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Professor David-Hillel Ruben

Emeritus Professor
Honorary Research Fellow

Email: d.ruben@bbk.ac.uk

David-Hillel Ruben has a BA from Dartmouth College (USA) and a PhD from Harvard University. He began his career at the University of Edinburgh as tutor and subsequently has held lectureships at Glasgow, Essex, and City Universities. He was made a professor at the LSE in 1994 and has been at Birkbeck on a part-time basis since 2004.

His research interests are in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences and the Philosophy of Action. He has published books on Marxism, Social Holism, Explanation, and Action. He is currently writing on the Idea of Traditions.

Academic Positions

  • 1969:  Tutor in Moral Philosophy, Edinburgh University.
  • 1970-5: Lecturer in Social and Political Philosophy & subsequently Lecturer in Logic, Glasgow University.
  • 1975-79:  Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Essex.
  • 1979-84:  Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, The City University.
  • 1984-2000: Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader and Professor of Philosophy, The London School of Economics, University of London.
  • 1999-2011: Professor of Philosophy, NYU in London.
  • 2000-2004:  Professor of Philosophy (part time), School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
  • 2004-2011: Professor of Philosophy (part time), Birkbeck, University of London.
  • 2011-2013: Honorary Research Fellow, Birkbeck, University of London; Visiting Professor, Kings College London.
  • 2013-2014: Professor of Philosophy, Oxford Brookes University.
  • Summer and other short term teaching appointments: University of Connecticut at Storrs (USA), Tufts University (USA), University of Iceland, Haifa University.

Education

  • 1. BA magna cum laude in Philosophy and Religion, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., U.S.A., (1961-5). Elected to Phi Beta Kappa, 1964.
  • 2. Independent study, Edinburgh University, under supervision of Mr. Errol Bedford (1964-5). Dissertation Topic: 'Mind-Brain Identity Theories'.
  • 3. PhD in Philosophy, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. U.S.A. (1966-70). Degree awarded, 1971. Thesis Topic: 'Relativism, Rules, and Contemporary Moral Philosophy'. Thesis advisers: Professors Robert Nozick and Roderick Firth. Revised versions of two chapters published as items 1 and 2 in articles, below.

Books

  • (1) Marxism and Materialism, Harvester and Humanities, 1977, 2nd edition, 1979. Turkish translation: 1989.
  • (2) The Metaphysics of the Social World, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1985.
  • (3) Explaining Explanation, Routledge, 1990. Second edition, Paradigm Publishers, 2012.
  • (4) Editor, Explanation, Readings in Philosophy Series, Oxford University Press, 1993.
  • (5) Action and Its Explanations, Oxford University Press, 2003.

