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Andrew David Irvine

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Nationality  Canadian
Notable works  Socrates on Trial
Name  Andrew Irvine
Website  UBC - Irvine
Occupation  Professor

Andrew David Irvine
Full Name  Andrew David Irvine
Born  July 14, 1958 (age 57) (1958-07-14) Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada
Education  B.A.(Hon.) Sask M.A. UWO Ph.D. Sydney
Employer  University of British Columbia

Andrew David Irvine (born July 14, 1958) is a Canadian academic who teaches at the University of British Columbia. He holds a PhD in philosophy from Sydney University and is Head of Economics, Philosophy and Political Science at UBC Okanagan. He is a past vice-chair of the UBC Board of Governors, a past president of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, and a member of the board of directors of the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship. He has held visiting positions at several Canadian and American universities and has been recognized as one of British Columbia’s most influential public intellectuals.

Contents

Academic work

Often cited for his work on the twentieth-century philosopher Bertrand Russell, Irvine has argued in favour of physicalism and against several commonly held views in the history of modern philosophy, including the claim that Gottlob Frege succeeded in developing a workable theory of mathematical platonism and the claim that Bertrand Russell was an advocate of epistemic logicism, a claim that one commentator has concluded is now “thoroughly debunked.”

He has defended a two-box solution to Newcomb’s problem in which he abandons “the (false) assumption that past observed frequency is an infallible guide to probability” and a non-cognitivist solution to the liar paradox, noting that “formal criteria alone will inevitably prove insufficient” for determining whether individual sentence tokens have meaning.

In modal logic (which studies theories of possibility and necessity), he has argued in favour of the non-normal system S7, rather than more traditional systems such as S4 or S5. Unlike other systems, S7 allows logicians to choose between competing logics, each of which, if true, would be necessarily true, but none of which are necessarily the correct system of necessary truths. As Irvine puts it, “just as being physically possible means nothing more than being consistent with the laws of physics, being logically possible means nothing more than being consistent with the laws of logic. However, this leaves open the question of which logic and which consistency relation are to be adopted. S7 gives us the language to discuss the possible denial of necessary truths. S7 gives us the language to assert not only that some propositions really are necessary; it gives us the language also to note that their denials, although impossible, remain possibly possible.” In other words, there is a mechanism in which even sets of necessary truths can be compared to their alternatives.

Political work

An advocate of traditional democratic civil liberties, Irvine has argued in favour of free speech rights, both for political reasons and in the context of defending academic freedom.

Together with Stephen Wexler, he has argued that modern constitutional protections of the rule of law can trace their roots as far back as Socrates' demand that even lawmakers must be bound by the law. It was this demand that led to Aristotle’s distinction between psephismata (votes of the assembly) and nomos (statute law), and to the resulting debate over how best to decide questions of legal supremacy within a democracy. Together with Jason Gratl, he has argued that, in its modern form, the rule of law helps resolve tensions between national security and public accountability and, together with John Whyte, he has argued that care needs to be taken with regard to electoral reform, especially when it comes to implementing proposals focusing on proportional representation. He is often cited in the media on issues ranging from free speech and academic freedom to parliamentary procedure and judicial activism.

Theatre work

In 2007 Irvine premiered Socrates on Trial, a play depicting the life and death of the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates. The play tells the story of how Socrates was put on trial for corrupting the youth of Athens and for failing to honour the city’s gods. The play contains adaptations of several classic Greek works including the slapstick comedy Clouds, written by Aristophanes and first performed in 423 BCE, and the dramatic monologue Apology, written by Plato to record the defence speech Socrates gave at his trial in 399 BCE. The premiere was directed by Joan Bryans of Vital Spark Theatre Company at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts in Vancouver.

In the words of one reviewer, “The play is refreshingly illuminating on the relationship between Socrates’ execution and the lasting influence of Aristophanes’ negative depiction of him on the evolution of the Athenian psyche.” According to another, the play not only gives an entertaining portrayal of Plato's famous mentor, but also a fascinating introduction to the “pompous, arrogant and often petulant” individual presented by Aristophanes, giving modern audiences a greater understanding of why Socrates eventually ended up being sentenced to death.

Bibliographical work

In 1999, Irvine produced detailed bibliographies of both the primary and secondary literature surrounding the Nobel Laureate Bertrand Russell. Together with Dawn Ogden, he also produced the first bibliographical index for Russell’s influential book, A History of Western Philosophy. The index is based on the second British edition (of 1979). A conversion table gives page references for both the first American edition (of 1945) and the first British edition (of 1946).

Together with Edmond Rivère, Irvine is the author of the first comprehensive, scholarly bibliography of Canada’s premier literary prize, the Governor General’s Literary Awards. The bibliography covers the history of the awards from their inception in 1936 through to the end of 2013 and appeared in Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada in 2014.

Books

  • Irvine, Andrew David (ed.) (1990). Physicalism in Mathematics. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ISBN 0-7923-0513-2
  • Irvine, Andrew David & Gary A. Wedeking (eds) (1993). Russell and Analytic Philosophy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ISBN 0-8020-2875-6
  • Irvine, Andrew David (ed.) (1999). Bertrand Russell – Life, Work and Influence. London: Routledge. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ISBN 0-415-13055-7 (Volume 1 of Bertrand Russell: Critical Assessments. London: Routledge. 1999.  ISBN 0-415-13054-9)
  • Irvine, Andrew David (ed.) (1999). Bertrand Russell – Logic and Mathematics. London: Routledge. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ISBN 0-415-13056-5 (Volume 2 of Bertrand Russell: Critical Assessments. London: Routledge. 1999.  ISBN 0-415-13054-9)
  • Irvine, Andrew David (ed.) (1999). Bertrand Russell – Language, Knowledge and the World. London: Routledge. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ISBN 0-415-13057-3 (Volume 3 of Bertrand Russell: Critical Assessments. London: Routledge. 1999.  ISBN 0-415-13054-9)
  • Irvine, Andrew David (ed.) (1999). Bertrand Russell – History of Philosophy, Ethics, Education, Religion and Politics. London: Routledge. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ISBN 0-415-13058-1 (Volume 4 of Bertrand Russell: Critical Assessments. London: Routledge. 1999.  ISBN 0-415-13054-9)
  • Woods, John, Andrew David Irvine & Douglas Walton (2000). Argument. Toronto: Pearson.  ISBN 0-13-085115-9 (1st edn); ISBN 0-13-039938-8 (2nd edn)
  • Irvine, Andrew David (ed.) (2003). David Stove’s On Enlightenment. New Brunswick: Transaction. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ISBN 0-7658-0136-1 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-4128-5186-2 (paper)
  • Peacock, Kent & Andrew David Irvine (eds) (2005). Mistakes of Reason. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ISBN 0-8020-3866-2
  • Irvine, Andrew David & John Russell (eds) (2006). In the Agora. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ISBN 0-8020-3895-6 (cloth), ISBN 0-8020-3817-4 (paper)
  • Irvine, Andrew David (2008). Socrates on Trial. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.  ISBN 978-0-8020-9783-5 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8020-9538-1 (paper), ISBN 978-0-8020-9538-1 (e-pub)
  • Irvine, Andrew David (ed.) (2009). Philosophy of Mathematics. Amsterdam: Elsevier / North-Holland. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ISBN 978-0-444-51555-1
  • Irvine, Andrew David (ed.) (2011). David Stove’s What’s Wrong with Benevolence. New York: Encounter Books. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ISBN 978-1-59403-523-4
  • References

    Andrew David Irvine Wikipedia


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