Factual Appendix to
Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy
1. BIOGRAPHICAL DATA
Born in Hagen, Germany, 1928. Removed to the U.S., 1938; U.S. citizenship granted, 1944. Served as n.c.o. (corporal) in the U.S. Marine Corps, 1952-1954. Married in 1968 (to Dorothy Henle); children—Mark, Owen, Catherine; and Elizabeth by a prior marriage.
Undergraduate study at Queens College (Flushing, New York),
1946-1949. B.S. (mathematics), 1949, magna
cum laude, with honors in mathematics.
Graduate Study at Princeton University, 1949-1951. M.A. (philosophy), 1950; Ph.D., 1951. University Fellow, 1949-1951. Dissertation: “Leibniz’s Cosmology: A Study of the Relations Between Leibniz’s Work in Physics and his Philosophy.” (Ph.D. completed in two years, still at age 22, setting a record in the Princeton department.)
Assistant in Instruction (Philosophy), 1950-1951.
Instructor in Philosophy, 1951-1952.
The RAND Corporation (
Assistant Mathematician, 1954-1955.
Associate Mathematician, 1955-1956.
Research Mathematician, 1956-1957.
Assistant Professor of Philosophy, 1957-1959.
Associate Professor of Philosophy, 1959-1961.
Professor of Philosophy, 1961-1968.
Research Professor of Philosophy, 1968-1970.
Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy, 1970-present.
4. ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICE AT THE
Chairman, Department of Philosophy, 1980-1981.
Director, Center for Philosophy of Science, 1981-1988.
Chairman, Center for Philosophy of Science, 1988-present.
5. VISITING PROFESSORSHIPS
Honorary member of Corpus Christi College, Oxford (elected in 1977).
Temple University, 1968-1969; University of Western Ontario, 1970-1974;
Catholic University of America, 1971-1972; University of Rochester, Spring
1979. Visiting Lecturer,
Author of over two hundred scholarly articles and of some hundred books, many of which have been translated into other languages. For details, see the separate “List of Publications.”
7. BOOKS ABOUT NR’S WORK
Ernest Sosa (ed.), The Philosophy of Nicholas Rescher (Dordrecht: Reidel, 1979). [A collection of critical essays with brief replies by N.R. [The contributors include: Annette Baier, Stephen Barker, Nuel D. Belnap, Jr., Laurence BonJour, Robert E. Butts, Roderick M. Chisholm, L. Jonathan Cohen, Jude J. Dougherty, Brian Ellis, R.M. Hare, Hide Ishiguro, George Von Wright, and John W. Yolton.]
Robert Almeder (ed.), Praxis and Reason: Studies in the Philosophy of Nicholas Rescher (Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1982.) [A collection of critical and expanding essays with brief replies by NR. The contributors include: Timo Airaksinen, Robert Almeder, Antonio Cua, John E. Hare, Risto Hilpinen, John Kekes, Gerald J. Massey, Jack W. Meiland, Mark Pastin, Friedrick Rapp, James Sterba, and Dennis Temple.]
Heiner Coomann, Die kohaerenztheorie der Wahrheit: Eine kritische Darstellung der Theorie Reschers von Ihrem historischen Hintergrund (Frankfurt am Main: Verlag Peter Lang, 1983).
Andrea Bottani, Verità e Coerenza: Suggio su’ll epistemologia coerentista di Nicholas Rescher, (Milano: Franco Angeli Liberi, 1989). [A systematic study of NR’s coherence theory of truth.]
Michele Marsonet, The Primacy of Practical Reason: An Essay on Nicholas Rescher’s Philosophy (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1995).
A. Wüstehube and M. Quante (eds.), Pragmatic Idealism: Critical Discussions of Nicholas Rescher’s Philosophy System (Amsterdam: Ropodi, 1998). [A series of some fifteen critical essays on NR’s philosophy.]
Lotfallah Nabori, Avicennan Logic Based on Nicholas Rescher’s
Point of View (
Michael Weber (ed.), After
Whitehead: Rescher and Process
Nicholas Moutafakis, Rescher on Rationality, Values, and Social Responsibility (Frankfurt, ONTOS Verlag, 2007).
Wenceslao Gonzalez, La predicción scientifica de H. Reichenbach a N. Rescher (Madrid: Editorial Mantescinos, 2010).
8. MEMBERSHIP IN ACADEMIES
Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Elected to fellowship in 1961.
