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John Thrasher

Areas of Specialization

Political Philosophy, PPE (Philosophy, Politics, & Economics)

Areas of Competence

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


Associate Professor Chapman University Philosophy
2018–2021 Assistant Professor Chapman University Philosophy
2014–2018 Lecturer (Tenured) Monash University Philosophy


2014 PhD University of Arizona Philosophy
2011 MA University of Arizona Philosophy
2003 BA  University of Colorado Philosophy



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

  • 2024 Korean Translation published by Purun Communication
  • 2022 Mandarin Translation published in mainland China by Truth & Wisdom Press

2020 Halliday, Daniel and John Thrasher. The Ethics of Capitalism: An Introduction. Oxford University Press.

Edited Volumes

2024 Moehler, Michael and John Thrasher (eds.). 2024. New Directions in Social Contract Theory: Liberty, Equality, Diversity, and the Open Society. Oxford University Press.

2021 Moehler, Michael and John Thrasher (eds.). “Strategic Justice, Conventions, and Game Theory: Themes in the Philosophy of Peter Vanderschraaf.” Topical Collection in Synthese.

2023 Schmidtz, David and John Thrasher (eds.). 2013. Creating Wealth: Ethical and Economic Perspectives 2nd edition. Cognella.

Journal Articles

2023 Nichols, Shaun and John Thrasher. 2023. “Ownership and Convention.” Cognition 237

2022 Thrasher, John and Keith Hankins. “Smithian Sympathy and the Emergence of Norms.” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 105(3): 638–656.

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

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

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

2020 Thrasher, John. “On Minimal Morality.” Analytic Philosophy 61(1): 45–56.

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018 Thrasher, John. “Evaluating Bad Norms.” Social Philosophy & Policy 35(1): 196–216.

2018 Thrasher, John and Kevin Vallier. “Political Stability in the Open Society.” American Journal of Political Science 62(2): 398–409.

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

2016 Thrasher, John. “The Ethics of Legislative Vote Trading.” Political Studies 64(3): 614–629.

2015 Thrasher, John and Kevin VAllier. “The Fragility of Consensus: Public Reason, Diversity and Stability.” The European Journal of Philosophy 23(4): 933–954.

2015 Thrasher, John. “Adam Smith and the Social Contract.” The Adam Smith Review 8: 195–216.

2015 Thrasher, John and Keith Hankins. “When Justice Demands Inequality.” The Journal of Moral Philosophy 12(2): 172–194.

2014 Thrasher, John. “Uniqueness and Symmetry in Bargaining Theories of Justice.” Philosophical Studies 167(3): 683–699.

2014 Thrasher, John. “Ordering Anarchy.” Rationality, Markets and Morals 5(1): 30–46.

2013 Thrasher, John. “Reconciling Justice and Pleasure in Epicurean Contractarianism.” Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16(2): 423–436.

Chapters in Edited Volumes

Forthcoming Thrasher, John. “Polycentric Justice.” In David Thunder and Pablo Paniagua (eds.) Polycentric Governance and the Good Society: A Normative and Philosophical Investigation. Lexington Books.

2024 Thrasher, John. “Consensus, Contract, and Diversity.” In Michael Moehler and John Thrasher (eds.) New Directions in Social Contract Theory: Liberty, Equality, Diversity, and the Open Society. Oxford University Press.

2023 Thrasher, John. “Experimental Political Philosophy: A Manifesto.” In Matt Lindauer (ed.) Advances in Experimental Political Philosophy. Bloomsbury.

2023 Nichols, Shaun and John Thrasher. “What Does Labor Mixing Get You?.” In Matt Lindauer (ed.) Advances in Experimental Political Philosophy. Bloomsbury.

2023 Thrasher, John. “Permission, Prohibition, and Dynamism.” In Jonathan Adler (ed.) Climate Liberalism. Palgrave.

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

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

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

2018 Thrasher, John. “When Equality Matters.” In David Boonin (ed.) The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy. Palgrave. 182–199.

2017 Thrasher, John and Gerald Gaus. “On The Calculus of Consent.” In Jacob Levy (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Classics in Contemporary Political Theory. Oxford University Press.

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

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

2015 Schmidtz, David and John Thrasher. “Bankers, Vampires, and Organ Sellers: Who Can You Trust?.” In Garnett, Robert, Paul Lewis, and Lenore Ealy (eds.) Commerce and Community: Ecologies of Social Cooperation. Routledge.

