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John Thrasher

Areas of Specialization

Social and Political Philosophy, PPE

Areas of Competence

Ethics, Moral Psychology, Social Norms, Experimental Philosophy, History of Political Thought, David Hume, Adam Smith

Professional Positions

Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy & The Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy, Chapman University, 2021-

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

Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy & The Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy, Chapman University, 2018-2021

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


PhD           Philosophy       2011-2014         University of Arizona 
MA            Philosophy       2008-2011         University of Arizona                           
BA             Philosophy       2000-2004        University of Colorado, Boulder



2021     Philosophy, Politics, and Economics: An Introduction, with Gerald Gaus. Princeton University Press.

2020     The Ethics of Capitalism, with Daniel Halliday. Oxford University Press.

 Edited Volumes & Collections

Forthcoming (2024)     New Approaches to Social Contract Theory: Liberty, Equality, Diversity, and the Open Society, co-edited with Michael Moehler. Oxford University Press.

2021     “Strategic Justice, Conventions, and Game Theory” Topical Collection in Synthese, co-edited with Michael Moehler.

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


“Consensus, Contract, and Diversity.” Forthcoming. In Michael Moehler and John Thrasher (eds.) New Approaches to Social Contract Theory: Liberty, Equality, Diversity, and the Open Society. Oxford University Press.

Experimental Political Philosophy: A Manifesto.” Forthcoming. In Matt Lindauer (ed.) Advances in Experimental Political Philosophy. Bloomsbury.

“What Does Labor Mixing Get You?” Forthcoming. In Matt Lindauer (ed.) Advances in Experimental Political Philosophy. Bloomsbury, with Shaun Nichols.

Ownership and Convention.” 2023. Cognition (237), with Shaun Nichols.

Permission, Prohibition, and Dynamism.” 2023. In Jonathan Adler (ed.) Climate LiberalismPalgrave MacMillan. 227-249.

Smithian Sympathy and the Emergence of Norms.” 2022. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 105(3): 638-656, with Keith Hankins.

Hume’s Politics and Four Dimensions of Realism.” 2022. The Journal of Politics 84(2): 1007-1020, with Keith Hankins.

“Game Theory.” 2022. In Chris Melenovsky (ed.) Routledge Companion to Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. 67-80.

“Contractarian Justifications.” 2022. In Ben Ferguson and Matt Zwolinski (eds.) Routledge Companion to Libertarianism. 56-67.

Asymmetry and Symmetry of Acts and Omissions in Punishment, Norms, and Judged Causality.” 2021. Judgment and Decision Making 16(4): 796-822, with Toby Handfield, Andrew Corcoran, and Shaun Nichols.

Agreeing to Disagree: Diversity, Political Contractualism, and the Open Society.” 2020. The Journal of Politics 82(3): 1142-1155.

On Minimal Morality.” 2020. Analytic Philosophy 61(1): 45-56.

Self-Ownership as Personal Sovereignty.” 2019. Social Philosophy & Policy. 36(2):116-133.

Democracy Unchained: Contractualism, Individualism, and Independence in Buchanan’s Democratic Theory.” 2019. Homo Oeconomicus 36: 25-40.

Two of a Kind: Are Norms of Honor a Species of Morality?” 2019. Biology & Philosophy 34(3), with Toby Handfield.

Constructivism, Representation, and Stability: Path-Dependence in Public Reason Theories of Justice.” 2019. Synthese 196(1): 429-450.

The Right to Own the Means of Production.” 2019. In Jahel Queralt and Bas Van Der Vossen (eds.) Economic Liberties as Human Rights. Routledge, with Chris Freiman.

Honor and Violence: An Account of Feuds, Duels, and Honor Killings.” 2018. Human Nature 29(4):371–389, with Toby Handfield

Greenbeards and Signaling: Why Morality isn’t Indispensable.” 2018. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 41(e103), with Toby Handfield and Julian Garcia.

Evaluating Bad Norms.” 2018. Social Philosophy & Policy 35(1): 196-216.

Political Stability in the Open Society.” 2018. American Journal of Political Science 62(2): 398-409, with Kevin Vallier.

When Equality Matters.” 2018. In David Boonin (ed.) The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy. Palgrave. 182-199.

Peer Punishment Promotes Enforcement of Bad Social Norms.” 2017. Nature Communications 8 (2017), with Klaus Abbink, Lata Gangadharan, and Toby Handfield.  

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.

Social Contractarianism” 2017. In Brennan, Jason, Bas van der Vossen, and David Schmidtz (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Libertarianism. Routledge.

The Ethics of Legislative Vote Trading.” 2016. Political Studies 64(3): 614-629.

The Fragility of Consensus: Public Reason, Diversity and Stability.” 2015. The European Journal of Philosophy 23(4): 933-954, with Kevin Vallier.

Adam Smith and the Social Contract.” 2015. The Adam Smith Review 8: 195-216.

When Justice Demands Inequality.” 2015. The Journal of Moral Philosophy 12(2): 172-194, with Keith Hankins

Rational Choice and the Original Position: The (Many) Models of Rawls and Harsanyi.” 2015. In Timothy Honton (ed.) The Original Position. Cambridge University Press, with Gerald Gaus.

