Dr Sam Butchart

Sam Butchart CV
Ph.D., Monash University, 2001
M. Phil, Cambridge University UK, 1994
B.A. (Hons), University College London, UK, 1993.

Research Interests

  • Philosophy of Mathematics
  • Philosophical Logic
  • Epistemology
  • Informal Logic and Critical Thinking

Research Projects

Effective Pedagogy for Improving Critical Thinking

I worked with Professor Ian Gold and others on a three year ARC  linkage project, to evaluate a variety of teaching methods for improving students’ critical thinking skills.

Ph.D. Thesis
My PhD thesis, Evidence and Explanation in Mathematics, addresses some problems in the epistemology of mathematics. In the first part, I argue that the proper approach to the subject is descriptive rather than normative. The aim of the epistemology of mathematics should be to present an account of the ways in which mathematical beliefs are justified which illuminates the practice, history and methodology of mathematics. In the second part, I attempt to develop an account of mathematical evidence based on the concept of explanatory unification. I argue that the account of mathematical evidence developed reveals that despite appearances to the contrary, mathematics is a science like any other.

Simpson’s Paradox
While studying for my PhD at Monash, I collaborated with Professor John Bigelow in his work on Simpson’s Paradox and the evolution of altruistic behaviour. We created two computer games designed to illustrate the effect of Simpson’s Paradox. For more information see theStanford Encyclopedia entry on Simpson’s Paradox. The computer games, which are available to play online, are ‘Sharks and Suckers’ and ‘Rats and Lemmings’.


Review of Graham Priest, An Introduction to Non-Classical Logic, 2nd edition. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, forthcoming.

“Critical Thinking”. In A Companion to Philosophy in Australasia, Monash ePress, forthcoming.

“Improving critical thinking using web based argument mapping exercises with automated feedback” (with Daniella Forster, Ian Gold et al.) The Australasian Journal for Educational Technology, 25 (2), 2009.

“Teaching Philosophy, Logic and Critical Thinking using Peer Instruction” (with Toby Handfield and Greg Restall). Teaching Philosophy, 32 (1), 2009.

“A Note on Monothetic BCI” (with Tomasz Kowalski). Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 47no. 4 (2006), 541-544.

“Number” (with John Bigelow) in the Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2nd edition), edited by Donald Borchert. MacMillan: Farmington Hills, MI, 2005.

“Naïve Comprehension and Contracting Implications” (with Susan Rogerson).Studia Logica 71(2002), 119-132.

Work in Progress

Algebraizing A-> (pdf) (with Su Rogerson). Paper on Abelian Logic, presenteed at UNILOG conference, Lisbon 2010.