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Department of

History and Philosophy of Science   

Primary and Visiting Faculty

John Earman

Philosophy of Physics


University Professor (Adj. Philosophy). Before coming to Pittsburgh, he taught at UCLA, The Rockefeller University, and the University of Minnesota. He is the author of A Primer on Determinism; World Enough and Spacetime: Absolute vs. Relational Theories of Space and Time; Bayes or Bust: A Critical Examination of Bayesian Confirmation Theory; and Bangs, Crunches, Hume's Abject Failure: The Argument Against Miracles , Whimpers and Shrieks: Singularities and Acausalities in Relativistic Spacetimes. His research centers on the history, methodology, and foundations of modern physics.



Allan Gotthelf

Aristotle, Ayn Rand,
Philosophy of Biology, Objectivism


Visiting Professor, under the university's Fellowship for the Study of Objectivism (Member: Classics, Philosophy and Ancient Science Program).  A specialist on Aristotle's biology and philosophy, and on the philosophy of Ayn Rand, Gotthelf is emeritus professor of philosophy at The College of New Jersey, and has taught on a visiting basis at Swarthmore, Oxford, Georgetown, Tokyo Metropolitan, and the University of Texas at Austin.  He is a life member of Clare Hall Cambridge, and was a visiting member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Gotthelf is author of On Ayn Rand (Wadsworth Philosophers Series, 2000); co-editor of Philosophical Issues in Aristotle's Biology (Cambridge 1987); editor of Aristotle on Nature and Living Things (Pittsburgh 1985); and has prepared for publication D.M. Balme's posthumous editions of Aristotle's Historia Animalium (Cambridge 2002, Cambridge MA 1991).  His collected Aristotle papers will by published next year by Oxford University Press, under the title: Teleology, Scientific Method, and Substance: Essays on Aristotle's Biological Enterprise. He is currently working on several Aristotle projects and an extended study of Rand's theory of concepts, essences, and objectivity.



Adolf Grünbaum

Philosophy of physics, theory of scientific rationality,
philosophy of psychiatry, critique of theism


Andrew Mellon Professor of Philosophy of Science, Primary Research Professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Research Professor of Psychiatry, and Chairman of the Center for Philosophy of Science, all at the University of Pittsburgh.

His 12 books include Philosophical Problems of Space and Time, Modern Science and Zeno's Paradoxes and The Foundations of Psychoanalysis: A Philosophical Critique. He has contributed over 370 articles to anthologies and to philosophical and scientific periodicals.

A former president of the American Philosophical Association (Eastern Division), he is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He served two terms as president of the Philosophy of Science Association (1965-70). In 2004-2005, he was the President of the Division of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science. Upon completing this Division presidency, he automatically became the President for 2006-2007 of the International Union for the History and Philosophy of Science.

In 1985, he gave the ten Gifford Lectures in Scotland and the Werner Heisenberg Lecture in Munich, Germany. In 2003, he delivered the three Leibniz Lectures at the University of Hannover, Germany.

Also in 1985, he received the "Senior U.S. Scientist Award" from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Bonn, West Germany, and became a Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism. In 1989, he was awarded the Fregene Prize for Philosophy of Science by the Italian Parliament in Rome, and he also received a "Master Scholar and Professor Award" from the University of Pittsburgh. In May 1990, Yale University awarded him the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal for outstanding achievement.



James G. Lennox

Philosophy of Biology
Ancient Philosophy; Aristotle


Professor (Adj. Philosophy, Classics; Member: Classics, Philosophy, and Ancient Science Program; Member: Rhetoric of Science Program). Research specialties include Ancient Greek philosophy, science and medicine and Charles Darwin and Darwinism. Lennox has published essays on the philosophical and scientific thought of Plato, Aristotle, Theophrastus, Boyle, Spinoza, and Darwin, especially focused on scientific explanation, and particularly teleological explanation, in the biological sciences. He is author of Aristotle's Philosophy of Biology (Cambridge 2000) and Aristotle on the Parts of Animals I-IV (Oxford, 2001), the first English translation of this work since 1937. He is co-editor of Philosophical Issues in Aristotle's Biology (Cambridge 1987); Self-Motion from Aristotle to Newton (Princeton 1995); and Concepts, Theories, and Rationality in the Biological Sciences (Pittsburgh and Konstanz 1995).



Peter K. Machamer

Early Modern Philosophy; Galileo
Cognitive Science


Professor (Adj. Philosophy, Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, The Cognitive Program in Psychology, Rhetoric of Science Program). Research Associate (Learning Research and Development Center). He has edited a number of books, including Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Science (with Michael Silberstein), Motion and Time, Space and Matter, the Cambridge Companion to Galileo, and Studies in Perception. He has written many articles on topics in the history and philosophy of science. He works primarily on 16th- and 17th-century topics, especially Galileo, Descartes and Hobbes, and in the philosophy of psychology and neuroscience, and social science, and on values and science. He also does empirical work in cognitive psychology.



Edouard Machery

Concepts, Simple Heuristics, Moral Psychology
Evolution and Cognition, Race


Associate professor. His research focuses on the philosophical issues raised by cognitive science. He has finished a book on concepts, arguing that the notion is ill-suited for a scientific psychology. Recent research projects and publications include the nature and origin of racial categorization, the application of evolutionary theories to human cognition, the nature of culture, the structure of moral concepts, and the place of simple heuristics in human cognition. Finally, he is involved in the development of experimental philosophy and has used experimental methods to study intuitions about reference, folk judgments about intentional action, causation, the folk concept of race, and the folk concept of phenomenal consciousness.



