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::: center home >> news >> 50 Years


Fifty years ago, the Center for Philosophy of Science was founded. Over the ensuing fifty years, it has been swept along by the strong currents of modern philosophy of science; and it has played its part in turn in generating those currents. (A more detailed history can be found on the Center Web site).

We thought a fitting tribute to the longevity and flourishing of the Center would be to solicit contributions from the extended Center Family in whatever form you thought fitting. Below are remembrances, anecdotes, before and after pictures, and more. They are listed alphabetically.

Hanne Andersen

                          2008                                                            2010

Annual Lecture Series

Nuel Belnap

Here is an anecdote from Olden Times.

In the sixties, each Center lecture attracted an auditorium-sized collection of people from throughout the University and the City.  Among the many regular attendees, there was one that we called "Death-ray Dan."  He always asked a question, usually on an irrelevant topic taken from the morning newspaper.  One time, DD buttonholed Adolf, and asked him to purchase a directional microphone to point at persons asking questions.  "But," said DD, "don't get the kind that have a built-in death-ray."

Lindley Darden

Lindley Darden of the University of Maryland in College Park has fond memories of being a fellow at the Center in 1997.  She enjoyed discussing the history of molecular biology with Bob Olby.  Especially fruitful was the collaboration that began with Peter Machamer and Carl Craver on the topic of biological mechanisms.  Their MDC paper ("Thinking about Mechanisms" published in Philosophy of Science in 2000, after many trips back and forth on the Penn turnpike) is now, to their amazement, referred to as a "classic." It has, for several years, been listed as the "Most Cited" article in Philosophy of Science, although no one, including the editor of the journal, knows exactly to what that refers.  She and Carl Craver have received a National Endowment for the Humanities Collaborative Research Grant for work on their prospective book, In Search of Biological Mechanisms. She enjoys being an Associate of the Center and coming over for conferences once or twice a year, with lots of intellectual stimulation, good food, and good company.

                             1997                                                              2009


Philip Ehrlich

                            2001                                                          2010

Here are pictures then (2001) and now (2010). The first was taken right before I arrived at the Center. It is the picture OU took of me when I was named Ohio University Research Scholar in Arts and Humanities and the second picture was taken today.

As to a humorous anecdote regarding the center, I really got a great kick out of Adolf coming up to me before a talk I gave at the Center on Zeno's Paradox of Extension and asking me: "Phil, what was my view on the subject?" Of course, despite the fact that Adolf's treatment was, and perhaps still is, regarded, as the received view, it had been decades since he had written on the matter.

Laura Felline

Chris, Erik, Flavia and Laura were fellows in Pittsburgh during the year
2008/2009, together with Hanne Andersen, Claus Beisbart, Ulrich Krohs,
Daniel Parker and Federica Russo. They soon became a very tight-knit

Chris and Tansel's wedding was celebrated on the 10th of July, 2010 in
Missouri; however, Erik, Flavia and Laura joined the couple for a wonderful reception in Turkey, on the 22nd of July. It was a great mini-Pittsburgh reunion!

Gordon Fleming

I began my associate status at the center in the mid 80s, including offering a few special topics courses on aspects of Lorentz covariant quantum theory. This was very close to the end of Nick Resher's term as director and Linda Butera's term as administrative assistant extraordinaire! Through the late 80s and the early 90s I did a lot of back and forth between the Pitt Center and the Cambridge UK phil of phys group. I offer the attached passport triptych for my before- during-after photos: The years are '79, '84, '96.


John Forge

Malcolm Forster

Malcolm Forster is now living in China as a result of his meeting another
fellow, Wang Wei of Tsinghua University, during their stay at the Center in 2006.  He plans to preach the Pittsburgh philosophy of science to unsuspecting PhD students at the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Tsinghua University, Beijing, for the next 18 months.

Maria Carla Galavotti


Photos from 1989 and 2010 with Pat Suppes

Adolf Grünbaum

Adolf Grünbaum has drawn our attention to his recent autobiography:

Excerpt from: Adolf Grünbaum’s “Autobiographical Philosophical Narrative” in: A. Jokic (ed.) Philosophy of Religion, Physics, and Psychology: Essays in Honor of Adolf Grünbaum, Promethius Books, Amherst, NY, 2009, pp38-39.

