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John Thrasher

US Citizen
Australian Permanent Resident

Areas of Specialization

Political Philosophy, Moral Philosophy

Areas of Competence

Rational Choice Theory & Game Theory, Philosophy of Economics, Philosophy of Law, Business Ethics, Human Rights Theory       


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

Academic Positions

2014-present    Lecturer (tenured)                   Monash University


Evaluating Bad Norms” Social Philosophy & Policy, (Forthcoming, 2018)

“Greenbeards and Signaling: Why Morality isn’t Indispensable” with Toby Handfield and Julian Garcia, Behavioral and Brain Sciences (In Press, 2017)

“Political Stability in the Open Society” with Kevin Vallier (In Press, 2017) American Journal of Political Science

Constructivism, Representation, and Stability: Path-Dependence in Public Reason Theories of Justice” Synthese, (In Press, 2017)

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 

Social ContractarianismThe Routledge Handbook of Libertarianism, edited by Jason Brennan, and Bas van der Vossen, and David Schmidtz, Routledge Press (2017).

“On The Calculus of Consent, with Gerald Gaus, The Oxford Handbook of Classics in Contemporary Political Theory, edited by Jacob Levy, Oxford University Press (In Press, 2017)

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

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

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

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.

“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

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

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

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

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

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



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.

Selected Grants

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

Focus Program Grant $50,000                                                                2016
New Appointee Research Grant $5,000                                                 2015
SoPHIS Research Grants                                                                            2014-2017

Selected Presentations

“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: Incoherent Choice and Constructivism,” Australasian Association of Philosophy, Melbourne (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)

“Norms of Honor,” Workshop on Evolutionary Approaches to Moral Behaviour, Monash University (2015)

“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)

“When Mobility Matters” comments on Govind Persad’s “When Does Downward Mobility Matter? A Two-Threshold Approach to Mobility and Security,” American Philosophical Association (Eastern), Baltimore USA (2013)

“Republicanism and Power,” comments on Mark T. Schranz’s “Why Republicans Need a Radical Conception of Power,” American Philosophical Association (Eastern), Atlanta USA (2012)

“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)

“Rethinking Self-Ownership,” Conference on David Sobel’s “Backing Away from Self-Ownership,” University of Arizona (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


Political Philosophy                                                   Monash University     2015-2017
Democratic Theory                                                    Monash University     2015-2017
Human Rights Theory 1 (with Linda Barclay)     Monash University     2017
Human Rights Theory 1 (with Robbie Arrell)      Monash University     2015, 2016
Political Philosophy (with Toby Handfield)         Monash University     2014

Conventions, Norms, & Contract (Honors)         Monash University     2015, 2016
Moral Psychology (Honors)                                    Monash University             2015 Rationality and Morality (Honors)                        Monash University             2014

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

Teaching Assistant
Environmental Ethics (David Schmidtz)                University of Arizona         2012
Ethics and Entrepreneurship (David Schmidtz)   University of Arizona          2011
Economics & the Human Good (Ryan Hanley)     Columbia University           2011
Principles of Economics (Cathleen Johnson)         University of Arizona         2011
Ethics & Economics of Wealth Creation (Gaus)     University of Arizona        2008


Organizing Committee AAP Conference
External Reviewer for the American Academy in Berlin                         2015
SoPHIS (School) Honors Coordinator, Monash University                   2015- Philosophy Honors Coordinator, Monash University                             2014-
Project Editor, Social Philosophy and Policy                                             2014
Assistant Editor, Social Philosophy and Policy                                         2012-2014
Program Assistant, NEH Experimental Philosophy Institute                2012
Director and Organizer, Conference on The Order of Public Reason   2011
Chair and Co-organizer, Arizona Philosophy Dossier Workshop         2010
Graduate Representative, Master’s Program Committee                        2010
Program Officer, Arizona Center for the Philosophy of Freedom         2010-2012

Research Supervision

Lucy Mayne (Primary)                    Monash University                              2016-James McGuire (Primary)              Monash University                              2016-

Jarrod Peters (Completed)              Monash University                            2017
Andrew Belyea-Tate (Completed)  Monash University                            2016
Lucy Mayne (Completed)                 Monash University                            2015


American Philosophical Association
American Political Science Association
Australasian Association of Philosophy
Southern Economics Association
Hume Society
Victorian Research Institute for Social Cohesion


American Political Science Review
American Journal of Political Science
Australasian Journal of Philosophy
British Journal of Political Science
Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
Philosophy of Science
Philosophical Studies
Philosophical Quarterly
Pacific Philosophical Quarterly
Journal of Political Philosophy
American Philosophical Quarterly
Canadian Journal of Philosophy
Hobbes Studies
Res Publica
Journal of Applied Philosophy
Social Theory and Practice
Journal of Philosophical Research
Ethical Perspectives
Polish Journal of Philosophy
Manuscript reviewer for Routledge