PDF Version

John Thrasher

Professional Positions

Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy & Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy, Chapman University, 2018-

Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Department of Philosophy, Monash University, 2018-

Lecturer (Assistant Professor), Department of Philosophy, Monash University, 2014-2018


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

  1. On Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. 2020 (under contract). Princeton University Press, with Gerald Gaus.
  2. The Ethics of Capitalism. 2019. Oxford University Press, with Daniel Halliday.
Edited Volumes

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

Journal Articles
  1. “Agreeing to Disagree: Diversity, Political Contractualism, and the Open Society.” 2020. The Journal of Politics. 82(3): 1142-1155.
  2. “On Minimal Morality.” 2020. Analytic Philosophy. 61(1): 46-56.
  3. Self-Ownership as Personal Sovereignty” 2019. Social Philosophy & Policy. 36(2): 116-133.
  4. Democracy Unchained: Contractualism, Individualism, and Independence in Buchanan’s Democratic Theory.” 2019. Homo Oeconomicus. 35: 25-40.
  5. Two of a Kind: Are Norms of Honor a Species of Morality?” 2019. Biology & Philosophy 34(3), with Toby Handfield.
  6. Constructivism, Representation, and Stability: Path-Dependence in Public Reason Theories of Justice.” 2019. Synthese 196(1): 429-450.
  7. Honor and Violence: An Account of Feuds, Duels, and Honor Killings.” 2018. Human Nature 29(4):371–389, with Toby Handfield.
  8. Greenbeards and Signaling: Why Morality isn’t Indispensable.” 2018. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 41(e103), with Toby Handfield and Julian Garcia.
  9. Evaluating Bad Norms.” 2018. Social Philosophy & Policy. 35(1): 196-216.
  10.  “Political Stability in the Open Society.” 2018. American Journal of Political Science. 62(2):398-409, with Kevin Vallier.
  11. Peer Punishment Promotes Enforcement of Bad Social Norms.” 2017. Nature Communications 8, with Klaus Abbink, Lata Gangadharan, and Toby Handfield.
  12. The Ethics of Legislative Vote Trading.” 2016. Political Studies 64(3): 614-629.
  13. The Fragility of Consensus: Public Reason, Diversity and Stability.” 2015. The European Journal of Philosophy 23(4): 933-954, with Kevin Vallier.
  14. Adam Smith and the Social Contract.” 2015. The Adam Smith Review. 8: 195-216.
  15. When Justice Demands Inequality.” 2015. The Journal of Moral Philosophy. 12(2): 172-194, with Keith Hankins.
  16. Uniqueness and Symmetry in Bargaining Theories of Justice.” 2014. Philosophical Studies. 167(3): 683-699.
  17. Ordering Anarchy.” 2014. Rationality, Markets and Morals. 5(1): 30-46.
  18. Reconciling Justice and Pleasure in Epicurean Contractarianism.” 2013. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice. 16(2): 423-436.
Chapters in Edited Volumes
  1. The Right to Own the Means of Production.” 2019. In Jahel Queralt and Bas Van Der Vossen (eds.) Economic Liberties as Human Rights. Routledge Press, with Chris Freiman. 
  2. When Equality Matters.” 2018. In David Boonin (ed.) The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy. Palgrave.
  3. On The Calculus of Consent.” 2017. In Jacob Levy (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Classics in Contemporary Political Theory. Oxford University Press, with Gerald Gaus.
  4. Social Contractarianism” 2017. In Brennan, Jason, Bas van der Vossen, & David Schmidtz (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Libertarianism. Routledge.
  5. Rational Choice and the Original Position: The (Many) Models of Rawls and Harsanyi.” 2015. In Timothy Hinton (ed.) The Original Position. Cambridge University Press, with Gerald Gaus.
  6. “Bankers, Vampires, and Organ Sellers: Who Can You Trust?” 2015. In Garnett, Robert, Paul Lewis, and Lenore Ealy (eds.) Commerce and Community: Ecologies of Social Cooperation. Routledge, with David Schmidtz.
  7. The Virtues of Justice.” 2014. In Timpe, Kevin and Craig A. Boyd (eds.) Virtues and their Vices. Oxford University Press, with David Schmidtz.
  8. Social Evolution.” 2013. In Gaus, Gerald and Fred D’Agostino The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy. Routledge, with Gerald Gaus.
Reference Works
  1. “Taxation.” 2020. The International  Encyclopedia of Ethics. Hugh LaFollette (ed.), with Daniel Halliday.
  2. Contemporary Approaches to the Social Contract.” 2017. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, with Fred D’Agostino and Gerald Gaus.
Book Reviews
  1. The Price of Sociality: Review of ‘Jonathan Birch, The Philosophy of Social Evolution‘.” 2018. Metascience.
  2. Review of “John Tomasi, Free Market Fairness.” 2014. Public Choice 159(1-2): 309-311.
  3. Review of “Charles Tilly, Credit and Blame.” 2013. The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms. 18(7): 967.
  4. Review of “Herbert Gintis, The Bounds of Reason: Game Theory and the Unification of the Behavioral Sciences.” 2011. The Journal of Value Inquiry 45(1): 85-90.
Invited Talks and Presentations 