James E. McGuire

Early Modern Philosophy; Newton
Continental Philosophy

Professor (Adj. Philosophy, History, Communication). He is consulting editor of Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. He is co-author of Hermeticism and the Scientific Revolution, Certain Philosophical Questions: Newton's Trinity Notebook, and most recently, with Barbara Tuchanska, of Science Unfettered : A Philosophical Study in Sociohistorical Ontology. He has published extensively on science and philosophy since the Renaissance, on the historiography of ideas, Newton, 17th- and 18th-century natural philosophy, and on the history of 17th-century philosophy. More recent research concentrates on Greek science and cosmology, especially Philoponus and Aristotle, and on the rhetoric of science.



Sandra Mitchell

Philosophy of Biology, Explanation, Laws, Complexity


Chair and Professor (Adj. Philosophy). Her research is in general philosophy of science, with particular attention to biology and the social sciences. Her current research concerns changes in concepts, methods and policy protocols deriving from an understanding of complexity, in particular issues concerning emergence, uncertainty and robustness. She has published articles on functional explanation, units of selection, sociobiology, biological complexity, self-organization, and scientific laws. She is co-editor of Human by Nature: Between Biology and the Social Sciences 1997 and Ceteris Paribus Laws 2003, author of Biological Complexity and Integrative Pluralism 2003, and of Komplexitäten: Warum wir erst anfangen die Welt zu verstehen 2008, an expanded English version Unsimple Truths: Complexity, Science and Policy in fall 2009, as well as of numerous articles, listed on her homepage.



John D. Norton

History and Philosophy of Physics; Einstein
Confirmation and Induction
General Philosophy of Science


Professor (Adj. Philosophy). Director, Center for Philosophy of Science. He studies the history and philosophy of physics (relativity, quantum theory and statistical physics), with a special interest in general relativity, and has published extensively on the detailed steps of Einstein's discovery of general relativity and also on many aspects of the theory's philosophical foundations. He was a contributing editor to the Collected Papers of Albert Einstein , Volumes 3 and 4, and was recently associate editor and co-editor of Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics . He also works in general philosophy of science, with emphasis on different approaches to confirmation theory, inconsistency in theories and thought experiments. He is editor for philosophy of physics (space and time, general physics) for the Stanford On-line Encyclopedia of Philosophy , for which he wrote the article on The Hole Argument . n 2001, he was one of the founders of . He has written recently on the "material theory of induction" and defended the power of induction from the underdetermination thesis and grue. He has also mounted a non-Humean critique of causation.



Robert Olby

History of Genetics;
s Darwin; Francis Crick


Research Professor. Formerly at the University of Leeds, UK, Robert Olby is known as a historian of nineteenth and twentieth century biology, his special fields being genetics and molecular biology. His best known works are The Origins of Mendelism (1966, 1985) and The Path to the Double Helix (1974, 1994), but he has published widely in historical journals, and more recently in Nature, Nature Reviews Genetics, and Endeavour. He has prepared a history of biology for the general reader, and is currently completing the official biography of the late Dr. Francis Crick with support from the National Science Foundation and the award of an Archives Fellowship at Churchill College, Cambridge. With his colleagues in Leeds he edited The Companion to the History of Modern Science (1990).



Paolo Palmieri

History of Early Modern Science


Assistant Professor. Paolo has an eclectic background. For some time he worked as an engineer trying to make Ferrari Formula One cars run faster. Since he was not terribly successful he thought that the history and philosophy of science would be the next logical step in his career. Engineers have recourse to funny logics sometimes. Thus he explored the possibility of explaining Galileo's theory of tides according to a model he had developed to investigate the dynamics of fuel sloshing within Formula One tanks. This time he was terribly successful. Finally, he managed to earn a PhD and convince the Pitt folks to hire him.



Merrilee H. Salmon

Philosophy of Anthropology

Professor Emerita (Adj. Philosophy, Anthropology). Research Associate (Learning Research and Development Center). Her current research deals with philosophy of anthropology. She is author of Philosophy and Archaeology and Introduction to Logic and Critical Thinking, as well as co-editor of Logical Empiricism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives . She is a former editor-in-chief of Philosophy of Science. Her interests include the philosophy of social science and reasoning in conversation.




Kenneth F. Schaffner

Philosophy and history of biology and medicine
Philosophy of behavioral genetics and psychiatry


University Professor. Before returning to Pittsburgh, he was University Professor of Medical Humanities and Professor of Philosophy at the George Washington University. His most recent book is Discovery and Explanation in Biology and Medicine, published in 1993 by the University of Chicago Press. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and has published extensively in philosophical and medical journals on ethical and conceptual issues in science and medicine. He is a current member of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) -World Health Organization (WHO) Workgroup on Classification and on International Diagnostic Systems, where the task is to advise on the approach and content of the Mental Health Section of the eleventh version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), due out in 2011. His recent work has been on ethical and philosophical issues in human behavioral and psychiatric genetics, and he is in the final editing stages of a book on Behaving: What’s Genetic and What’s Not, and Why Should We Care? for Oxford University Press. Dr. Schaffner, who was trained both in philosophy (Ph.D.) and in medicine (M.D.), is a Fellow of both the Hastings Center and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is a former Editor-in-Chief of Philosophy of Science (1975-80).