Indiana University

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Last modified: Friday, September 21, 2007

Logician to give first IU Presidential Lecture

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Sept. 21, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Saul Kripke, considered by some to be the world's greatest living philosopher and logician, will deliver the inaugural Presidential Lecture at Indiana University, IU President Michael McRobbie announced today (Sept. 21).

Kripke, distinguished professor of philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, will speak at 3 p.m. on Oct. 15 in Alumni Hall of the Indiana Memorial Union in Bloomington.

"I am delighted that Professor Kripke will speak at Indiana University," McRobbie said. "His lecture will provide a tremendous opportunity for our students, faculty and the rest of the university community to hear from one of the true intellectual giants of our time. I will also be personally delighted to welcome him, as much of my early research was focused on his logical work."

The lecture will be a keystone event of Celebrate IU Week, which also includes the dedication of Simon Multi-Disciplinary Science Building, McRobbie's inauguration as the university's 18th president and IU Bloomington Homecoming activities.

Kripke, 66, is known for his contributions to modal logic and related logics, his theory of truth and his interpretation of the work of the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, who lived from 1889 to 1951. His best-known work is Naming and Necessity, published in 1980 and based on lectures that he gave while on the faculty of Princeton University, where he taught for more than 20 years.

"In many circles, Mr. Kripke . . . is thought to be the world's greatest living philosopher, perhaps the greatest since Wittgenstein," said a 2006 profile in the New York Times. It said Kripke was "actually superior to Wittgenstein" in that he accomplished some of his most significant work while still in high school.

Kripke said he intends to speak at IU on "The Collapse of the Hilbert Program," giving a talk that is philosophically significant and proves a technical result.

Kripke grew up in Omaha, Neb., where his father was a rabbi and his mother wrote Jewish educational books for children. He began writing philosophical essays while in high school. He attended Harvard University, earning a degree in mathematics, and taught graduate-level students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology while he was an undergraduate.

He has been a faculty member at Rockefeller, Cornell and Princeton universities. Since 2002, he has taught at the Graduate Center of CUNY in midtown Manhattan. This fall, the center established the Kripke Center to promote the study of his philosophy.

In 2001, Kripke received the Schock Prize for Logic and Philosophy, given by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and regarded as the Nobel Prize in those fields.

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