536 South Kedzie Hall
368 Farm Ln
East Lansing, MI 48824
Early Modern Philosophy; Metaphysics; Epistemology
John Grey received his Ph.D. from Boston University. His research focuses on the history of modern philosophy, though he has also published research on contemporary metaphysics and philosophy of science. His historical work examines the systematic attempts of early modern authors to provide metaphysical foundations for psychology, ethics, and politics. He has published numerous articles and book chapters on these issues, focusing particularly on the work of Benedict Spinoza (1632-1677) and Anne Finch Conway (1631-1679). He currently teaches a variety of courses on logic, paradoxes, causation, free will, and early modern philosophy.
Awards and Honors
Sanders Prize in Early Modern Philosophy
Dr. Grey received the Sanders Prize for his article, “The Metaphysics of Natural Right in Spinoza.”
PHL 461: Metaphysics
An advanced course covering recent work on the nature of existence, the analysis of causation, and the problem of free will—including skepticism about free will.
PHL 361: Knowledge and Reality
An advanced survey of metaphysics and epistemology. The first half of the semester covers the metaphysics of classification and natural kinds, properties, parts and wholes, time, and free will. The second half of the semester turns to topics in epistemology: knowledge, justification, perception, inference, memory, and testimony.
PHL 225: Paradoxes
A survey of the great paradoxes of philosophy. The course covers paradoxes of logic, knowledge, evidence, rationality, and space and time. Students learn how to analyze a paradox into its component parts and how to construct and evaluate possible solutions to paradoxes. (This course description, however, is false.)
PHL 211: Modern Philosophy
A survey of early modern philosophy, focusing on two main philosophical problems: (1) How is the mind related to the body? (2) How is perception related to reality? The course typically covers philosophical works by René Descartes, Elisabeth of Bohemia, Anton Wilhelm Amo, Benedict Spinoza, Anne Conway, Gottfried Leibniz, John Locke, David Hume, and Mary Shepherd.
PHL 130: Logic and Reasoning
An introduction to basic techniques of formal reasoning, covering both deductive logic and inductive argumentation. Students will learn systematic approaches to thinking critically about arguments.
PHL 101: Introduction to Philosophy
An introduction to the discipline through a variety of philosophical questions. Can a machine think? Can we know what it’s like to be a bat? What does it take to be a person? Could a person survive death? Is it rational to fear death? Is it rational to desire immortality? What does it take to live a meaningful life?