
Carnegie 301B
 fergut5@rpi.edu

15182763315
 0000000264941833
About
After receiving a PhD in philosophy from the City University of New York, I spent several years in industry working on the Cyc artificial intelligence project before moving to the data firm Dun & Bradstreet as their principal ontologist. After postdoctoral positions at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation at the University of Amsterdam, the University of St. Andrews, and the Institutes of Philosophy and Computer Science at the Czech Academy of Science, I arrived at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as associate professor of cognitive science.
My primary research interests focus on mathematical, philosophical, computational, and practical aspects of reasoning and language, generating research that has appeared in journals including Philosophical Studies, the Journal of Philosophical Logic, the Review of Symbolic Logic, Studia Logica, the Journal of Logic and Computation, among others.
 PhD, Philosophy, City University of New York Graduate Center
Research
Teaching
PHIL 4960 Philosophy of Mathematics (Spring 2024)
Description: This course will review fundamental epistemological, metaphysical, and logical challenges in the foundations of mathematics. Historical discussions of the paradoxes arising during the foundational crisis in mathematics (the Grundlagenkrise), e.g., the inconsistency of class theory, the discovery of Godel's incompleteness theorems, and the collapse of the Hilbert program will set the stage for investigation into what mathematical entities are, how we can come to have reliable knowledge of them, and what choices we ought to make in the face of paradoxes or contradictions in our representations of mathematical truth.
INQR 1961 Feminist Critiques of Reason (Spring 2024)
Description: Feminist critiques of many disciplines have led to deep and radical revisions to their foundational assumptions. In the case of the a priori disciplinesmathematics, computation, engineeringcritiques tend to be less foundational. There exist, however, threads of literature debating the role that feminist theory plays in determining the bounds of reason itself and, consequently, the contours of disciplines like mathematics. The thesis that oppressive themes are baked into the foundations of reason leads to important questions... In this course, we will review recent literature investigating the degree to which the development of logic is harmonious with or antagonistic to feminist (and other liberationist) aims. We will emphasize several styles of critique, ranging from historical to more recent work concerning the consequences for mathematics and computation in the wake of such critiques.
PHIL 4960 NonClassical Logic (Fall 2023)
Description: This course provides an introduction to the philosophical and formal aspects of several families of nonclassical logics that provide alternatives to classical (RussellFrege) logic. Emphases will include philosophical objections to particular components of classical logic and how alternative formalizations of reasoning have emerged in order to accommodate these objections. In particular, topics to be covered will include logics of strict implication, intuitionistic logic, relevant logic, and fuzzy logic.
Publications
The following is a selection of recent publications in Scopus. Thomas Ferguson has 44 indexed publications in the subjects of Mathematics, Arts and Humanities, Computer Science.