::: about
::: news
::: links
::: giving
::: contact

::: calendar
::: lunchtime
::: annual lecture series
::: conferences

::: visiting fellows
::: postdoc fellows
::: senior fellows
::: resident fellows
::: associates

::: visiting fellowships
::: postdoc fellowships
::: senior fellowships
::: resident fellowships
::: associateships

being here
::: visiting
::: the last donut
::: photo album


::: center home >> people >> visiting fellows, nicholas maxwell

Nicholas Maxwell
Visiting Fellow
University College of London

2017 Update

I continue to argue that we need to bring about a revolution in the aims and methods of science, and of academic inquiry more generally, so that the basic intellectual aim of academia becomes to seek and promote social wisdom, and is not just to acquire specialized knowledge. My publications during 2016 include two chapters of two books, and an ebook, all freely available online:-

2016 "Can Scientific Method Help Us Create a Wiser World?", in N. Dalal, A. Intezari and
M. Heitz, ed., Practical Wisdom in the Age of Technology: Insights, Issues and
Questions for a New Millennium
, Routledge, London, ch. 11, pp. 147-161.

2016 " Popper’s Paradoxical Pursuit of Natural Philosophy", in Cambridge Companion to
, edited by Jeremy Shearmur and Geoffrey Stokes, Cambridge University
Press, Cambridge, ch. 7, pp. 170-207.

2016 "Two Great Problems of Learning: Science and Civilization", Rounded Globe,
15 September 2016. Ebook available free at https://roundedglobe.com/ .


2014 Update

Two especially significant papers in the same issue of Philosophia, one my intellectual autobiography:-

1. ‘Arguing for Wisdom in the University: An Intellectual Autobiography’, Philosophia, vol. 40, no. 4, 2012, pp. 663-704.
2. ‘In Praise of Natural Philosophy: A Revolution for Thought and Life’, Philosophia, vol. 40, no. 4, 2012, pp. 705-715.

Most ítems are available online at http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/view/people/ANMAX22.date.html


2013 Update

Four further papers:

3. ‘The Menace of Science without Civilization: From Knowledge to Wisdom’, Text of Keynote Lecture given in Warsaw 20 May 2011, published in Dialogue and Universalism, no. 3, 2012, pp. 39-63.
4. ‘Replies to Criticisms and Comments’ (For criticisms and comments see Dialogue and Universalism, no. 3, 2012, pp. 65-132).  Published in Dialogue and Universalism, no. 3, 2012, pp. 133-152.
5. ‘The Menace of Science without Wisdom’, Ethical Record, vol. 117, no. 9, October 2012, pp. 10-15.
6. ‘Looking for ultimate explanations in the wrong place, review of M. Heller, Ultimate explanations of the cosmos, Metascience, vol. 21, issue 1, pp 95-97.

Three chapters in three books:

7. ‘How Universities Can Help Humanity Learn How to Resolve the Crises of Our Times - From Knowledge to Wisdom: The University College London Experience’, in Handbook on the Knowledge Economy, vol. 2, ed. G. Heam, T. Katlelle and D. Rooney, 2012, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp. 158-179.
8. ‘Wisdom: Object of Study or Basic Aim of Inquiry?’, in M. Ferrari and N. Weststrate, eds., The Scientific Study of Personal Wisdom, 2012, Springer, ch. 14.
9. ‘Our Global Problems And What We Need To Do About Them’, in Tandy, C., and J. Lee, ed., Death and Anti-Death Anthology, vol. 10: Ten Years After John Rawls (1921-2002), 2012, Ria University Press, Palo Alto, California, Ch. 7, pp. 131-174.

Most items are available online at http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/view/people/ANMAX22.date.html


12 July 2007


2006 a Special Relativity, Time, Probabilism and Ultimate Reality, in The Ontology of Spacetime , edited by D. Dieks, Elsevier, B. V., 2006, pp. 229-245.

2006 b Learning to Live a Life of Value, in Living a Life of Value, edited by J. Merchey, Values of the Wise Press, 2006, pp. 383-95.

2006 c Practical Certainty and Cosmological Conjectures, in Is there Certain Knowledge?, ed. Michael Rahnfeld, Leipziger Universitätsverlag, 2006.

2006 d The Enlightenment Programme and Karl Popper, in KarlPopper: A Centenary Assessment. Volume 1: Life andTimes, Values in a World of Facts, ed. I. Jarvie,  K. Milford and D. Miller, chapter 11, Ashgate, London, pp. 177-190.

2007    The Enlightenment, Popper and Einstein, in Knowledge and Wisdom: Advances in Multiple Criteria Decision Making and Human Systems Management, Y. Shi et al. (eds.), IOS Press, pp. 131-148.


2006 a Knowledge to Wisdom: We Need a Revolution, Philosophia 34, pp. 377-8.

2006 b Three Problems about Consciousness and their Possible Resolution, PMS WIPS 005 Nov 15, 2006, http://www.petemandik.com/blog/pms-wips/

2007 a Philosophy Seminars for Five Year Olds, Gifted Education International, Vol. 22, No. 2/3, pp. 122-7 (reprint of 2005 article).

