Alan Musgrave

  Philosophy, University of Otago  

Alan Musgrave

BA(Hons)(1961) PhD (1969)(London)


Alan was educated at the London School of Economics, where with Imre Lakatos he edited Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, one of the most influential collections of essays in recent philosophy of science. He came to Otago as Head of Department in 1970, retiring from this post in 2005. His chief interests are the theory of knowledge and the history and philosophy of science. His book Common Sense, Science, and Scepticism forms the basis of the introductory course in epistemology. Essays on Realism and Rationalism (1999) and Secular Sermons (2009) are collections of his articles.


PHIL 102 Knowledge and Truth
PHIL 226 History of Science

PHIL 411 Realisms and Antirealisms


Supervision Interests

  • Epistemology
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Philosophy of Mathematics
  • Theories of Truth

Recent publications include

Musgrave, A.E. (2010) 'Darwin's Life and Method'. In Aspects of Darwin: A New Zealand Celebration. D.Galloway and J. Timmins (eds), Hewitson Library Occasional Monograph no.1, Friends of the Knox College Library, Dunedin, New Zealand, 20-35.

Musgrave, A.E. (2010) 'Critical Rationalism, Explanation and Severe Tests'. In Error and Inference: Recent Exchanges on Experimental Reasoning, Reliability, and the Objectivity and Rationality of Science. D.G. Mayo and A. Spanos (eds). Cambridge and London: Cambridge University Press, 88-112.

Musgrave, A.E. (2009) 'Experience and Perceptual Belief'. In Rethinking Popper (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science Volume 272). S. Parusnikova and R.S. Cohen (eds). Dordrecht: Springer Science and Business Media, 5-19.

Musgrave, A.E. (2008) 'Pleonastic Patonism'. In From Truth to Reality: New Essays in Logic and Metaphysics. H. Dyke (ed). New York and London: Routledge, 66-84.

Musgrave, A.E. (2007) 'Realism and Surrealism about Science'. In Creativity, Enterprise, Policy - New Directions in Education (Proceedings of the 2007 Conference of the Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia, Wellington, New Zealand), Vol.1, 1-7.

Musgrave, A.E. (2007) 'The Miracle Argument for Scientific Realism', The Rutherford Journal: The New Zealand Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, February 2007.

Musgrave, A.E. (2006) 'Responses', In Rationality and Reality: Conversations with Alan Musgrave, C. Cheyne and J. Worrall (eds). Dordrecht: Springer, 293-333

Musgrave. A.E. (2006) 'Critical Rationalism', In The Power of Argumentation (Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and Humanities , vol. 91). E. Suarez-Iniguez (ed). Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi, 185-224