Larry Wright



Professor of Graduate Division

Contact Information

HMNSS 3200


Ph.D., Indiana University, 1969

Areas of Interest

Philosophy of Science, Informal Reasoning, Wittgenstein


Professor Wright’s research interests lie mainly in Explanation, Evidence, and Argument, though these topics have lately led him into exploring the intersection of the Analytic and Continental traditions. He is the author of Teleological Explanations and three texts on analytical reading. In recent years he has written articles on argument and understanding, the deductive ideal, justification and discovery, the normativity of the notions of function and goal, and the relation between reasoning and explaining. He is currently working on a manuscript tracing the roots of the concept of a reason in agency. During this period he has taught undergraduate courses on early analytic philosophy and on reasoning and graduate seminars on explanation, Wittgenstein, Thomas Kuhn, and the concept of a reason.


       Books and Collections:

  • Critical Thinking: An Introduction to Analytical Reading and Reasoning (2nd edition), Oxford University Press, 2013. (Critical Thinking Online Tutorial)
  • Practical Reasoning, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989.
  • Better Reasoning: Techniques for Handling Argument, Evidence and Abstraction, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1982.
  • Teleological Explanation, University of California Press, 1976.

       Selected Articles:

  • “Revisiting Teleological Explanation,” in Functions: selection and mechanisms, Philippe Huneman, ed., Springer Series: Synthese Library Vol. 363  (2013): 233-243.
  • “Explanation, Contrast, and the Primacy of Practice,” European Journal of Philosophy, online  (Sept. 15, 2011): 30 MS pages.
  • “Justification, Discovery, Reason & Argument,” Argumentation, Vol. 15, 2000, 1-8.
  • “Reasons and the Deductive Ideal,” Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Vol. 23, 1999.
  • “Argument and Deliberation: a Plea for Understanding,” The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 92, No. 11, 1995, 565-85.
  • “Induction and Explanation,” Philosophical Inquiry, Vol. 4, No. 1, 1982, 1-16.
  • “Rival Explanations,” Mind, Vol. 82, N.S., No. 328, 1973, 497-515.
  • “The Astronomy of Eudoxus: Geometry or Physics?” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, Vol. 4, No. 2, 1973, 165-72.
  • “Functions,” The Philosophical Review, Vol. 82, No. 2, 1973, 139-68.
  • “Explanation and Teleology,” Philosophy of Science, Vol. 39, 1972, 204-18.
  • “The Case against Teleological Reductionism,” The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 19, 1968, 211-23.