Institut International de
Philosophie. Elected to membership in
1971. [Based in
Pennsylvania Academy of Science. Elected to membership in 1976.
Academie Internationale de Philosphie des
Sciences. Elected to membership in
1984. [Based in
Academia Europaea: European Academy of Arts and Sciences. Elected to membership in 1997.
Royal Society of Canada. Elected as Foreign Fellow in 2006.
American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Elected to fellowship in 2009.
9. HONORARY DEGREES
L.H.D. (Doctor of Humane Letters), Loyola
Dr. h.c. (Doctor honoris causa), National Autonomous University
of Córdoba (
L.H.D. (Doctor of Humane Letters), Lehigh University, 1993.
Dr. h.c. (Doctor honoris causa),
D.Sc. (Doctor of Science, honoris causa). Queens College of the City University of New York, 1999.
Dr. phil. h.c. (Doctor philosophiae honoris causa),
Fernuniversität Hagen (
Dr. rer. Pol. h.c. (Doctor rerum politicarum honors causa),
L.H.D. (Doctor of Humane Letters), Cleveland State University, 2007.
Alexander von Humboldt Humanities Prize, 1983. (Some three or four of these prizes, designed as Forschungspreis für Geisteswissenschaftler, are awarded worldwide each year under the auspices of the Federal Republic of Germany “in recognition of outstanding research accomplishments by humanistic scholars of international distinction.”)
Medal of Merit for Distinguished Scholarship, University of Helsinki (Finland), 1990. (Two or three of these medals are awarded annually by this university to recognize outstanding contributions in different academic fields.) The award cited NR for “his innovative reexaminations of classical issues in philosophy from contemporary perspectives.”
Cardinal Mercier Prize (Prix Mercier) awarded to Scholastic Meditations in 2005.
(This prize is awarded worldwide biannually by the University catholique de
Chancellors Distinguished Research Award, University of Pittsburgh, 1990. (An award given periodically to a senior scholar on the university faculty who has a particularly distinguished record in research.)
Thomas Aquinas Medal, American Catholic Philosophical Association, 2007. (One of these medals is awarded annually worldwide as a lifetime achievement and to a distinguished Catholic philosopher.)
Medal of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesdienstkreuz erster Klasse), 2011. Awarded for contributions to philosophy and to German-American cooperation in this field.
11. SPECIAL LECTURESHIPS
United States Air Force Academy: J.A. Reich Distinguished Lecture on War, Morality and the Military Profession. “The Complexity of Military Obligation.” November, 1990.
Southern Illinois University. Fritz Marti Lecturer. March 2003.
Marquette University. Thomas Aquinas Lecturer. “Common Sense.” February 2005.
Fordham University. Franisco Sqarez Lecturer. “Distinctions in Philosophy.” April 2005.
12. MEMBERSHIP IN LEARNED AND HONORARY SOCIETIES
Member of American Philosophical Association, American Catholic Philosophical Association, Philosophy of Science Society, International G.W. Leibniz Society, Charles S. Peirce Society, and others.
Member of Phi Betta Kappa and Sigma Xi. Honoris causa member of the Omicron Delta Kappa Society (student honorary) and of Phi Sigma Tau (student philosophy honorary).
13. PRESIDENCIES OF SCHOLARLY ORGANIZATIONS
• Charles Sanders Peirce Society (1983-86).
• G. W. Leibniz Society of
• American Philosophical Association,
• American Catholic Philosophical Association (2003-04).
14. SERVICE ON GOVERNING BOARDS OF SCHOLARLY ORGANIZATIONS
Secretary General, Division of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science of the international Union of History and Philosophy of Science (an organ of UNESCO), 1969-1975.
Board of Directors, International Federation of Philosophical Societies, 1984-present. (Chairman, Commission on Finances 1972-77.)
President, University of Pittsburgh Chapter (Xi of Pennsylvania) of Phi Beta Kappa, 1979-1980. (Member of Steering Committee 1980-present.)
Member of the Board of Directors, JHP Institute (Publisher of the Journal of the History of Philosophy), 1963 - 1975. (Founding member.)
Member of the Governing Board of JPL Associates (Governing body of the Journal of Philosophical Logic), 1963 - present; president 1971-1980.
Member of the Board of Directors,
Member of the International Board of Advisors, Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology, 1989 - 1995.
15. OFFICES IN PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES
Member of the Council (Wissenschaftlicher Beirat) of the International Leibniz Society (Internationale G.W. Leibniz-Gesellschaft), 1967 - present.