2019 Waseda University (Tokyo, Japan), Harvard Business School, PPE Society Meeting

2018 Texas Tech University, Monash University, PPE Society Meeting

2017 Australasian Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy (University of Sydney), PPE Society Meeting, American Philosophical Association (Pacific)

2016 Southern Economics Association, Social Philosophy & Policy, Seoul National University, Australasian Association of Philosophy, American Philosophical Association (Pacific) University of Arizona

2015 University of Melbourne, Australasian Association of Philosophy, Center for Moral, Political and Social Theory (Australian National University), American Philosophical Association (Pacific), Australian National University 

2014 New Zealand Association for Philosophy, American Philosophical Association

2013 London School of Economics, University of Utah, University of Manchester

2012 University of New Orleans

2011 Southern Economics Association, Rational Choice Contractarianism: 25 Years after Morals by Agreement (York University)


Utopia and Dystopia in Film and Fiction (w/ Michael Valdez Moses), Chapman University, Fall 2019
David Hume (Junior/Senior Seminar, Chapman University, Spring 2020
Cause, Effect, and Freedom (w/ Erik Kimbrough), Chapman University, Fall 2019
Utopia and Dystopia in Film and Fiction (w/ Michael Valdez Moses), Chapman University, Fall 2019
Philosophy in Literature, Chapman University, Spring 2019

Games and Decisions, Chapman University, Inter-term 2019
Global Justice, Chapman University, Fall 2018
The Tragedy in Morality (w/Brennan McDavid), Chapman University, Fall 2018
Presidential Seminar (w/ Jan Osborn), Chapman University, Fall 2018
Political Philosophy, Monash University, 2014-2017
Democratic Theory, Monash University, 2015-2017
Hobbes and Spinoza (Honors Seminar), Monash University, 2017
Human Rights Theory 1 (w/ Linda Barclay), Monash University, 2017
Conventions and Norms (Honors Seminar), Monash University, 2015,2016
Moral Psychology (Honors Seminar), Monash University, 2015

Human Rights Theory 1 (w/ Robbie Arrell), Monash University, 2015,2016
Rationality and Morality (Honors Seminar), Monash University, 2014

The Social Contract, University of Arizona, 2013
The Ethics & Economics of Wealth Creation, University of Arizona, 2009   

Research Supervision

Matthew Ringenbergs (w/ Toby Handfield) HD1, Monash University, 2018-2019
Lucy Mayne (Primary) HD1, Monash University, 2016-2018
James McGuire (Primary) HD1, Monash University, 2016-2018      

Jade Popper (Completed), Monash University, 2017

Andrew Belyea-Tate (Completed),  Monash University, 2016
Lucy Mayne (Completed), Monash University, 2015

Selected Grants, Honors, And Awards

2017-20    Discovery Project DP170102834, “Informal Sanctions and Bad Social Norms,” with Klaus
Abbink, Lata Gangadharan, Toby Handfield, and David Skarbek, $231,500,
2020         Discourse Initiative Grant, $15,000
2020         Grant for Experimental Pilot, $4,000
2015-18     Dean’s Commendation for Early Career Researcher   
2016         Monash Focus Program Grant, $50,000
2014-15     SoPHIS Research Grants
2015         New Appointee Research Grant, $5,000
2013         Fink Prize for the Most Outstanding Graduate Student
2013         University of Arizona Excellence Dissertation Fellowship                                          
2012         Bernard Marcus Fellowship                                                                          
2011         H.B. Earhart Fellowship
2010         Bernard Marcus Fellowship  
2009         Thomas W. Smith Fellowship           


2021          Organizer, Summer Seminar on PPE
2019-20     Search Committee, Research Associate, Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy
2015-18     SoPHIS Honors Coordinator, Monash University
2014-18     Philosophy Honors Coordinator, Monash University  
2017          External Reviewer, Council for the Humanities of the Netherlands
2017          Project Editor, Social Philosophy and Policy 
2016          External Reviewer, Organization for Scientific Research                                
2015          Organizing Committee, Australasian Association of Philosophy Conference               
2015          External Reviewer, American Academy in Berlin                                                      
2014          Project Editor, Social Philosophy and Policy                                                             
2012-14     Assistant Editor, Social Philosophy and Policy



Adam Smith Review

American Philosophical Quarterly

American Political Science Review

American Journal of Political Science


Australasian Journal of Philosophy

British Journal of Political Science

Canadian Journal of Philosophy

Cambridge University Press

Economics & Philosophy




Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

Ethical Perspectives

Hobbes Studies

Japanese Journal of Political Science

Journal of Applied Philosophy

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization

Journal of Economic Psychology

Journal of Philosophical Research

Journal of Politics

Journal of Political Philosophy

Journal of Value Inquiry

Legal Theory


Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy

Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly

Philosophical Papers

Philosophical Perspectives

Philosophical Psychology

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