New Center of Philosophic Universe…

December 11, 2007 | CUNY Graduate Center

The Graduate Center of the City University of New York announces the establishment of the Saul Kripke Center, devoted to preserving, studying and promoting the work of one of the great thinkers of our times, who many consider to be the world’s foremost living philosopher. A distinguished Graduate Center faculty member, Professor Kripke’s achievements span the disciplines of mathematical logic and philosophy, with special emphasis on philosophy of language, metaphysics, and philosophical logic. He derives far-reaching conclusions from these disciplines that affect the philosophy of mind and epistemology. His work even has implications for Minkowski space-time in the special theory of relativity.
Professor Kripke is known for delivering brilliant lectures without working from written text. One of the primary goals of the new center, therefore, will be to transcribe audio recordings of his lectures and publish them in printed form, making many of his most significant insights available to scholars worldwide. The center also plans to organize conferences and seminars devoted to his work.

Professor Alan Berger, founding director of the Saul Kripke Center and the leading expert on Kripke’s work remarked, “The Saul Kripke Center has the potential to become the most exciting intellectual environment, especially in philosophy, that I can recall. I look forward to helping Mr. Kripke publish some of his new works in the foundations of mathematics. I also look forward to seeing many of his lectures including his critique of functionalism (a view of the mind as a computational machine), see the light of day. I have little doubt that these works will again create the excitement in the philosophical community that his seminal work, Naming and Necessity created.”

Professor Kripke was still a high school student in Omaha, Nebraska, when he produced a series of papers on the semantics of modal logic, which eventually revolutionized the discipline. Upon graduation from high school, he went to Harvard College and during his sophomore year began to teach a graduate course in logic at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a branch of mathematical logic that he founded (Transfinite Recursion Theory). He became a Junior Fellow at Harvard (a higher credential than a Ph.D.) and served on the faculty there until leaving for Rockefeller University. He was on the faculty of Princeton University for 25 years, beginning in 1977, and in 2002 came to the Graduate Center, where he is a Distinguished Professor in the Ph.D. Program in Philosophy. He has also lectured at Oxford University. In 2001, Professor Kripke won the Schock Prize in Logic and Philosophy, awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and regarded as the discipline’s equivalent of a Nobel Prize.

Professor Kripke is perhaps most renowned among philosophers for three lectures he gave at Princeton, subsequently published as Naming and Necessity; for the John Locke lectures he gave at Oxford University, entitled Reference and Existence, which have never been published but have circulated privately; for his lectures interpreting the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein, published as Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language; and for his “Outline of a Theory of Truth,” which appeared as an article in the Journal of Philosophy.

Professor Berger is prominent in his field, and his book Terms and Truth: Reference Direct and Anaphoric is considered a major work. He specializes in philosophy of language, metaphysics, philosophy of logic, epistemology, and has strong research interests in philosophy of mathematics. He has also contributed to and edited a forthcoming collection on Kripke’s work for the Contemporary Philosophy in Focus series (Cambridge University Press), which will contain the first discussion of much of Kripke’s unpublished works. Berger holds a B.A. from Queens College and a Ph.D. from Rockefeller University, where Saul Kripke supervised his dissertation. He comes to the Graduate Center from Brandeis University.

The Graduate Center is the doctorate-granting institution of the City University of New York (CUNY). An internationally recognized center for advanced studies and a national model for public doctoral education, the school offers more than thirty doctoral programs, as well as a number of master’s programs. Many of its faculty members are among the world’s leading scholars in their respective fields, and its alumni hold major positions in industry and government, as well as in academia. The Graduate Center is also home to twenty-nine interdisciplinary research centers and institutes focused on areas of compelling social, civic, cultural, and scientific concerns. Located in a landmark Fifth Avenue building, the Graduate Center has become a vital part of New York City’s intellectual and cultural life with its extensive array of public lectures, exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical events. Further information on the Graduate Center and its programs can be found at www.gc.cuny.edu.

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