FaceI am currently a Lecturer in Philosophy at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. In August 2018 I will be joining the Philosophy Department and the Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy at Chapman University in Orange County, California.

I specialize in political philosophy, normative ethics, and decision theory. My research focuses on the relation of individual practical rationality to social rules as well as the way those rules are organized into systems of norms and institutions. I am especially interested in how recent work in moral psychology and experimental economics can inform our understanding of how to improve our institutions of self-governance.


With Penelope on Pichacho Peak

With Penelope on Pichacho Peak

Recently I have also been working with my colleague Toby Handfield in philosophy and several collaborators in Economics including Lata Gangadharanon, Klaus Abbink, and Erte Xiao on how “bad norms,” such as norms of anti-social punishment and honor codes develop, stabilize, and change. I am also working on a project with Vernon Smith, Bart Wilson, Keith Hankins, and Toby Handfield on “rationality and norms.” Other collaborators include Gerald Gaus, Julian GarciaDavid Schmidtz, Kevin Vallier, Chris Freiman, and Keith Hankins.

My work has been published in:


John and Molly on a Beach in Lorne

  • Nature Communications 
  • The American Journal of Political Science 
  • Philosophical Studies
  • Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • Synthese
  • Human Nature
  • The Journal of Moral Philosophy
  • Political Studies
  • Social Philosophy & Policy
  • Ethical Theory and Moral Practice
  • The European Journal of Philosophy
  • The Adam Smith Review
  • several edited volumes.

Some of my recent publications can be found here. I have also written about bargaining theory, the social contract, democratic theory, public reason, egalitarianism, justice, Epicurean political theory, Adam Smith, and social evolution.

You can contact me at john.thrasher<at>monash.edu

With Baby Jack