Researcher

Professor James Franklin

Field of Research (FoR)

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Biography

ABOUT ME

 

Biography

My research covers the philosophy of mathematics, extreme risk theory, ethics and the history of ideas. In all cases it combines the insights of mathematics (with its proofs, certainty and objectivity) with the culture of humanistic scholarship (with its understanding of how humans approach knowledge).

Education

  • BA (Hons) in pure mathematics, Sydney University, 1974
  • MA (Hons), Sydney University, 1976
  • PhD in Mathematics,...view more

ABOUT ME

 

Biography

My research covers the philosophy of mathematics, extreme risk theory, ethics and the history of ideas. In all cases it combines the insights of mathematics (with its proofs, certainty and objectivity) with the culture of humanistic scholarship (with its understanding of how humans approach knowledge).

Education

  • BA (Hons) in pure mathematics, Sydney University, 1974
  • MA (Hons), Sydney University, 1976
  • PhD in Mathematics, Warwick University, 1982

 

RESEARCH

 

Research Goals

  • To complete a realist philosophy of mathematics, with a concentration on applied mathematics
  • To develop a philosophy of probability and statistics based on objective Bayesianism
  • To understand the foundations of ethics from the perspective of a natural and inherent “worth of persons”
  • To explain the interaction of data and expert opinion in the evaluation of extreme risks

Research in Detail

In the philosophy of mathematics, my 2014 book, An Aristotelian Realist Philosophy of Mathematics, developed a realist alternative to Platonism and nominalism, arguing that mathematics is the science of certain aspects of the real world, especially the quantitative and structural ones.

My research on extreme risks looks at the problems of combining very small amounts of data with expert opinion to reach reasonable estimates of the chance of very rare events with large negative consequences.

My work in the history of ideas includes two books, The Science of Conjecture: Evidence and Probability Before Pascal (2001) and Corrupting the Youth: A History of Philosophy in Australia.

Research Grants

  • J. Franklin and C. Legg, ARC Discovery Grant 2006 - 2008, Recovering the virtue of self-control or temperance to strengthen the Australian social fabric
  • J. Franklin and D.M. Armstrong, ARC Discovery Grant 2007 - 2009, Mathematics, the science of real structure: an Australian realist philosophy of mathematics

Current Student Projects (PhD and Honours)

The Basel II bank risk regime as a model for extreme risk analysis

The role of logic in an Aristotelian realist philosophy of mathematics

Objective Bayesianism as a foundation of the theory of probability and evidence

Advice for prospective students

Young would-be researchers should aim at technical perfection in some subfield as a springboard for wide-ranging inquiry into the important questions.

 

TEACHING & OUTREACH

 

Courses I teach

MATH3531 Topology and Differential Geometry

SCIF1121 Advanced Science: Professional Perspective and Practice

Professional affiliations and service positions

I am the founder of the Sydney School in the Philosophy of Mathematics

I am the editor of the Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society

Since 2012 I have been a member of the Council of St John’s College, Sydney University

I set up the Australian Database of Indigenous Violence

 

AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS

 

Eureka Prize for Research in Ethics, 2005


My Expertise

Australian philosophy; ethics; philosophy of mathematics; data mining; operational risk; Catholic history & philosophy; careers in mathematics.

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Location

School of Mathematics and Statistics
University of New South Wales
Kensington NSW 2052
The Red Centre
Room 6109

Contact

9385 7093
9385 7123

Videos

An overview of my book What Science Knows: And How It Knows It