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

Reference Works

Forthcoming Gerald Gaus and John Thrasher. “Social Evolution.” In Fred D’Agostino and Ryan Muldoon (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy 2nd Edition. Routledge.

2021 D’ Agostino, Fred, Gerald Gaus, and John Thrasher. “Contemporary Approaches to the Social Contract.” 2021. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

2020 Halliday, Dan and John Thrasher. “Taxation.” The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Hugh LaFollette (ed.).

Book Reviews

2021 Review of “James Lindley Wilson, Democratic Equality.” Review of Politics 83(4).

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

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

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

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

Invited Seminars and Conference Presentations

2024 University of Texas, University at Buffalo, American Philosophical Association (Central), International Adam Smith Society Meeting (Tokyo, Japan)

2023 Adam Smith @ 300 (Edinburgh, UK)

2022 University of California, Irvine (Logic and Philosophy of Science), University at Buffalo, PPE Society Meeting

2021 Virginia Tech

2020 University at Buffalo, International Adam Smith Society Meeting (Tokyo, Japan), PPE Society Meeting [All canceled due to Covid-19]

2019 Harvard Business School, Waseda University (Tokyo, Japan), 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 University of Arizona, Seoul National University, Southern Economics Association, Social Philosophy & Policy, Australasian Association of Philosophy, American Philosophical Association (Pacific),

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

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)

Research Supervision


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


Monash University

  • 2017 Jade Popper     Monash University
  • 2016 Andrew Belyea-TateMonash University
  • 2015 Lucy Mayne    Monash University


Chapman University

  • Toleration and its Discontents (w/Michael Moses) 2023
  • Philosophy in Literature 2019, 2022
  • Moral Theory 2021
  • Utopia and Dystopia in Fiction & Film (w/Michael Moses) 2023,2020,2021,201)
  • David Hume (Junior/Senior Seminar) 2020
  • Cause, Effect, and Freedom (w/Erik Kimbrough) 2019
  • Games and Decisions 2019
  • Global Justice 2018
  • The Tragedy in Morality (w/Brennan McDavid) 2018
  • Presidential Seminar (w/ Jan Osborn) 2018

Monash University

Honors Seminars

  • Hobbes and Spinoza 2017
  • Conventions and Norms 2015, 2016
  • Moral Psychology 2015
  • Rationality and Morality 2014

Undergraduate Classes

  • Human Rights Theory 1 2015-2017
  • Democratic Theory 2015-2017
  • Political Philosophy 2014-2017

University of Arizona

  • The Social Contract 2013
  • The Ethics & Economics of Wealth Creation 2009


  • 2023-25 Wang-Fradkin Professorship

  • 2022-25 Co-PI, Templeton Project “Markets in the Social and Moral Context,” $2,289,126

  • 2017-22 Co-PI, Australian Research Concil, Discovery Project DP170102834, “Informal Sanctions and Bad Social Norms,” $231,500,

  • 2020 Discourse Initiative Grant, $15,000

  • 2020 Grant for Experimental Pilot, $4,000

  • 2015-18 Dean’s Commendation for Early Career Researcher, Monash University

  • 2016 Monash Focus Program Grant, $50,000

  • 2014-15 SoPHIS Research Grants, Monash University

  • 2015 New Appointee Research Grant, Monash University, $5,000

  • 2013 Fink Prize for the Most Outstanding Graduate Student, Philosophy, 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, Chapman University

  • 2022– Senator for Schmid College, Faculty Senate, Chapman University

  • 2021– Chair, Philosophy Faculty Review Committee, Chapman University

  • 2021– Gaus Memorial Prize Committee Member, PPE Society

  • 2021– Founder & Organizer, PPE Summer Graduate Workshop, Chapman University

  • 2019–2020 Search Committee, Research Associate, Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy

  • 2015–2018 SoPHIS Honors Coordinator, Monash University

  • 2014–2018 Philosophy Honors Coordinator, Monash University

  • 2017 Project Editor, Social Philosophy and Policy

  • 2015 Organizing Committee, Australasian Association of Philosophy Conference

  • 2014 Project Editor, Social Philosophy and Policy

  • 2012-2014 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, Collective Intelligence, Crime and Delinquency, Economics & Philosophy, Episteme, Erasmus Journal for Philosophy & Economics, Erkenntnis, Ergo, Ethical Theory & Moral Practice, Ethical Perspectives, Hobbes Studies, Human Nature, 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, Mind and Machines, 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


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


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

Professional Affiliations

International Adam Smith Society, David Hume Society, PPE Society