“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.

Uniqueness and Symmetry in Bargaining Theories of Justice.” 2014. Philosophical Studies 167(3): 683-699.

Ordering Anarchy.” 2014. Rationality, Markets and Morals 5(1): 30-46.

The Virtues of Justice.” 2014. In Timpe, Kevin and Craig A. Boyd (eds.) Virtues and their Vices. Oxford University Press, with David Schmidtz.

Reconciling Justice and Pleasure in Epicurean Contractarianism.” 2013. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16(2): 423-436.

Social Evolution.” 2013. In Gaus, Gerald and Fred D’Agostino. The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy. Routledge, with Gerald Gaus.

Reference Works

“Taxation.” 2020. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Hugh LaFollette (ed.), with Daniel Halliday.

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

 Book Reviews

“The Price of Sociality: Review of Jonathan Birch, The Philosophy of Social Evolution.” 2018. Metascience.

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

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

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 & Conference Presentations 

2023    Adam Smith @ 300 Conference (Edinburgh, UK)

2022     University at Buffalo, University of California, Irvine, PPE Society Meeting 

2021     Virginia Tech

2020     University at Buffalo*, International Adam Smith Society Meeting (Tokyo, Japan) *, PPE Society Meeting*

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 (Pacific)

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)

*Cancelled due to Covid-19


Chapman University

Toleration and its Discontents (w/Michael Moses) 

Philosophy in Literature  Fall 2022, Spring 2019

Moral Theory  Spring 2021

Utopia and Dystopia in Fiction & Film  (w/Michael Moses)  Fall 2021, 2020, 2019

David Hume (Junior/Senior Seminar)  Spring 2020

Cause, Effect, and Freedom (w/Erik Kimbrough)  Fall 2019

Games and Decisions    Inter-term 2019

Global Justice  Fall 2018

The Tragedy in Morality (w/Brennan McDavid)  Fall 2018

Presidential Seminar (w/ Jan Osborn)  Fall 2018

Monash University

Intro to PPE 2022

Hobbes and Spinoza (Honors Seminar)   2017

Human Rights Theory 1 (w/ Linda Barclay)  2017

Conventions and Norms (Honors Seminar)  2015, 2016

Moral Psychology (Honors Seminar)    2015

Human Rights Theory 1 (w/ Robbie Arrell)  2015,2016

Democratic Theory  2015-2017

Political Philosophy 2014-2017

Rationality and Morality (Honors Seminar)  2014

University of Arizona

The Social Contract  2013

The Ethics & Economics of Wealth Creation 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

2022-25 Templeton Grant, “Markets in their Social and Moral Context,” Co-PI with Bas van der Vossen, Bart Wilson, and Katharine Gillespie, $2.2 Million

2017-20    Australian Research Council Discovery Project DP170102834, “Informal Sanctions and Bad Social Norms,” Co-PI with Klaus Abbink, Lata Gangadharan, Toby Handfield, and David Skarbek, $231,500,

2020         Discourse Initiative Grant

2020         Chapman Grant for Experimental Pilot

2015-18     Dean’s Commendation for Early Career Researcher   

2014-15     SoPHIS Research Grants

2015         New Appointee Research Grant

2013         Fink Prize for the Most Outstanding Graduate Student in the Philosophy Dept., University of Arizona

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           


2022- Director, Law and Liberal Arts Minor

2022-  Senator for Schmid College, Faculty Senate, Chapman University

2022, 2017, 2014  Project Editor, Social Philosophy and Policy

2021-   Chair, Philosophy Faculty Review Committee, Chapman University 2021- Gaus Memorial Prize Committee, PPE Society
2021-   Co-Organizer (with Ryan Muldoon), PPE Graduate Summer Workshop, Chapman University

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

2015 Organizing Committee, Australasian Association of Philosophy Conference

2012-14 Assistant Editor, Social Philosophy and Policy



Adam Smith Review, American Philosophical Quarterly, American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Analysis, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, British Journal of Political Science, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Crime and Deliquency, Economics & Philosophy, Episteme, Erasmus Journal for Philosophy & Economics, Erkenntnis, Ergo, Ethical Theory & 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 Ethics, Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, Journal of Philosophical Research, Journal of Politics, Journal of Political Philosophy, Journal of Social Philosophy, Journal of Value Inquiry, Legal Theory, Manuscrito, Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy, Philosopher’s Imprint, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Papers, Philosophical Perspectives, Philosophical Psychology, Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, Philosophy of Science, Philosophical Studies, Philosophical Quarterly, Polish Journal of Philosophy, Polity, Public Affairs Quarterly, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Nexus (PNAS Nexus), Ratio, Res Publica, Social Choice & Welfare, Social Theory and Practice, Social Philosophy & Policy, Synthese, Technology in Society, Theoria


Oxford University Press, Princeton University Press, Cambridge University Press, Hackett, Routledge


American Academy in Berlin, Australasian Association of Philosophy, Australian Research Council, Central European University, Council for the Humanities of the Netherlands, Organization for Scientific Research