2007 b Can the World Learn Wisdom?, Solidarity, Sustainability, and Non-Violence, vol. 3, no. 4, April 2007, http://www.pelicanweb.org/solisustv03n04maxwell.html

2007 c From Knowledge to Wisdom: The Need for an Academic Revolution, London Review of Education, vol. 5, no. 2, 2007, pp. 97-115.


2006   8 November From Knowledge to Wisdom: The Urgent Need for a Revolution in Academic Inquiry, talk given to the Philosophy Department of the London Institute of Education.  

2007  10 March The Problem of Induction and Metaphysical Assumptions Concerning the Comprehensibility and Knowability of the Universe, talk given to Conference, Confirmation, Induction and Science, at the London School of Economics.

Activities and Research

I am about to publish a second edition of From Knowledge to Wisdom (Pentire Press, 2007).  This book was first published in 1984.  It has been revised throughout for the 2nd edition, and has three new chapters.  I have just finished a long article called "The Disastrous War on Terrorism: Violence versus Enlightenment", which is to be published in a book on terrorism.  I have been hard at work on two forthcoming books, "Cutting God in Half, and Putting the Pieces Together Again", and "Einstein, Quantum Theory, and the Great Betrayal".  I have been co-editing an issue of London Review of Education on "Wisdom in the University", due to come out in July 2007, to which I have contributed the leading article.  A book devoted to my work is underway; it will be edited by Leemon McHenry, and will be called Knowledge to Wisdom: Studies in the Thought of Nicholas Maxwell.  Friends of Wisdom , an emailing and campaigning group I initiated, continues to flourish: website www.knowledgetowisdom.org .  My website is:- www.nick-maxwell.demon.co.uk .

Best wishes,
Nicholas Maxwell
Emeritus Reader and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at University College London

June 2009

For the Fellows Annual Review A book about my work was published in February 2009.  It is called Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom: Studies in the Philosophy of Nicholas Maxwell, edited by Leemon McHenry (Ontos Verlag, Frankfurt).  I contribute the first chapter, "How Can Life of Value Best Flourish in the Real World?" - an outline of my work during the last forty years.  Eleven scholars then comment on my work, and I reply.  A paperback edition of Wisdom in the University (Routledge), which I contributed to, and edited with R. Barnett, was published early in 2009.  I managed to publish an article outlining my argument for the need for a scientific revolution in a scientific journal: see my “Do We Need a Scientific Revolution?”, Journal for Biological Physics and Chemistry, vol. 8, no. 3, September 2008, pp. 95-105.  I gave a number of lectures, in London, Boston, Plymouth and Sussex, expounding the case for an academic revolution..  And I broadcast two interviews about my work: see http://www.weeklysignals.com/weeklysignalsarc-2008.html#nicholasmaxwell and http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/features/science/#episode24 – the latter episode 24 of the “How To Think About Science” series on the Ideas Programme of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.  Friends of Wisdom, which I founded in 2003, continues to grow.  See www.nick-maxwell.demon.co.uk/                         

Best wishes,
Nicholas Maxwell

May 2011
I continue to do what I can to get across the message that we urgently need to bring about a revolution in academia so that it takes up its proper task of helping humanity solve its immense, intensifying global problems, and make progress towards as good a world as possible.  I published Cutting God in Half – And Putting the Pieces Together Again: A New Approach to Philosophy in 2010 (Pentire Press): for an appreciative review see http://metapsychology.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=book&id=6070&cn=394 .  I contributed chapters to six other books, and eight articles to various publications: see http://philpapers.org/profile/17092 .  To celebrate its 50th issue, The Philosophers’ Magazine published 50 short articles on “the best ideas of the 21st century”.  No. 34 is called “Wisdom Inquiry” and is by me (pp. 84-5, 3rd quarter, 2010).  My own university, University College London, is at last beginning to put my ideas into practice.  It has created a “Grand Challenges Programme” which brings specialists together to tackle global problems.  It has produced a policy document called “Developing a culture of wisdom at UCL”.  Philosophia published a symposium on my work.  I have given lectures on quantum theory at Lisbon University, and on wisdom-inquiry at Poznan University (Poland), at Cambridge, and as a keynote speaker at conferences in Wales and Warsaw.  For more, see www.nick-maxwell.demon.co.uk .

May 2012
I have published the very first paper in a new journal:
Three Philosophical Problems about Consciousness and their Possible Resolution, Open Journal of Philosophy, 2011, vol. 1, no. 1, pages 1-10.
And I have published three chapters in three books:
1. Is the Quantum World Composed of Propensitons?, in Probabilities, Causes and Propensities in Physics, edited by Mauricio Suárez, Synthese Library, Springer, Dordrecht, 2011, pp. 221-243.
2. A Priori Conjectural Knowledge in Physics, in What Place for the A Priori?, edited by Michael Shaffer and Michael Veber, Open Court, Chicago, 2011, pp. 211-240.
3. Creating a Better World: Towards the University of Wisdom, in R. Barnett, ed., The Future University: Ideas and Possibilities, Routledge, New York, 2012, pp. 123-138.

::: homepage

Revised 7/27/17 - Copyright 2009