Peter Suber

My home page at the Berkman Center is more current than this one. —Peter.

I work for the free circulation of science and scholarship in every field and language. In practice that means research, writing, organizing, and pro bono consulting for open access to research. I wear several hats: Director of the Harvard Open Access Project, Faculty Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Senior Researcher at SPARC, Open Access Project Director at Public Knowledge, and Research Professor of Philosophy at Earlham College.

I write the SPARC Open Access Newsletter and formerly wrote the Open Access News blog (May 2002 - April 2010). I now blog at Google+.

Until May 2003 I was a professor of philosophy at Earlham College, where I had taught since 1982. I also taught computer science and law. Although I have left full-time teaching, I am still a research professor at Earlham and still work full-time in the academic universe. My philosophical interests (formerly, my teaching interests) lie chiefly in the history of modern European philosophy, roughly from Montaigne to Nietzsche; Kant and Hegel; the history of western skepticism from Sextus Empiricus to the 20th century; epistemological and ethical issues related to skepticism, such as fictionalism, ideology, self-deception, and the ethics of belief; the logical, epistemological, ethical, and legal problems of self-reference; the metatheory of first-order logic; the ethics of liberty, paternalism, consent, and coercion; criminal law and tort law; and the philosophy of law. For more information, see my vita and publications.

My current interests center around policies and technologies that foster research. Apart from the active promotion these policies and technologies, I'm interested in understanding how the internet has changed research and scholarly communication, how it ought to change them, and what it would mean to take full advantage of the internet for the creation and sharing of knowledge.

My last book was Open Access (MIT Press, June 2012). The book will become open access one year after publication.

The internet lets us share perfect copies of our work with a worldwide audience at virtually no cost. We take advantage of this revolutionary opportunity when we make our work open access: digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. Open access is made possible by the internet and copyright-holder consent, and many authors, musicians, filmmakers, and other creators who depend on royalties are understandably unwilling to give their consent. But for 350 years, scholars have written peer-reviewed journal articles for impact, not for money, and are free to consent to open access without losing revenue.

This concise introduction explains what open access is and isn't, how it benefits authors and readers of research, how we pay for it, how it avoids copyright problems, how it has moved from the periphery to the mainstream, and what its future may hold.

My last book before that was The Case of the Speluncean Explorers:  Nine New Opinions (Routledge, 1998, reprinted with corrections 2002). See the Preface and Introduction, my page of information, or the Amazon pages on it (paperback or hardback).

Some of the looting in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina was done by starving people to obtain food. (Some wasn't, but here let's focus on the first kind.) Was that looting justified by necessity? If the looters are prosecuted and plead necessity, should they be acquitted? Are you looking for a book that explores the basis and boundaries of the necessity defense?

What is judicial activism? How do judges with different moral and political beliefs interpret written law, how do they use precedents, how do they conceive the proper role of judges, how do they conceive the relationship between law and morality, and how do they defend their judicial practices against criticism? Are you looking for an even-handed book that illustrates the contending positions and lets you decide for yourself?

To have no time for philosophy is to be a true philosopher.
Pascal, Pensées.
Trans. A.J. Krailsheimer, Penguin, 1966, §513

Email ( peter [dot] suber [at] ) is the best way to reach me. If you want to contact me by phone, fax, snail mail, or some other way, send me an email and I'll send you the number or address.

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Unless noted otherwise, all my pages are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.