Philip Kitcher


Philip Kitcher is John Dewey Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Columbia University. Before, he taught at the University of California, San Diego, and of Minnesota.  Early in his career, he was primarily interested in philosophy of mathematics and general philosophy of science.  During the late 1970s, he became very concerned with the philosophy of biology. That concern led him to investigate not only conceptual and methodological issues in biology, but also questions about the relations of biological research to society and politics. During the 1990s, his interests broadened further to embrace the role of scientific inquiry in democratic societies. Since coming to Columbia, that line of investigation has been further elaborated in relation to pragmatism (especially William James and John Dewey). Part of this work advances a program for naturalistic ethics (one he takes to be Deweyan in spirit).  He has also developed a program of research in philosophical themes in literature and music, focusing so far on Joyce and Wagner, and, in a recent book, on Thomas Mann and Mahler.