Professor of Philosophy
Janiak is Professor of Philosophy and the co-leader of Project Vox. He is former chair of the Bass Society of Fellows and served as Chair of Philosophy from 2015-2020.
He and Professor Karen Detlefsen (Penn) were awarded an ACLS Collaborative Research Grant to begin their new multi-year project on Émilie Du Châtelet and 18th century Newtonian thought in France. They are currently writing the first English-language monograph on Châtelet's philosophy.
Here's a recent article in the Washington Post that Janiak wrote about how he first encountered Madame Du Châtelet. Janiak was recently interviewed for an APA blog about diversifying the philosophy canon.
Project Vox, which is a team effort at Duke co-led by Janiak and Dr. Liz Milewicz, has been featured recently in the London Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and also by Duke News. The latest report about Project Vox was in a recent discussion in the Atlantic magazine.
See this recent blog post on my presentation of Project Vox to a digital humanities conference at McGill in Montreal.
Janiak's recent work on Newton has been featured in The New Atlantis, Duke Today, and elsewhere.
Since 2007, he has been Director of the Graduate Program in History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine (affectionately known as "HPSTM"). The program currently has graduate students in Chemistry, English, History and Philosophy from Duke, and students from English and Comparative Literature from UNC Chapel Hill.
Before coming to Duke, Janiak earned an M.A. from Michigan while enrolled in its doctoral program, and a Ph.D. from Indiana in 2001, with a Ph.D. minor in history and philosophy of science. He wrote his dissertation under Michael Friedman, Fred Beiser, Paul Franks and Nico Bertoloni Meli.
In 2001-02, Janiak was a postdoctoral fellow at the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology at MIT, having previously been a doctoral fellow at Tel Aviv University. He joined the Duke faculty in the fall of 2002. In 2008-09, he received the Richard Lublin Distinguished Teaching Award from Duke's School of Arts and Sciences.
For a talk Janiak gave at Duke in honor of Barbara Herrnstein Smith's work, see here.
Here is a link to Janiak's lecture on Newton and causation at the Rotman Institute, University of Western Ontario.
- "Émilie Du Châtelet: physics, metaphysics and the case of gravity," forthcoming in Emily Thomas, editor, Early Modern Women on Metaphysics, Cambridge University Press.
- "Three concepts of causation in Newton." Studies in history and philosophy of science. (2015)
- "Kant on logical and real meaning" -- this paper employs an interpretation of the metaphysical deduction in the first Critique to indicate why the so-called pure categories can be meaningful in the sense that they have logical meaning, derived from the logical forms of judgment. They retain this meaning independent of any relation to intuition; the latter would supply them with what I call real meaning. [A rough draft is available.]
- See here for my letter to the TLS regarding Steven Weinberg's review of Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion.
Work on Newton:
- "Substance and Action in Descartes and Newton," The Monist 93 (October 2010): 655-675.
- Newton as Philosopher (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, July 2008). Available in paperback from Cambridge.
- The 2008 book was reviewed in The Philosophical Review 120 (2011) by Lisa Downing, in ISIS by Alan Shapiro and again by Stephen Snobelen, in Metascience by Steffen Ducheyne, in Early Science and Medicine by Mary Domski, and in Societate şi Politică by Grigore Vida, among others.
- "Isaac Newton," in Peter Anstey, editor, The Oxford Handbook of British Philosophy in the Seventeenth Century (Oxford University Press, 2012).
Work on Kant:
- Review of Thomas Holden, The Architecture of Matter (OUP) for Mind 115 (October 2006): 1130-1133.
Recent and upcoming talks:
- "Isaac Newton's Conception of Absolute Space: a new hypothesis." STS Department, University College, London. October 2011.
- "Author Meets Critics," session on Newton as Philosopher, APA Pacific Meeting, San Diego, April 2011.
- "Three concepts of cause in Newton's thought." Department of Philosophy, Ohio State University, Spring 2011.
- "Logical and real meaning in Kant." North American Kant Society, at Claremont McKenna College, December 2010.
- "Newton between history and philosophy: the case of space." &HPS3, Indiana University, Bloomington, September 2010
- "Agents and their powers in Isaac Newton's philosophical thought." Stockholm University, May 2010 [rescheduled].
- "Substance and Action in Descartes and Newton," Department of Philosophy, Harvard, April 2010.
- "Newton between physics and metaphysics: action at a distance reconsidered," part of workshop on Philosophy and natural science: from Newton to Kant, University College, London, March 2010.
- Commentator on papers by Lisa Downing, J.E. McGuire, Ed Slowik, and Eric Schliesser, Newton panel, Central APA, Chicago, February 2010.
- "Platonism and Newton," Symposium on Platonism and Modern Philosophy, a panel with Prof. Jennifer Whiting (Toronto), APA Eastern Meetings, Philadelphia -- December 2008.
- "Causation and Emanation in Newton's Thought," Universiteit Leiden, Holland -- September 2008.
- "Isaac Newton's God: theology and physics in the late seventeenth century," Science, Technology and Society Seminar, Columbia University -- October 2007.
- "Nonsense and Things in Themselves," with commentary by Jennifer Uleman (Purchase College), North American Kant Society, at Central APA, Chicago -- April 2007.
- Commentator, Symposium on Causation in Early Modern Philosophy, with papers by Lisa Downing (Ohio State) and Jeff McDonough (Harvard), Eastern APA, Washington, DC -- December 2006.
- Commentator on Alan Gabbey's paper, "The Empirical Credentials of Absolute Space and the Puzzle about Simultaneity: Newton and Huygens," for "Understanding Space and Time," the 3rd Annual Conference on Issues in Modern Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, NYU -- November 2006.
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