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John Thrasher

USA Citizen | Australian Permanent Resident

Areas of Specialization

Political Philosophy, Moral Philosophy

Areas of Competence

Rational Choice Theory & Game Theory, Philosophy of Economics, Business Ethics    


PhD     2014    University of Arizona                       
MA      2011    University of Arizona                       
BA       2004    University of Colorado, Boulder

Academic Positions

2018-Present Assistant Professor Philosophy Dept. & Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy,
Chapman University
2014-2018 Lecturer (Tenured) Monash University



“Honor and Violence: An Account of Feuds, Duels, and Honor Killings” (In Press, 2018) with Toby Handfield, Human Nature

“Greenbeards and Signaling: Why Morality isn’t Indispensable” (In Press, 2018) with Toby Handfield and Julian Garcia, Behavioral and Brain Sciences 

 “When Equality Matters” (In Press, 2018)  The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy, edited by David Boonin, Palgrave

“Evaluating Bad Norms” (In Press, 2018) Social Philosophy & Policy

“Constructivism, Representation, and Stability: Path-Dependence in Public Reason Theories of Justice” (In Press, 2018) Synthese DOI: 10.1007/s11229-017-1488-7

“Political Stability in the Open Society” with Kevin Vallier,
American Journal of Political Science 62, no. 2 (2018):398-409. DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12333


“Peer Punishment Promotes Enforcement of Bad Social Norms” with Klaus Abbink, Lata Gangadharan, and Toby Handfield
Nature Communications 8 (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00731-0

“On The Calculus of Consent, with Gerald Gaus, (2017) The Oxford Handbook of Classics in Contemporary Political Theory, edited by Jacob Levy, Oxford University Press DOI: DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198717133.013.25

“Social Contractarianism” The Routledge Handbook of Libertarianism, edited by Jason Brennan, and Bas van der Vossen, and David Schmidtz, Routledge (2017): 212-226.

“Contemporary Approaches to the Social Contract,” with Gerald Gaus and Fred D’Agostino, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2017).


“The Ethics of Legislative Vote Trading” Political Studies 64, no.3 (2016): 614-629


“Rational Choice and the Original Position: The (Many) Models of Rawls and Harsanyi,” with Gerald Gaus, The Original Position, edited by Timothy Hinton, Cambridge University Press (2015): 39-58.

“The Fragility of Consensus: Public Reason, Diversity and Stability,” with Kevin Vallier, The European Journal of Philosophy 23, no.4 (2015): 933-954

“Adam Smith and the Social Contract,” The Adam Smith Review 8 (2015): 195-216

“Bankers, Vampires, and Organ Sellers: Who Can You Trust?” with David Schmidtz, Commerce and Community: Ecologies of Social Cooperation, edited by Robert Garnett, Paul Lewis, and Lenore Ealy, Routledge (2015): 336-341

“When Justice Demands Inequality,” with Keith Hankins, The Journal of Moral Philosophy 12, no.2 (2015): 172-194


“Uniqueness and Symmetry in Bargaining Theories of Justice,” Philosophical Studies 167, no. 3 (2014): 683-699.

“The Virtues of Justice,” with David Schmidtz, Virtues and their Vices, edited by Kevin Timpe and Craig A. Boyd, Oxford University Press (2014): 59-74

“Ordering Anarchy,” Rationality, Markets and Morals (Special Topic: Can the Social Contract Be Signed by an Invisible Hand? Edited by Geoffrey Brennan and Bernd Lahno) 5, no. 1 (2014): 30-46


“Reconciling Justice and Pleasure in Epicurean Contractarianism,” Ethical Theory & Moral Practice 16, no. 2 (2013): 423-436

“Social Evolution,” with Gerald Gaus, The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy, edited by Gerald Gaus and Fred D’Agostino, Routledge (2013): 643-655

Edited Volumes

Creating Wealth: Ethical and Economic Perspectives with David Schmidtz, 2nd edition, Cognella Publishing, (2013)

Book Reviews

Review of “John Tomasi, Free Market Fairness,” Public Choice 159:1-2 (2014): 309-311.