Executive Committee Member, The Society for the Study of Islamic Philosophy and Science (1970-1980).
Chairman, Program Committee for 1970, American Philosophical Association (Eastern Division).
Executive Committee Member, Leibniz Society of
Chairman, Nominating Committee for 1984-85, Philosophy of Science Society.
Member, Matchette Prize Selection Committee for 1987, American Philosophical Association.
President, Phi Beta Kappa Chapter Xi of Pennsylvania, 1998 (Member of the Executive Committee 1982-present).
Member of the Board of Directors, International Federation of Philosophical Societies, (1988-1995).
16. MEMBERSHIP OF SCHOLARLY COMMITTEES AND COMMISSIONS
Member of the
Member, Commission for the Year 2000 of the American
Member of the Committee on International Cooperation of the American Philosophical Association (1972-1977).
Member of the Organizing Committee for the Bicentennial Symposium of Philosophy, 1974-76. (Arranged under the aegis of the American Philosophical Association.)
Member of the Peirce Sesquicennial Congress Organizing Committee, to plan for international congress in 1989. (Arranged under the aegis of the C.S. Peirce Society and the American Philosophical Association.)
Member of the Catholic Commission on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs. (Elected in 1986).
17. GRANTS IN SUPPORT OF RESEARCH/POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIPS
Over the years research support has been received from the Ford Foundation (Fellow, 1959-60), the National Science Foundation, (several grants), The J. S. Guggenheim Foundation (Fellow 1970-71), the American Philosophical Society, and the American Council of Learned Societies.
18. UNIVERSITY SERVICE:
Director, Center for Philosophy of Science, 1981-1988. (Co- Chairman, 1988-present. Earlier service as Associate Director 1961-1972).
Chairman, Department of Philosophy, 1962 [acting]; 1980-81.
Executive Committee, Department of Philosophy, 1961-present. Executive Committee, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, 1971-present.
Task Force for inaugurating a doctoral program in Religious Studies, 1966-67; internal Evaluation Committee for the Department of Classics, 1979; University Senate committee for University press, 1974-77 and 1980-1988 (Chairman, 1981-84); Steering Committee for the University’s Distinguished Lecture Series, 1979-12; Search Committee for Mellon Professor of Economics, 1981; Provost Search Committee, 1970, 1983, 1993. Member, Executive Committee of the University’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter, 1980-1995. Chairman, Provost Review Committee, 1990. Member, Selection Committee for President’s Distinguished Research Award, 1995-96. Distinguished Professorship Nomination Review Committee, 1997-99. Provost’s Committee on Academic Freedom, 2002-03.
19. DOCTORAL DISSERTATIONS DIRECTED
Stephen Puryear 2006
Alexander Pruss 2001
Johanna Seibt 1990
David Carey 1989
Joshua Golding 1989
M. Bryson Brown 1986
Robyn (Mintz) Heym 1981
Diego Marconi 1980
Gerald Michalec 1978
Kathleen Owens 1977
Mary Grace Richardson 1977
Zakaria Bashier 1973
Kenneth Collier 1972
Richard Schuldenfrei 1972
Carl Putz 1971
David Mayo 1970
Thomas Schwartz 1970
Richard Hertz 1967
Brian Skyrms 1964
Ernest Sosa 1964
Stuart Silvers, 1962
20. SUPPORT FOR CONGRESSIONAL PANELS
• Support for the Congressionally mandated Natural Science Foundation report on Science Indicators 1976 published in 1977 by the NSF for the National Science Board as document NSB-77-1. Also consulted on the NSF’s “Five Year Outlook” in 1979 as a member of Advisory Committee for the Program in Science and Technology.
• Testimony before the Congressional Science
Committee’s Subcommittee on Manned Space Flight (Chaired by Representative
Donald Fuqua of
• Contribution to the Civilian Space Stations and the U. S. Future in Space (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Office of Technology Assessment; document OTA-STI-24: November 1984).
21. SERVICES TO PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES AND INSTITUTIONS
Member, External Program Evaluation Committee: Lehigh University, 1974,1975; Loyola University of Chicago, 1978; Catholic University of America, 1979; Syracuse University, 1980; Guelph & McMaster Universities, 1989; SUNY, Albany, 1990; Virginia Polytechnic Institute, 1998.
Member of the University Press Committee of the University of Pittsburgh Press (1968-1977 and 1980-84; Chairman 1981-84).
Member of the Board of Editorial Advisors, C.S. Peirce Edition (1975-1980).
