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John Norton

University of Pittsburgh
Ph.D., History and Philosophy of Science, University of New South Wales, 1982

John Norton received his B.E. in Chemical Engineering from the New South Wales (N.S.W.) in Sydney, Australia. After working for two years as a technologist at the Shell Oil Refinery, he switched fields and pursued and obtained his Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science also at the University of N.S.W. After a brief  postdoc at the the Einstein Papers Project in Princeton, he joined the University of Pittsburgh as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science in 1984 and stayed in the Center for Philosophy of Science ever since.


Professor Norton studies the history and philosophy of physics (relativity, quantum theory, and statistical physics), with a special interest in general relativity, and has published extensively on the detailed steps of Einstein's discovery of general and special relativity and also on many aspects of the theory's philosophical foundations. He was a contributing editor to the Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, volumes 3 and 4, and was recently associate editor and coeditor of Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics. He also works in general philosophy of science, with emphasis on different approaches to confirmation theory, inconsistency in theories, and thought experiments. He is editor for philosophy of physics (space and time, general physics) for the Stanford On-line Encyclopedia of Philosophy, for which he wrote the article on The Hole Argument. In 2001, Norton was one of the founders of He has written recently on the "material theory of induction" and defended the power of induction from the underdetermination thesis and grue. He has also mounted a non-Humean critique of causation. 

Recent Publications

"Weeding Landauer's Garden,"  JD Norton. (2019)
"Einstein's Conflicting Heuristics: The Discovery of General Relativity,"  JD Norton.  (2018)
"Eternal Inflation: When Probabilities Fail,"  JD Norton.  Synthese (2018)
"Erratum to: How to build an infinite lottery machine." Norton, J.D. European Journal for Philosophy of Sciences 8(1) pp/ 97(2018).
"Maxwell's Demon Does Not Compute,"  JD Norton.  (2017)