Humboldt Fellowship Goes to Graham Priest, GC Dist. Professor of Philosophy

Graham George Priest (Dist. Prof., GC, Philosophy), who joined the GC in August 2009, has been awarded a prestigious Humboldt Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Bonn, Germany. The award provides EUR 60,000 for research Priest is to undertake with colleagues in Germany and the United States. Over the last thirty years, Priest has been a key person involved with the development of an area of “paraconsistent logic.” This is a kind of logic which allows one to handle inconsistent theories or information by localizing the inconsistencies as “singularities,” so that pernicious consequences do not spread to other areas, as they do in standard logic. Paraconsistent logics have many applications in philosophy, mathematics, and information technology. A major application is to the paradoxes of self-reference, which have played a fundamental role in logic and the foundations of mathematics in the last hundred years. These include paradoxes such as Russell’s paradox and the Liar paradox. Standard paraconsistent approaches to this matter are now relatively well understood. Crucial to such investigations is an understanding of conditionals (“if ... then ...”). The research project, to be undertaken at the Ruhr University Bochum, is to investigate a new suggestion for such an understanding, to see to what extent it can provide a better solution to the paradoxes than those already to hand. To read Priest on “Paradoxical Truth” in the NYT, see  http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/paradoxical-truth/. For more information about the Humboldt Foundation and this award: http://www.humboldt-foundation.de/web/humboldt-award.html.

Submitted on: JUN 27, 2012

Category: Philosophy, Faculty Activities, Faculty Awards