Member of the Board of Editors, “Studies in Islamic Philosophy and Science” (Publications series of the Society for the Study of Islamic Philosophy and Science) 1978-1982.
Member of the Board of Editors, “History of Logic Library” (1981 - ).
Member of the Board of Editors, “Epistêmê Library” (1987- ).
Member, International Board of Advisors, Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology (1990- 1995).
Nominating Committee, McArthur Foundation, 1993-94.
Member, Council (Beirat) of the Institut für Wissenschaft und Ethik (1995- ).
Nominating Editor, The Philosopher’s Annual (1997- ).
Member of the Advisory Board, Center for Culture and Civil Society (2006- ).
Memberof the Advisory Board, C. S. Lewis Society of California (2006- ).
RAND Corporation (
Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968-73.
Program in Science and Technology, National Science Foundation (1979-80).
North America Philosophical Publications, 1980-present
23. EDITORSHIP OF LEARNED JOURNALS
Editor, American Philosophical Quarterly, 1964-94.
Editor, History of Philosophy Quarterly, 1983-92.
Editor, Public Affairs Quarterly, 1986-91.
24. OTHER EDITORIAL SERVICE
General Co-Editor, Pittsburgh Series in Philosophy and History of Science (University of California Press), 1980-present.
General Co-Editor, C.P.S. Publications in Philosophy of Science (University Press of America), 1982-present.
Member of the Management Committee, Studia Leibnitiana.
Member of the Management Committee, Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie.
Member of the Board of Advisors, Jahrbuch für Wissenschaft und Ethik; Revista Colombiana de Filosofîa de la Sciencia; Science and Technology Stories; The Independent Review: A Journal of Political Economy.
Editorial Board Member: Asian Philosophy; Contrastes: Revista Internacional de Flosofía (Spain); Dialogue and Humanism (Poland); Epistemologia; History of Philosophy and Logical Analysis; Idealistic Studies; Informal Logic; Leibniz Society Review; Metaphilosophy; Mind and Society; Nature and System; Philosophical Alternatives (Bulgaria); Philosophisches Yahrbuch; Philosophy and Computing; Philosophy in Context; Reason in Practice: Journal of the Philosophy of Management; Research in Philosophy and Technology; Social Philosophy and Policy; Studia Culturologica (Bulgaria); The Journal of Philosophical Logic; Theoria et Historia Scientiarum (Poland); The Pluralist; Journal of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy.
25. COMMUNITY SERVICE
Trustee, St. Edmund’s Academy, Pittsburgh, PA (an independent school, under Episcopalian auspices, running from the nursery school level through the eighth grade), 1980-1985; Vice President of the Board of Trustees, 1983-1985.
26. LISTINGS IN ENCYCLOPEDIAS AND REFERENCE WORKS
Diccionario de filosofía, ed. J. Ferrater-Mora (6th ed.,
Dizionario dei Filosofi del Novecento, Roma, Leo S. Olschkin Editore, 1985), p. 625.
Pragmatik: Handbuch des pragmatischen Denkens (Hamburg: F. Meiner), Vol. II (1987), pp. 272-4 and 405-7; Vol. III (1989), pp. 473-76; Vol. V (1995), pp. 179-194.
Philosophie der Gegenwart, ed. by J. Nida-Rümelin (Stuttgart: Alfred Kroner Verlag, 1991), pp. 495-99.
A Companion to Epistemology ed. by S. Sosa and J. Dancy, (Oxford: Blackwells 1992), pp. 448-49.
Enzyklopädie Philosophie und Wissenschaftstheorie, ed. by J. Mittelstrass, Vol. 3 (Stuttgart: Verlag J. B. Metzler, 1995), pp. 594-97.
A Dictionary of Philosophy ed. by Thos. Mautner (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), p. 366.
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy ed. by Edward Craig (London: Routledge, 1996), pp. 660-61. Article by E. Sosa.
Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth Century Philosophers, ed. by S. Brown et. al. (London and New York: Routledge, 1996).
A Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion, ed. by William L. Reese, 2nd ed. (Atlantic Highland, NJ: Humanities Press, 1996).
Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy, ed. by T. Mautner (London: Penguin Books, 1997).
Brockhaus: Die Enzyklopädie, Vol. 18 [F.A. Brockhaus: Leipzig-Meisenheim, 1998), p. 290.