Review of “Charles Tilly, Credit and Blame,” with David Schmidtz, The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms, 18:7 (2013): 967.

Review of “Herbert Gintis, The Bounds of Reason: Game Theory and the Unification of the Behavioral Sciences,” The Journal of Value Inquiry 45:1 (2011): 85-90.


Discovery Project DP170102834  2017-2019 “Informal Sanctions and Bad Social Norms” $231,500

Focus Program Grant  2016 $50,000                                                             

New Appointee Research Grant 2015 $5,000                                               

SoPHIS Research Grants 2014, 2015,2016                                                                              

Selected Presentations

“Democracy Against Populism” PPE Society Meeting, New Orleans, USA (2018 Planned)

“Adam Smith, Contractarian,” Deviant Thinking: Early Modern Philosophy and the Enlightenment, Australasian Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy, University of Sydney, Australia (2017)

“Bargaining and the Social Contract: A Reorientation,” PPE Society Meeting, New Orleans, USA (2017)

“The Justice of Strategy,” American Philosophical Association, Pacific, Seattle, USA (2017)

“Honor and Violence,” Southern Economics Association, Washington, D.C. (2016)

“Evaluating Bad Norms,” Social Philosophy and Policy Conference, Tucson, Arizona USA (2016)

“Constructivism, Representation, and Stability,” Conference on Contemporary Philosophy in East Asia (CCPEA), Seoul, Republic of Korea (2016)

“Paths to Justice: Inconsistent Choice in the Original Position,” Australasian Association of Philosophy (2016)

“Agreeing to Disagree: The Promise of Contractual Liberalism,” American Philosophical Association (Pacific), San Francisco, USA (2016)

“Norms of Honor,” The University of Arizona (2016)

“Representation and Democracy,” University of Melbourne (2015)

“Self-Ownership and Personal Sovereignty” Australasian Association of Philosophy, Macquarie University (2015)

“Self-Ownership: Not Just for Libertarians,” Center for Moral, Political and Social Theory, Australian National University (2015)

“Rationality, Uniqueness and the Social Contract,” Australian National University (2015)

“Impartiality, Rationality, and the Social Contract” American Philosophical Association (Pacific), Vancouver, Canada (2015)

“Stability and the Price of Compliance,” New Zealand Association for Philosophy, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand (2014)

“Backing into Self-Ownership,” American Philosophical Association (Pacific), San Diego, USA (2014)

“Equality and Justice,” University of New Orleans, (2012)

“The Economist as Philosopher,” Southern Economics Association, New Orleans, (2012)

“Markets and Fairness,” Southern Economics Association, New Orleans, (2012)

“Rule-Following: Constraints and Objectives,” Southern Economics Association, Washington D.C. (2011)

“Moral Theory for Adults,” Rational Choice Contractarianism: 25 Years After Morals By Agreement, York University, Toronto Canada (2011)

Selected Honors And Awards

Dean’s Commendation for Early Career Researcher 2015                          
Fink Prize for the Most Outstanding Graduate Student 2013
University of Arizona Excellence Dissertation Fellowship 2013
Bernard Marcus Fellowship 2012
H.B. Earhart Fellowship 2011
Bernard Marcus Fellowship 2010
Thomas W. Smith Fellowship 2009                                                                


American Philosophical Association
American Political Science Association
Australasian Association of Philosophy
Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Society
Southern Economics Association
Victorian Research Institute for Social Cohesion
Hume Society
International Adam Smith Society


Adam Smith Review
American Philosophical Quarterly
American Political Science Review
American Journal of Political Science
British Journal of Political Science
Canadian Journal of Philosophy
Ethical Theory and Moral Practice
Ethical Perspectives
Hobbes Studies
Journal of Applied Philosophy
Journal of Philosophical Research
Journal of Political Philosophy
Pacific Philosophical Quarterly
Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
Philosophy of Science
Philosophical Studies
Philosophical Quarterly
Polish Journal of Philosophy
Public Affairs Quarterly
Res Publica
Social Theory and Practice
Social Philosophy & Policy