John Pemberton

John Pemberton has been an Associate at the CPNSS since 1994. He has also recently become a Research Associate on the Powers Structuralism project at Corpus Christi College in Oxford. Until 2008 he was engaged in finance, commercial research and business in a variety of companies and institutions in Britain – this experience sets the central ambition of his research: contributing to the foundations of finance and economics.

This current research initiative is within the philosophy of science and metaphysics – it seeks to explore the inter-relation between arrangements (structures) of components and powers and the change to which such arrangements (i.e. nomological machines or mechanisms) give rise. The work follows in the tradition associated with Stanford School of strong respect for scientific practice, whilst also seeking to connect to existing metaphysical viewpoints. The main strands of this work are:

  • Research in conjunction with Nancy Cartwright in philosophy of science centred around nomological machines, i.e. arrangements of components and powers which give rise to characteristic change - much of the focus is on causation and laws.
  • Metaphysical investigation of the interrelation between change and structure informed by Aristotle’s account of form, process of change, and agent-patient powers – this work benefits from participation in the Powers Structuralism Project.
  • Development of an account of the ontology of physical things as homeodynamic processes generated from further things.

Relevant publications include:

Pemberton, J.M. & Cartwright, N. (2014). Ceteris paribus laws need machines to generate them. Erkenntnis special issue: Semantics and Pragmatics of Ceteris Paribus Conditions.

Cartwright, N. & Pemberton, J.M. (2012). Aristotelian powers: without them, what would modern science do? In Powers and capacities in philosophy: the new Aristotelianism. Edited by J. Greco and R. Groff. Routledge.