Philosophers and Their Works John. K. Roth (ed.) (
Lexicon of Philosophers. www.philosophenlexicon.de
The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd ed. (
27. BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES
The International Who’s Who, World Who’s Who; Dictionary of International Biography; International Authors and Writers Who’s Who, Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the 21st Century, Contemporary Authors, Directory of American Scholars, American Men and Women of Science, Who’s Who in American Education, and others.
28. From THE PHILOSOPHER’S DICTIONARY by Daniel Dennett
resch, (1) v. To evince an extravagant or pathological degree of intellectual energy in many directions. “He is always resching into print—one can’t keep up with his stuff.” (2) rescher, n. A unit for measuring the venue of printed pages, equal to the collected writing of Francis Bacon (e.g.; a rescher of Bacon). 1 rescher = 10,000 sheffers. “The new wing will increase the library by over a thousand rescher.”
• The Rescher quantifier
• The concept of auto-descriptive systems of many-valued logic
• The Rt operator in temporal logic
• Conditions to the formalization of dialectics and the theory of defeasible reasoning.
• The Law of Logarithmic Returns in epistemetrics
• The critique of scepticism through cost-benefit analysis
• A comprehensive renovation of coherentist epistemology
• The theory of plausibility stratification with its applications to paradox resolution and combinations reasoning
• The doctrine of conceptual idealism
• The theory of axiogenesis
• The defense of unrealizable ideals
• Intention as a route to moral absolutes
• The objectification of ethics through philosophical anthropology
History of Philosophy
• Contributions to the Leibniz revival in the post-1950 era
• An elucidation of the mathematics of Plato’s divided line
• Recovery of the medieval theory of temporal modality
• Recovery (restoration) of Leibniz’s cipher machine
30. IDEAS AND INNOVATIONS ASSOCIATED EPONYMOUSLY WITH NR’S NAME
• The Rescher Quantifier in symbolic logic. See
• Rescher's Law of Logarithmic Returns [also Rescher’s Principle of Decreasing Marginal Returns] in scientometrics. See James R. Wible, The Economics of Science (London & New York: Routledge, 1998), p. 151 and the Index) and Roland Wagner-Döbler, “Rescher’s Principle of Diminishing Marginal Returns in Scientific Research,” Scientometrics, vol. 50 (2001), pp. 419-36. Idem, “Wissenschafteliche Information,” Wissenschaftliches Jahrbuch 2000 (Norderstet, Gestellschaft für Wissenschaftsfurlong, 2001), pp. 105-120. See also the Wikipedia entry on “Rescher’s Law of Diminishing Returns.”
• Rescher’s Effective Average Measure in the theory of distributive justice. Se L. H. Powers, “A More Effective Average,” Philosophical Studies, vol. 24 (1970), pp. 74-78); and Geoffrey Ross, “Utilities for distributive Justine,” Theory and Decision, vol. 4 (1974), pp. 239-58 (especially pp. 250-57).
• The Dienes-Rescher Inference Engine (also Rescher-Dienes
Implication) in nonstandard logic.
See Olaf Wolkenhauser, Fuzzy Inference Engines (
• The Rescher-Gaines Implication in many-valued logic. See B. Reusch and K. Temme (eds), Computational Intelligence in Theory and Practice (2001).
• The Rescher-Manor Consequence Relation in nonmonotonic
logic. See Diderik Batens, “A Survey of
Inconsistency-Adaptive Logics and the Foundtion of Non-Monotonic Logics,” Logique
et Analyse, vol. 37 (1994), pp. 57-94; see also J. Merhuis (ed.), Inconsistency
in Science (
• The Rescher-Brandom Semantics for paraconsistent logic. See Edward V. Zalta, Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic, vol. 36 (1997), pp. 640-60.
• Rescher’s Model [or Theory] of Formal Disputation in dialectics. See Gerhard Brewka, “Dynamic Argument Systems,” Journal of Logic and Computation, vol. 11 (2001), pp. 257-82.
• The Rescher Operator in temporal logic. See Lennart Aqvist, “Combinations of Tense and Deontic Modality: On the Rt approach to Temporal Logic with Historical Necessity and Conditional Obligation,” Journal of Applied Logic, vol. 3 (2005), pp. 421-60.
((For detailed information about these items see the references accessible via Google .))
31. FURTHER DISTINCTIONS
In 2010 the University of Pittsburgh established the Nicholas Rescher Prize for Contributions to Systematic Philosophy. Bestowed biennially on some outstanding philosopher, the prize consists of a gold medal and an award of $25,000.