Brian’s Research

Brian Epstein’s research is on the metaphysics of the social world, and the methods of social theory.

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About Brian Epstein

Brian Epstein is an associate professor of Philosophy at Tufts. He researches the social world. What are groups? What are corporations? What are languages, dollar bills, or artifacts? Objects like these are the furniture of our everyday world. But we still have a poor understanding of what these things are. Epstein’s research aims to enhance our understanding of the social world, and improve our models in the social sciences.

The Ant Trap: Rebuilding the Foundations of the Social Sciences

Oxford University Press, 2015

Winner of the 2016 Lakatos Award
Winner of the 2016 American Philosophical Association
Joseph B. Gittler Award

The book argues for a new understanding of the nature of the social world. In order to fix the foundations of the social sciences, we need to understand prevailing assumptions about the objects these sciences study, and correct them. The book also examines the nature of groups, and investigates what it is for a group to have an intention or to take an action.

Recent Article in Tufts Now

Rethinking the Social Sciences by Taylor McNeil

The world is full of chaos, from financial meltdowns to government upheavals. Economists and political scientists study these issues and try to figure out what’s going wrong—and what’s going right. But their predictive models are weak, and there can be unpleasant surprises—as was the case with the financial crisis of 2008. Brian Epstein, an associate professor of philosophy in the School of Arts and Sciences, argues that these models don’t take into account the complexity of many social problems…

Talk at TEDx Stanford