John Collier
Position Emeritus Professor and Senior Research Associate
Discipline
Philosophy
Campus Durban
Phone No. +27 (0) 31 260 3248
E-Mail collierj@ukzn.ac.za
Room No. MTB 280

Academic website

Degrees Held

  • SB Earth Science, MIT; SB Philosophy, MIT; MA Philosophy, UCLA; PhD Philosophy of Science, Western

Research Interests

  • Theory Change, Reference and Meaning
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Evolutionary Ethics and Epistemology
  • Foundations of Statistical Mechanics
  • Foundations of Information Theory
  • Metaphysics and Epistemology of Complex Systems
  • Causal processes, Dynamical Systems theory

Teaching Interests

  • Ethics, Metaphysics, Early Modern Philosophy, Logic

Publications / Selected Publications

Journal Articles

  • Collier, John. 2014. Informal pragmatics and Linguistic Creativity. South African Journal of Philosophy 33(2): 121- 129.
  • Collier, John. 2014. Emergence in dynamical systems. Analiza i Egzystencja (Analysis and Existence) 23: 17-40.
  • Collier, John and Michael Stingl. 2013. Evolutionary Moral Realism. Biological Theory. 7: 218-226
  • Argyris Arnellos & Luis Emilio Bruni & Charbel Niño El-Hani & John Collier. 2013. Anticipatory Functions, Digital-Analog Forms and Biosemiotics: Integrating the Tools to Model Information and Normativity in Autonomous Biological Agents. Biosemiotics 5: 331-367.
  • Collier, John. 2011. Holism and emergence: Dynamical complexity defeats Laplace’s Demon. South African Journal of Philosophy. 30, 2: 229-243.
  • Collier, John. 2011. Explaining biological functionality: Is control theory enough? South African Journal of Philosophy. 30, 1: 53-62.
  • Collier, John. 2011. Kinds of information in scientific use. Cognition, Communication, Co-operation. 9, 2: 295-304.

Chapters in Books

  • Collier, J. 2014. Signs Without Minds. Vinicicius Romanini and Elizeo Fernandez, eds. Peirce and Biosemiotics: A Guess at the Riddle of Life, Springer.
  • Collier, John. 2012. Information, causation and computation. Information and Computation: Essays on Scientific and Philosophical Understanding of Foundations of Information and Computation. Ed by Gordana Dodig Crnkovic and Mark Burgin. World Scientific.
  • Collier, John. 2012. Interpretants. In Donald Favereau, Paul Cobley and Kalevi Kull, eds. A More Developed Sign: Interpreting the Work of Jesper Hoffmeyer. Tartu Semiotics Library 10, Tartu University Press, Tartu 2012: 175-177.
  • Collier, John and Graeme Cumming. 2011. A dynamical approach to ecosystem identity. In B. Brown, K. de Laplante and K. Peacock, Philosophy of Ecology. Dordrecht: North-Holland.
  • Collier, John. 2011. Information, causation and computation. In Information and Computation: Essays on Scientific and Philosophical Understanding of Foundations of Information and Computation, Ed by Gordana Dodig Crnkovic and Mark Burgin. Singapore: World Scientific.

