Spurrett, D. (2002) ‘Information Processing and Dynamical Systems Approaches are Complementary’ (commentary on Shanker and King), in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 25 (5), pp. 639-640.

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