Articles

  • 1. 'Positive and Natural Law Revisited', The Modern Schoolman, May 1972, Vol. 49, pp. 295-317.
  • 2. 'Searle on Institutional Obligation', The Monist, October, 1972, Vol. 56, pp. 600- 611.
  • 3. 'Warnock on Rules', The Philosophical Quarterly, October, 1972, Vol. 22, No.89, pp. 349-354.
  • 4. 'Tacit Promising', Ethics, October, 1972, Vol. 83, No.1, pp. 71-79.
  • 5. 'Relativism and the Theory of Right', Analysis, April, 1974, No. 34, pp. 167-173.
  • 6. 'Epistemological Empiricism', The Monist, July, 1976, Vol. 59, No.3, pp. 392-403.
  • 7. 'Knowledge: Its Definition and its Criteria', Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, June, 1977, Vol. XXXVII, No.4, pp.552-555.
  • 8. 'Marxism and Dialectics', in Issues in Marxist Philosophy, Vol. I, eds., Mepham and Ruben, pp. 37-81.
  • 9. 'Laws and Necessity in Marx', Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures, 1979-80.
  • 10. 'Cohen, Marx, and the Primacy Thesis', British Journal of Political Science, II, 1980, pp. 227-234.
  • 11. 'Lewis and the Problem of Causal Sufficiency', Analysis, January, 1981, Vol. 41, No.1, pp. 38-41.
  • 12. 'Causal Scepticism', Ratio, December, 1982, Vol. XXIV, no.2, pp.161-172.
  • 13. 'The Existence of Social Entities', The Philosophical Quarterly, October, 1982, Vol. 32, No.129, pp. 295-310.
  • 14. 'Social Wholes and Parts', Mind, April, 1983, Vol. XCII, pp.219-238.
  • 15. 'Marxism and the Jewish Question', in The Socialist Register 1982, eds., Martin Eve and David Musson, Merlin Press, 1982, pp. 205-237.
  • 16. 'Social Properties and Their Basis', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Vol. 85, 1984-85, pp. 23-45.
  • 17. 'Explaining Contrastive Facts', Analysis, January 1987, Vol. 47, No.1, pp. 35-37.
  • 18. 'A Puzzle About Posthumous Predication', The Philosophical Review, April, 1988, Vol. XCVII, No.2, pp. 211-236.
  • 'A Reply to Professor Haji on Posthumous Predication', Grazer Philosophische Studien, Vol 38, 1990, pp. 195-99.
  • 19. Articles on realism and relativism in The Concise Encyclopedia of Western Philosophy, edited by J. Urmson and J. Rée, 1989.
  • 20. 'The Ontology of Explanation', in Freedom and Rationality, eds., Fred D'Agostino and I.C. Jarvie, Reidel, 1989, pp. 67-85.
  • 21. 'Realism in the Social Sciences', in Dismantling Truth, eds., Hilary Lawson and Lisa Appignanesi, Weidenfeld, 1989, pp. 58-75.
  • 22. 'Singular Explanation & The Social Sciences', Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Vol. XV, 1990.
  • 23. 'Simple Attentive Miscalculation', Analysis 52, No. 3, July, 1992, pp. 184-190.
  • 24. 'Introduction' to Explanation, Readings in Philosophy Series, Ed, by D.-H. Ruben, 1993, O.U.P.
  • 25. 'Response to an Essay Review of Explaining Explanation', Metascience, New Series Issue 1, 1992, pp. 25-30.
  • 26. article on Marxism in Companion to Metaphysics, ed. Ernest Sosa, Blackwell, 1994.
  • 27. 'Mental Overpopulation and the Problem of Action', in Italian in Discipline Filosofiche, 1993, no. 2, pp.273-297, and in English in Journal of Philosophical Research, Vol. XX, 1995, pp. 111-124.
  • 28. 'A Counterfactual Theory of Causal Explanation', Nous, Vol. XXVIII, 1994, pp. 465-81.
  • 29. 'Agency, Causation and Freedom', in E. Barker, ed., LSE On Freedom, pp. 16-28, LSE Books, 1995.
  • 30. 'Philosophy of the Social Sciences', in A. Grayling, ed., Philosophy: A Guide Through the Subject, OUP, Volume 2, 1998.
  • 31. article on 'Explanation in History and Social Science', in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Routledge, 1998.
  • 32. 'Three Theories of Action', in Contemporary Action Theory, eds. Hintikka and Tuomela (Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997), pp. 267-286.
  • 33. 'The Active and the Passive', Aristotelian Society, Suppl. Vol. LXXI, 1997, pp. 229-46.
  • 34. 'On Searle', in 'Symposium on Searle's The Construction of Social Reality', in Philosophy & Phenomenological Research, Vol. 57, 1997, pp.443-447.
  • 35. 'Social Properties and Structuration Theory', in Knowing the Social World, Open University Press, eds. T. May and M. Williams, 1998, pp. 50-68.
  • 36. 'Cambridge Actions', Analysis, 59.4, 1999, pp. 276-283.
  • 37. ‘Karl Marx, in German Philosophy Since Kant, ed. Anthony O’Hear, Cambridge University Press, 1999, pp. 65-79.
  • 38. 'Actions and Their Parts', Proceedings of the 20th World Congress of Philosophy, vol. 2, Boston, 1999, pp. 73-80.
  • 39. ‘Social Properties: Facts and Entities’, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, Elsevier, Oct. 2001.
  • 40. ‘Disjunctive Theories of Perception and Action’, in Disjunctivism: Perception, Action, Knowledge, OUP, eds. Adrian Haddock and Fiona Macpherson, 2008, pp. 227-43..
  • 41. ‘Philosophy of the Social Sciences: Five Questions’, in Philosophy of the Social Sciences: Five Questions, ed. by Diego Rios and Christoph Schmidt-Petri, Automatic Press, 2008.
  • 42. ‘Con-reasons as Causes’, in Constantine Sandis, ed. New Essays on the Explanation of Action, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008, pp. 62-74.
  • 43. ‘Going in Circles’, Philosophy of the Social Sciences, ed., Chryostomos Mantzavinos, Cambridge University Press, 2009, pp. 312-24.
  • 44. ‘The Causal and Deliberative Strength of Reasons for Action’, Causing Human Action: New Perspectives on the Causal Theory of Action, ed. by Jesus H. Aguilar and Andrei A. Buckareff, 2010, Bradford Books. The MIT Press.
  • 45. ‘Cambridge Actions’, The Companion to the Philosophy of Action, ed. by Tim O’Connor and Constantine Sandis, 2010, Blackwell-Wiley, 2010.
  • 46. 'W.B. Gallie and Essentially Contested Concepts', Philosophical Papers, July, 2010, Vol. 39, No.2, pp. 257-270.
  • 47. ‘Traditions and True Successors’, Social Epistemology, January 2013, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp 32-46.
  • 48. ‘Trying in Some Way’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, December 2013, Vol. 91, No. 4, pp 719-733. Published online here.
  • 49. ‘The Limits of Realism in the Philosophy of Social Science’, New Directions in the Philosophy of Science, The Philosophy of Science in a European Perspective 5, eds. Maria Galavotti, et. al., Springer, Dordrecht, 2014, pp. 313 -322.
  • 50. ‘The Physical Action Theory of Trying’, Methode, Vol. 4, No. 6, 2015. http://www.methode.unito.it/methOJS/index.php/meth/issue/view/5
  • 51. ‘Beyond Supervenience and Construction’, Journal of Social Ontology, 1(1), 2015, 121-141. http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jso.2015.1.issue-1/jso-2014-0033/jso-2014-0033.xml
  • 52. ‘A Conditional Theory of Trying’, Philosophical Studies, 173 (1), January 2016, 271-287

Directorial Positions

  • (1) 1998-2000: Director, London School of Jewish Studies, an Associate Institution of the University of London.
  • (2) 2000-2011: Director, New York University in London. The founding Director of New York University in London.
  • (3) 2012-2013: Director, Arcadia University in London.
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