The most decisive influence on the direction of my work during the first twenty-five years after receiving my doctorate came from Hans Recihenbach, Hempel’s own graduate teacher at the University of Berlin. While I was still a graduate student, Robert S. Cohen, who was a serendipitous bibliophile, brought me an out-of-print copy of Hans Reichenbach’s classic 1928 German work on space-time philosophy, titled Philosophie der Raum-Zeit-Lehre. This book did not become available in English translation until 1958 under the title of Philosophy of Time and Space. When I read it in German, its effect on me was truly electrifying, and I was swept into working on the sort of issues that Reichenbach had treated so magisterially in that book. Years later, . . . more text and photos. . .

Lillia Gurova

                                     2006                                                   2010

One of my first days in the Center. Malcolm Forster is talking with John Norton in the lounge room. This day I learned the lesson: if you need a rest and want to chat, go to the Center lounge - you’ll find somebody there, or somebody will find you soon. more . . .


Andrew Irvine

                                   1980                                                      2010

Aharon Kantorovich

About two years ago I found under my name in Google a link to a new site named "Strange Wondrous Quotes & Quotations" which includes a huge collection of quotes  on just about every topic imaginable, such as philosophy, science, politics, books, discovery, genius, madness, reality, truth, reason and wisdom. Two quotations from my book Scientific Discovery: Logic and Tinkering (State University of New York Press, Albany, NY, 1993) appear there. Due to the alphabetical order my name appears immediately after Immanuel Kant. And how this is related to CPS? I started writing the book while I stayed at the Center in 1989.

I was pleased to see myself in the company of figures such as Plato, Kant and Einstein. To my regret, I could not find any other names from the Center cited in this site. I would be very glad if someone will tell me that he/she found such names. For those of you who are interested, the address of the site is: "strangewondrous.net".

John Lyne

I'm sending the attached photo, which shows me (standing between the outgoing and incoming Provosts) being presented the Provost's Excellence in Mentoring Award, in recognition of my successful mentoring of doctoral students over the years.

Storrs McCall

Jesus Mosterin

                     with John Earman                                                 1997



Nancy Nersessian

                      Nancy the diva in 1986                                 2009

John D. Norton

Eve and I first came to Pittsburgh in the summer of 1983. We were guided only by a letter from Peter Machamer with the return address, Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh. As we drove down Route 376, wondering where to turn, we saw a big Gothic spike on the horizon. "Cathedral of Learning" suddenly made sense. We navigated through the back streets of Oakland simply turning towards that spike whenever it emerged from behind the buildings.

My first year in Pittsburgh was spent as a Visiting Fellow in the Center. In the offices around me was a new generation of then young scholars: David Malament, Richard Healey, Paul Humphreys, Nancy Cartwright and more; and some senior sages, including Roberto Torretti and the Director, Nicholas Rescher.  It was an intellectually intense experience that I will never forget and that, as Director, I now seek to replicate for present visitors.

Here's a photo from those early days, taken a few years later, but still in the 1980s.

On the left is John Forge and in the middle is Linda Butera. She staffed the Center and did it with a level of dedication that can only come from someone totally committed to the well-being of the Fellows in her care. It is impossible to recall those earlier years without thinking of her with gratitude.



Another photo comes from 2000, the 100th Anniversary of Planck's great discovery that eventually launched quantum theory. We ran a commemorative lunch, the "Planckfest 2000," in which I donned a frock coat and channeled Planck.



This event was co-organized with Rob Clifton, who was also an Associate Director of the Center. His kind and gentle heart stopped beating in 2002 at the age of 39.




There are fewer photos of me today. I am usually the one taking the photos. In that spirit, here's one of me taking photos of Fellows.






Alessandro Pagnini

Photos from 1982 and 2010

Lydia Patton 

My paper, "Experiment and Theory Building," was accepted for publication in Synthese. This is the paper I presented at the Fellows' reading group, so I am particularly grateful to the other Fellows, Athanassios Raftopoulos, Slobodan Perovic, Natalie Gold, Mark Sprevak, Lisa Damm, and Drozdstoj Stoyanov; and to Center director John Norton and HPS professor Michela Massimi, for their comments and suggestions, which were invaluable in revising the paper.  The reading group was a great experience.


Johannes Persson

                              2008                                                       2010


Here's philsci-archive in 2001 shortly after its launch and in 2010, just before its major upgrade.

Nicholas Rescher

Here are two pictures of me. One when I was Center Director (1980). The other more current (2007).

