John Capps Headshot

John Capps

Professor

Department of Philosophy
College of Liberal Arts

585-475-2464
Office Location

John Capps

Professor

Department of Philosophy
College of Liberal Arts

Bio

John Capps received his Ph.D from Northwestern University in 1997. The focus of his research is within epistemology and the philosophy of science, where he has been influenced by the work of classical American pragmatists. Recent publications have focused on theories of truth, the overlap between  American pragmatism and early analytic philosophical traditions, and the case for discussion-intensive pedagogy.

585-475-2464

Personal Links
Areas of Expertise

Select Scholarship

Journal Paper
Capps, John. "What we talk about when we talk about truth: Dewey, Wittgenstein, and the pragmatic test." Inernational Journal of Philosophical Studies 29. 2 (2021): 159-180. Print.
Capps, John. "The Less Said the Better: Dewey, Neurath, and Mid-century Theories of Truth." Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie. 104. (2022): 164-191. Print.
Capps, John. "William James and the Will to Alieve." Contemporary Pragmatism 17. (2020): 1-20. Print.
Capps, John. "Truth and the Goldilocks Principle." Think 19. (2020): 65-74. Print.
Capps, John. "A Common-Sense Pragmatic Theory of Truth." Philosophia 48. (2020): 463-481. Print.
Capps, John. "Pragmatic Accounts of Belief and Truth: A Response to Aaron Zimmerman’s Belief: a Pragmatic Picture." William James Studies 16. (2020): 39-56. Web.
Capps, John. "The Pragmatic Theory of Truth." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (2019): N/A. Web.
Capps, John. "Playing Fair by William James." Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 55. 1 (2019): 65-70. Print.
Capps, John. "The Pragmatic Theory of Truth." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (2019): N/A. Web.
Capps, John. "Even Worse Than It Seems: Transformative Experience and the Selection Problem." Journal of Philosophical Research 43. (2018): 113-124. Print.
Capps, John. "Did Dewey Have a Theory of Truth?" Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 54. (2018): 39-63. Print.
Capps, John. "The Case for Discussion-Intensive Pedagogy." APA Newsletter on Teaching Philosophy 17. 2 (2018): 5-11. Print.
Capps, John. "From Global Expressivism to Global Pragmatism." Metaphilosophy 49. (2018): 71-89. Print.
Capps, John. "A Pragmatic Argument for a Pragmatic Theory of Truth." Contemporary Pragmatism 14. (2017): 135-156. Print.
Published Review
Capps, John. "Review of Sick Souls, Healthy Minds: How William James Can Save Your Life by John Kaag." Rev. of Sick Souls, Healthy Minds: How William James Can Save Your Life, by N/A. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 2020: 110-113. Print.
Capps, John. "Review of Neurath Reconsidered: New Sources and Perspectives." Rev. of Neurath Reconsidered: New Sources and Perspectives, by Jordi Cat and Adam Tamas Tuboly, eds. HOPOS: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 2020: 10: 353-357. Print.
Capps, John. "Review of Cambridge Pragmatism by Cheryl Misak." Rev. of Cambridge Pragmatism, eds. Kevin Klement and Cheryl Misak. Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy Apr. 2017: n/a. Web.
Book Chapter
Capps, John. "Democracy, Truth, and Understanding: An Epistemic Argument for Democracy." Democracy, Populism, and Truth. Ed. Mark Navin and Richard Nunan. New York, New York: Springer, 2020. 63-76. Print.
Capps, John. "The Pragmatic Origins of Ethical Expressivism: Stevenson, Dewey, and the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science." Pragmatism and the European Traditions: Encounters with Analytic Philosophy and Phenomenology Before the Great Divide. Ed. S. Marchetti M. Baghramian and M. Baghramian. New York, NY: Routledge, 2018. 187-202. Print.
Capps, John. "Epistemology, Logic, and Inquiry." The Continuum Companion to Pragmatism. Ed. Sami Pihlstrom. New York, NY: Continuum, 2011. 81-91. Print.

Currently Teaching

PHIL-101
3 Credits
Philosophy is about the rigorous discussion of big questions, and sometimes small precise questions, that do not have obvious answers. This class is an introduction to philosophical thinking where we learn how to think and talk critically about some of these challenging questions. Such as: Is there a single truth or is truth relative to different people and perspectives? Do we have free will and, if so, how? Do we ever really know anything? What gives life meaning? Is morality objective or subjective, discovered or created? We’ll use historical and contemporary sources to clarify questions like these, to understand the stakes, to discuss possible responses, and to arrive at a more coherent, more philosophically informed, set of answers.
PHIL-205
3 Credits
An introduction to symbolic, or formal, deductive logic and techniques, such as truth tables, truth trees, and formal derivations. The emphasis will be on propositional (or sentential) logic and first-order predicate logic.
PHIL-310
3 Credits
Epistemology, or the theory of knowledge, examines how we come to know what we know. This course covers historical and contemporary approaches to the question of what knowledge is, what makes a belief true, and how beliefs are justified. Philosophical skepticism, the idea that we actually know nothing at all, will also be discussed, as well as possible responses. Other topics may include epistemic relativism, feminist epistemology, naturalism, the internalism/externalism debate, and the application of epistemology to other fields.
PHIL-312
3 Credits
This course examines the contributions of American philosophers from the colonial era to the present day. From the New England Transcendentalists of the 19th century, to the Pragmatism and Neo-Pragmatism of the 20th and 21st, American philosophy has responded to the demands of a pluralistic, ever-changing society. Because American philosophy is a reflection of American culture, it has also offered a unique perspective on perennial philosophical problems in ways that have differed sharply from dominant forms of European philosophy. Authors may include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, C.S. Peirce, Jane Addams, William James, John Dewey, Richard Rorty, and Cornel West.