Associate Professor

 Saint Louis University

 139 McGannon Hall

 e-mail: rgroff at slu dot edu

I write about causal powers and about how select topics in analytic metaphysics (esp., powers, essences, materialism & emergence) are related to: (a) the history of social & political thought; (b) critical philosophy of social science; (c) the philosophy of agency (esp. the problem of free will); (d) social ontology.

My most recent monograph is Ontology Revisited: Metaphysics in Social and Political Philosophy (2012).  In it I argue that modern and contemporary thinking about agency (broadly construed) is tacitly shaped by a set of metaphysical assumptions derived in their paradigmatic form from Hume.  In 2012 I co-edited (with John Greco) a volume entitled Powers and Capacities in Philosophy: The New Aristotelianism (2012). Articles and chapters that I've written recently have had to do with powers & trope theory; powers & the free will debate; the concept of a "causal mechanism" in the philosophy of social science; and what I've dubbed "thin Aristotelian Marxism."In 2014 I edited a reader called Subject & Object: Frankfurt School Writings on Epistemology, Ontology and Method (April 2014).  I'm working now on A Critical Introduction to Causal Powers and Dispositions (Bloomsbury; under contract), a single-authored book that will be part of a series entitled Critical Introductions to Contemporary Metaphysics.   

I am the author of Critical Realism, Post-Positivism and the Possibility of Knowledge (2004), and the editor of an anthology called Revitalizing Causality: Realism About Causality in Philosophy and Social Science (2007). I am a former editor of the Journal of Critical Realism, a former reviews editor for the journal New Political Science, a current member of Dynamis: The Finnish Network for Metaphysics and a core member of the Critical Realism Network, based at Yale University.  I am Coordinator of the Critical Social Ontology Workshop, which has a fb page.

I maintain a blog, called Powers, Capacities and Dispositions. (link)

For more information, click on "Current Activity."