Teaching Expertise

  • Environmental Ethics UKZN 2013 Sem 1
  • Cognitive Science UKZN 2013 Sem 1
  • Cognitive Science (teach half course) UKZN 2012 Sem 1
  • Pragmatism: Peirce and Rorty UKZN 2011 Sem 2
  • Cognitive Science (supervise course) UKZN 2011 Sem 1
  • Cognitive Science (supervise course) UKZN 2010 Sem 1
  •  Pragmatism: Peirce and Rorty UKZN 2010 Sem 2
  • Political Philosophy UKZN 2010 Sem 1
  • Pragmatism: Peirce and Rorty UKZN 2009 Sem 2
  • Cognitive Science UKZN 2009 Sem 1
  • Ethics – Evolutionary Moral Realism UKZN 2009 Sem 1
  •  Pragmatism: Rorty and Peirce UKZN 2008 Sem 2
  • Metaphysics – Identity (post-grad) UKZN 2008 Sem 2
  • Ethics – Evolutionary Moral Realism UKZN 2008 Sem 1
  • Political Philosophy UKZN 2008 Sem 1
  • Cognitive Science UKZN 2008 Sem 1
  • Causation (post-grad seminar) UKZN 2007 Sem 2
  • Pragmatism: Rorty and Peirce UKZN 2007 Sem 2
  • Cognitive Science UKZN 2007 Sem 1
  • Political Philosophy UKZN 2007 Sem 1
  • Interactivism (grad cognitive science) UKZN 2006 Sem 2
  • Chomsky (grad political philosophy) UKZN 2006 Sem 1 C
  • ognitive Science UKZN 2006 Sem 1
  • Political Philosophy UKZN 2006 Sem 1
  • Pragmatism: Rorty and Peirce UKZN 2005 Sem 2
  • Evolutionary Ethics UKZN 2005 Sem 1
  • Cognitive Science UKZN 2005 Sem 1
  • Political Philosophy UKZN 2005 Sem 1
  • Political Philosophy UKZN 2004 Sem 2
  • Cognitive Science UKZN 2004 Sem 1
  • Political Philosophy Natal 2003 Sem 2
  • Cognitive Science Natal 2003 Sem 1
  • Science, Life and Mind Melbourne 1993 Sem 2
  • Philosophy of Science Melbourne 1993 Sem 2
  • Biology and Human Nature (grad) Melbourne 1993 Sem 1
  • Science, Life and Mind Melbourne 1992 Sem 2
  • Philosophy of Science Melbourne 1992 Sem 2
  • Realism, Relativism and Naturalism (grad) Melbourne 1992 Sem 1
  • Science, Life and Mind Melbourne 1991 Sem 2
  • Philosophy of Science Melbourne 1991 Sem 2
  • Biology and Human Nature (grad) Melbourne 1991 Sem 1
  • Logic I Calgary 1990 (Winter)
  • Philosophy of Perception (grad) Calgary 1990 (Winter)
  • Science and Philosophy Calgary 1989 (Winter)
  • Philosophy of Natural Science Calgary 1988 (Fall)
  • Graduate Seminar in Phil. of Science Rice 1987 (Winter)
  • Philosophical Issues in Science Rice 1987 (Winter)
  • Problems in Philosophy Rice 1986 (Fall)
  • Philosophy of Science Rice 1986 (Fall)
  • Logic II Calgary 1986 (Winter)
  • Advanced Topics in Epistemology (grad) Calgary 1985 (Fall)
  • Philosophy of Science Calgary 1985 (Winter)
  • Problems in Epistemology Calgary 1984 (Spring)
  • Introductory Formal Logic Calgary 1984 (Spring)
  • Philosophy in the Twentieth Century Calgary 1983-84
  • Philosophy of Natural Science Calgary 1984 (Winter)
  • Introductory Logic (2 sections) Calgary 1983 (Fall)
  • Introductory Logic (2 sections) Calgary 1982 (Fall)
  • Writings of John Locke Calgary 1982 (Fall)
  • Introductory Logic UBC 1982 (Spring Deductive Logic UBC 1981-82
  • Philosophy of Science UBC 1981-82
  • Introduction to Scientific Reasoning UBC 1981-82
  • Introductory Philosophy UWO 1980-81
  • Introductory Philosophy UWO 1979-80 Informal Logic UWO 1976-77, 1977-78

Student Supervision (Honours, Master, PhD …)

  • Roderick D. Buchanan, The MMPI and personality assessment in American clinical psychology, 1935-1965, completed February 1993.
  • Scott Muller, Asymmetry Foundations of Information, Completed August 2004, cosupervisor with C.A. Hooker.
  • Carel W.T. Joubert, An Ontological and Moral Perspective on Sensemaking and Decision Making with Respect to the Person, completed November 2008.
  • PhD Supervision: Mahomed Russol 2012-2017, Pravin Pillay 2008-2010-resigned, Bryan Marcus Peters 2006- current, Chirag Patel 2008-resigned; Arnold Shepperson 2005-2006 (died), Phillip Hoffmann, 1990; Alexandros Malikotsinas 1991-?; Hee Joo Park 1991-?; Carol Steiner, 1992-96 (with Helen Verran), Cass Wigley 1993-?, Tokofumi Yamamoto 1993-96
  • Masters supervision: Stephen Campbell, 1989-1990; Mark Zangari, 1991, Natalie Jerimijenko, 1992-?; Gabriella Stephenson, 1992-?, Richard Gogerly, 1993-?; Deborah Dowling, 1993-?; Tony Horn, 2009-2010; Russell Grant, 2010-?; Khondlo Mtshali, 2010-?
  • Honours supervision: Deborah Dowling, 1991; Konrad Talmont-Kaminski, 1993, Tony Horn 2009, Russell Grant 2009

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