Zofia  Rosinska

I spent two semesters at the Center for the Philosophy of Science in 2001.  What drew me to the Center was Professor Adolf Günbaum.  In Warsaw I worked with Freudian psychoanalysis and was influenced by the hermeneutical interpretation of Freud’s work.  Grünbaum’s interpretation of Freud evoked ambivalent reactions, of respect and admiration on the one hand, and criticism and rejection on the other.  Because of this I wanted to learn about Grünbaum’s work first hand, participate in his seminars, and meet him personally. The result of my stay was the translation of his book  The Foundation of Psychoanalysis. A Philosophical Critique into Polish by a former student of mine. Currently, in Poland, the book belongs to the canon of readings for the courses in philosphy of science.

I particularly enjoyed the social interactions with my colleagues, dinners, parties, drinks.  Once, to reciprocate, I invited my friends for pierogis (stereotypical Polish dish).  Someone brought wine, but not one bottle, as is customary, but several dozen.  We did not leave off 'til it was all gone.  My English had never been this fluent before.

Sherrilyn Roush

                     2003                                                       2010

Oron Shagir

                          2004                                                             2010

Arto Siitonen

I have sent three photos: the first from the time before the Center, because I took part to the Center Fellows' meeting in Athens, Greece, on 21-28 May 1992, and there is a photo on me in Delphi, where we made an excursion. In connection with this, I may tell you that in Delphi there was an ancient stadium where John Earman and I took a running competition - in the spirit of the ancient Greek Olympic games. We were quite even at the goal - John slightly in front.

The second picture is from Pittsburgh; I am in front, and my family is replicated in the mirrors at the rear. We were in Pittsburgh between the 1st of September 1992, until the 27th of June 1993.

The third photo shows my present self at our home library; it was taken two days ago.

We had a good time in Pittsburgh. I liked the lunchtime colloquia and other meetings, where I learned a lot and where I gave my own presentation ("On Reichenbach's Philosophy"), September the 29th 1992. I learned to know Wenceslao Gonzalez, who came to the Center in Spring 1993 and with whom I still cooperate. I often had a lunch meeting with Nicholas Rescher, and our whole family received an invitation to his home. We were invited guests also at Adolf Grünbaum's home. At the end of February 1993, we enjoyed downhill skiing in Hidden Valley. On March the 5th and 6th, I followed the friendly invitation of Jay F. Rosenberg to Chapel Hill, where I gave a visiting lecture on the theme 'Exploration of space and time: Kant and Reichenbach'. In April the 5th, I had the opporuntiny to meet Maria Reichenbach at Los Angeles.

Drozdstoj Stoyanov

Drossi was appointed Vice Dean for International Affairs in 2009 and holds the position of associate professor and Chair of Medical Psychology in the Faculty of Public Health, University of Medicine, Plovdiv.

He published and/or edited over 90 papers, three monographs and a textbook of psychology and received a number of awards for his research such as Hippocratic Medal from the International Hippocratic Foundation for his contributions in philosophy of medicine. Drossi’s latest publications are on the convergent trans-disciplinary validity of the methods and categories in psychology and psychiatry.
Since 2007 he acts as a member of the Editorial board, secretary coordinator (2009) and most recently as Deputy Editor-in-chief (2010) of the International Annual for History and Philosophy of Medicine. Besides he is Chair of Conceptual group in the Global Network for Diagnosis and Classification launched by the World Psychiatric Association (2008) as well as member of the teaching committee of the European Association for Communication in Healthcare (2010).

Drossi has married in 2009 to Ilyana, scientific research fellow in cardiology.

Soshichi Uchii

Photos from 1991, with Arthur W. Burks, and 2006.

John Worrall

It was during my 82-3 year at Pitt that, courtesy of George Gale, I was christened 'John Wesley Worrall' (George and sometimes Ron Giere still write to me as ' Dear John Wesley'). This was caused by the fact that eventually I managed to learn my lesson and say that I had work to do when George, Ted, and Peter insisted that there was a new bar somewhere on the South Side or whatever that we simply had to go to. I was so often called JWW in that year, that Wes Salmon turned out to think that it was really my name (I don't have a middle name at all in fact) - he was Wesley Charles after John's brother Charles Wesley because (in fact like me) he had devout Methodist parents.

Revised 10/5/11 - Copyright 2010