Brandom Wins $300,000 Maier Research Award

Issue Date: 
January 26, 2015

Robert Brandom, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and a fellow in Pitt’s Center for the Philosophy of Science, has won a 2015 Anneliese Maier Research Award, presented by Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Robert Brandom

The award carries with it a prize of 250,000 Euros, or about $300,000, and recognizes researchers “from abroad from the fields of the humanities and social sciences whose scientific achievements have been internationally recognized in their research area.”

Brandom explained that researchers do not apply for academic awards like the Humboldt. Instead, winners are selected by a committee. 

“The awards are, in effect, lotteries for which one buys the ticket with one’s life’s work. Their meaning does not consist in the recognition they accord—agreeable as that is—but rather in what good one can do with them,” Brandom said.

To that end, he added, he will use a significant portion of the prize to support the rising generation of philosophical researchers. Some money will help fund a year’s study at the University of Leipzig for one of his Pitt doctoral students. In addition, several German postdocs from Berlin will come to Pitt’s Department of Philosophy for one year to study and enrich its PhD program. 

Brandom has dedicated his career to exploring the philosophy of language, the mind, and  logic, as well as German idealism and neo-pragmatism. Among his notable books are Making It Explicit and Between Saying and Doing: Towards an Analytic Pragmatism.

Brandom has taught at Pitt since 1976. In 2004, he won the  $1.5 million A.W. Mellon Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities Award. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000.