Why Scanlon Left Logic for Political Philosophy

T. M. Scanlon is one of the foremost moral and political philosophers alive. But he started as a logician, working with Benacerraf as an undergraduate at Princeton, Dummett during a Fulbright at Oxford, and Dreben for his Ph.D. at Harvard. His first two papers were:

Here’s why he didn’t stay a logician:

So I came [to Harvard], and I was still interested in logic, so I wrote a thesis in logic with Burt Dreben. […] And then I left after three years and started teaching in Princeton. Then, gradually, I kind of shifted over into moral and political philosophy, although I published a few things in logic. Because I enjoyed the techniques, I was good enough to learn them pretty quickly, but I didn’t have any originality. I didn’t have much instinct about what was the next thing to try to prove.

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