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Department of Philosophy


Michael Dickson

Title: Professor
Department: Philosophy
College of Arts and Sciences
Office: Close-Hipp 525
Resources: Personal Home Page
Curriculum Vitae

Department of Philosophy
Professor Michael Dickson


PhD, University of Notre Dame, 1995
BA/BS, University of South Carolina, 1990

Research Interests 

philosophy of music, medieval philosophy, game theory, epistemology of philosophy

For a couple of decades, I worked in philosophy of physics, especially quantum theory.  After a (too-long) stint as an administrator, I have returned to civilian life, and am developing a new research expertise in philosophy of music.  This new interest grows out of a lengthy training as a classical pianist and French horn player, a brief career as a professional musician before becoming a philosopher, and a continued abiding and serious interest in both musicology and musical performance.  I am currently studying existing work in the field, and developing a few projects of my own.

In addition, I am reviving an old interest in medieval philosophy, originally developed as a graduate student, and subsequently as a teaching avocation at Indiana University, where I worked for ten years in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science.  Specifically, I have an interest in medieval theories of truth and medieval aesthetics (and the connections between them), among other things.

I have also done some research in game theory, especially variations of signaling games.  This work has included both analytical results and simulations of multi-agent systems.

Finally, I have done some work in what we might as well call 'epistemology of of philosophy', focused on the role that so-called 'intuitions' in fact play in contemporary philosophy (which is prominent in some areas) as compared to the role that I believe they should play (which is nil).  My view in a nutshell is that rather than citing 'intuition' as a form of evidence, we should admit that we don't know, and just leave such things as 'thoughts deserving of further investigation'.

Recent and Upcoming Presentations

  • "Musical Works are Instructions" (Queen St. Symposium, Columbia, SC)
  • "Anselm the Art Critic:  The 'Necessity' of the Incarnation in Cur Deus Homo" (meeting of the International Society for Anselm Studies, University of Durham, England)
  • "Aristotelian 'Intuition' and Doing Philosophy Well (Without It)" (conference, 'To What End?  Narrative, Institutions, and Practices", University of Notre Dame)
  • "Induction, Intuition, and the Essential Uncertainty of Scientific Principles" (forthcoming, meeting of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, Minneapolis, MN)

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.