Nicholas Wolterstorff

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Nicholas Wolterstorff
Nicholas Wolterstorff.jpg
Born (1932-01-21) January 21, 1932 (age 87)
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Analytic
Academic advisors Donald Cary Williams [1]
Main interests
Epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of religion, aesthetics, political philosophy
Notable ideas
Reformed epistemology

Nicholas Wolterstorff (born January 21, 1932) is an American philosopher and a liturgical theologian. He is currently Noah Porter Professor Emeritus Philosophical Theology at Yale University. [2] A prolific writer with wide-ranging philosophical and theological interests, he has written books on aesthetics, epistemology, political philosophy, philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and philosophy of education. In Faith and Rationality, Wolterstorff, Alvin Plantinga, and William Alston developed and expanded upon a view of religious epistemology that has come to be known as Reformed epistemology [3] . He also helped to establish the journal Faith and Philosophy and the Society of Christian Philosophers.

Yale University private research university in New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution.

Aesthetics Branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of art, beauty, and taste

Aesthetics, or esthetics is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of art, beauty and taste and with the creation or appreciation of beauty.

Epistemology A branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with the theory of knowledge.

Contents

Wolterstorff speaking in a conference in South Korea, May 24, 2014 WolterstoffLecture(AMJ).jpg
Wolterstorff speaking in a conference in South Korea, May 24, 2014

Biography

Wolterstorff was born in 1932 to Dutch emigrants in a small farming community in southwest Minnesota. [4] [5] After earning his BA in philosophy at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1953, he entered Harvard University, where he earned his M.A. and PhD in philosophy, completing his studies 1956. He then spent a year at the University of Cambridge, where he met C. D. Broad. From 1957 to 1959, he was an instructor in philosophy at Yale University. Then he took the post of Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College and taught for 30 years. [4] He is now teaching at Yale as Noah Porter Professor Emeritus Philosophical Theology.

Minnesota State of the United States of America

Minnesota is a state in the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes, and northern regions of the United States. Minnesota was admitted as the 32nd U.S. state on May 11, 1858, created from the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory. The state has a large number of lakes, and is known by the slogan the "Land of 10,000 Lakes". Its official motto is L'Étoile du Nord.

A Bachelor of Arts is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, sciences, or both. Bachelor of Arts programs generally take three to four years depending on the country, institution, and specific specializations, majors, or minors. The word baccalaureus should not be confused with baccalaureatus, which refers to the one- to two-year postgraduate Bachelor of Arts with Honors degree in some countries.

Michigan State of the United States of America

Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes and Midwestern regions of the United States. The state's name, Michigan, originates from the Ojibwe word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake". With a population of about 10 million, Michigan is the tenth most populous of the 50 United States, with the 11th most extensive total area, and is the largest state by total area east of the Mississippi River. Its capital is Lansing, and its largest city is Detroit. Metro Detroit is among the nation's most populous and largest metropolitan economies.

In 1987 Wolterstorff published Lament for a Son after the untimely death of his 25-year-old son Eric in a mountain climbing accident. In a series of short essays, Wolterstorff recounts how he drew on his Christian faith to cope with his grief. Wolterstorff explained that he published the book “in the hope that it will be of help to some of those who find themselves with us in the company of mourners.” [6]

He has been a visiting professor at Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University, Oxford University, University of Notre Dame, University of Texas, University of Michigan, Temple University, the Free University of Amsterdam (Vrije Universiteit), and the University of Virginia. In 2007, he received an Honorary Doctorate in Philosophy from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. [7] He has been retired since June 2002.

Harvard University Private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with about 6,700 undergraduate students and about 15,250 postgraduate students. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning. Its history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Princeton University University in Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton University is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The institution moved to Newark in 1747, then to the current site nine years later, and renamed itself Princeton University in 1896.

University of Notre Dame Private Catholic university in Notre Dame, Indiana, United States

The University of Notre Dame du Lac is a private Catholic research university in Notre Dame, Indiana. The main campus covers 1,261 acres (510 ha) in a suburban setting and it contains a number of recognizable landmarks, such as the Golden Dome, the Word of Life mural, the Notre Dame Stadium, and the Basilica. The school was founded on November 26, 1842, by Edward Sorin, who was also its first president.

Wolterstorff published his memoir with William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. in 2019, illustrating the close relationship between his personal life and his distinguished academic career. [8]

Memoir type of autobiographical or biographical writing

A memoir is a collection of memories that an individual writes about moments or events, both public or private, that took place in the subject's/person’s life. The assertions made in the work are understood to be factual. While memoir has historically been defined as a subcategory of biography or autobiography since the late 20th century, the genre is differentiated in form, presenting a narrowed focus. A biography or autobiography tells the story "of a life", while a memoir often tells a story "from a life", such as touchstone events and turning points from the author's life. The author of a memoir may be referred to as a memoirist or a memorialist.

Professional distinctions

University of Virginia University in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

The University of Virginia is a public research university in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was founded in 1819 by Declaration of Independence author Thomas Jefferson. It is known for its historic foundations, student-run honor code, and secret societies. UVA is the flagship university of Virginia and home to Jefferson's Academical Village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Endowed lectureships

Personal life

Nicholas Wolterstorff lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with his wife Claire. He has four grown children. His oldest son died in a mountain climbing accident at age 25. He has seven grandchildren.

Thought

While an undergraduate at Calvin College, Wolterstorff was greatly influenced by professors William Harry Jellema, Henry Stob and Henry Zylstra, who introduced him to schools of thought that have dominated his mature thinking: Reformed theology and common sense philosophy. (These have also influenced the thinking of his friend and colleague Alvin Plantinga, another alumnus of Calvin College.)

Wolterstorff builds upon the ideas of the Scottish common sense philosopher Thomas Reid, who approached knowledge "from the bottom-up". Instead of reasoning about transcendental conditions of knowledge, Wolterstorff suggests that knowledge and our knowing faculties are not the subject of our research but have to be seen as its starting point. He rejects classical foundationalism and instead sees knowledge as based upon insights in reality which are direct and indubitable. [4]

Bibliography

Selected writings

Secondary

See also

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References

  1. Wolterstorff, Nicholas (November 2007). "A Life in Philosophy". Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association. 81 (2). JSTOR   27653995.
  2. 1 2 "Nicholas Wolterstorff". religiousstudies.yale.edu. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  3. Forrest, Peter (2017). Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2017 ed.). Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University.
  4. 1 2 3 "Nicholas Wolterstorff". The Gifford Lectures. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  5. "6 Questions with Nicholas Wolterstorff". EerdWord (publisher blog). Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  6. "Lament for a Son". Eerdmans. Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  7. "Honorary doctorates", Top researchers, NL: VU.
  8. "In This World of Wonders". Eerdmans. Retrieved 2019-05-15.