University of Pittsburgh
February 14, 2001

PITT's Center for Philosophy of Science Honors Nicholas Rescher with Workshop

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 15 -- The University of Pittsburgh's Center for Philosophy of Science (CPS) will honor three significant anniversaries for University Professor Nicholas Rescher with a two-day workshop, "The Limits of Knowledge," Feb. 23-24, in Room 2P56 Posvar Hall.

In 2001, Nicholas Rescher will celebrate his 50th anniversary as a teacher of philosophy, his 40th anniversary as a member of the Pitt faculty and of the CPS, and his 30th anniversary as University Professor of Philosophy.

"Nicholas Rescher has made internationally recognized contributions to virtually every branch of philosophy, and has made equally important scholarly contributions to its history," said James Lennox, current director of the CPS. "But his contributions extend much further, through his roles as journal editor, and as a board member and president of many professional societies and organizations, and through his leadership to the University, including directing the Center for Philosophy of Science and serving as its vice-chairman. As an officer of the Center, he has been generous with advice and help and has made my time as Center director much easier and more pleasant. Nick has been a good friend ever since I arrived in Pittsburgh, and I am delighted that the Center is helping to organize this workshop devoted to a theme that he has returned to throughout his career."

"Nicholas Rescher's work spans the history and major topics in philosophy. From his early well respected book on Leibniz to his recent massive systematic treatise on pragmatic idealism, Rescher has made significant contributions in every major area of intellectual endeavor," said Peter Machamer, professor of history and philosophy of science and long-time colleague. "In a time when specialization is the goal of many, Rescher has transcended such parochialism. In his 30 years at Pitt, he has become a philosophical landmark."

Speakers and their topics include Jürgen Mittelstrass from the University of Konstanz (Germany), speaking on "The Limits of Science and the Limitations of Our Knowledge"; Robert Almeder of Georgia State University, addressing "The Failure of Truth"; Paul Humphreys of the University of Virginia, exploring "Empiricism and the Limits of Scientific Knowledge"; Avrum Stroll of the University of California, San Diego, speaking on "Liberalizing Meaning"; and Martin Carrier of the University of Bielefeld (Germany), speaking on "Complexity, the Exhaustion of Nature, and the Limits of Science"

University of Pittsburgh Provost James V. Maher will deliver the opening remarks.

Rescher served as chairman of the Department of Philosophy, directed the Center for Philosophy of Science from 1981-88, and has served as vice chairman of the Center for the past 13 years. Born in Germany in 1928, he has written more than 60 books on philosophical subjects, and has been a pioneer in the revival and refurbishing of the idealistic tradition in epistemology and metaphysics in the light of ideas drawn from American pragmatism.

In 1989-90, he served as president of the American Philosophical Association (Eastern Division). He has been the editor of the American Philosophical Quarterly since 1964. Rescher has earned degrees by Loyola University of Chicago, Lehigh University, and the Argentine National University of Cordoba. In 1983, he received an Alexander von Humboldt Prize awarded under the auspices of the German Federal Republic for distinguished scholarship in the humanities.

This workshop is made possible by the Center for Philosophy of Science, the Department of Philosophy, the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, and the Office of the Provost at the University of Pittsburgh, and by the Harvey and Leslie Wagner Endowment.

For more information, or to register, call (412) 624-1052.