Alan Nelson

Professor Emeritus of Philosophy
School of Humanities

PH.D., Illinois at Chicago

M.S., Wisconsin

M.A., Illinois at Chicago


Phone: (949) 824-6525

University of California, Irvine
Department of Philosophy
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599

picture of Alan  Nelson

Early Modern Rationalism and Empiricism, Philosophy and History of Science, and History of Analytic Philosophy
Appointments I arrived at UCI via UCLA and have held visiting positions at Stanford, Pittsburgh, and USC. In 2006, I retired from UCI and became Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Most of my teaching and research is focused on the great philosophical systems arising in the 17th and early 18th centuries. I tend to interpret the canonical figures as developing coherent, self consistent systems of philosophy and science. I am very cautious about understanding these thinkers as engaged in productive debate with one another or with "us".

I also teach with some regularity seminars and advanced upper division courses on the history of analytic philosophy with special attention to Wittgenstein and to more recent systematic philosophers such as Davidson.
Publications "Proofs of the Existence of God," (2006)(with Larry Nolan) in Gaukroger (ed.), A Companion to Descartes' Meditations. Blackwell
  "Proust and the Rationalist Conception of the Self," (2005)in A. Nelson (ed.) A Companion to Rationalism. Blackwell
  "Leibniz on Modality, Cognition, and Expression," (2005) in A. Nelson (ed.) A Companion to Rationalism. Blackwell
  "The Rationalist Impulse," (2005) in A. Nelson (ed.), A Companion to Rationalism. Blackwell
  "Two Concepts of Idealization in Economics", (2001) in The Economic World View, Uskali Maki, ed.., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  "Circumventing Cartesian Circles" (1999)(with Lex Newman), Nous.
  "Cognition and Modality in Descartes" (1999) (with David Cunning), Acta Philosophica Fennica.
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Last updated 07/25/2006