Pitt’s Mark L. Wilson Elected a 2007 Fellow of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Issue Date: 
May 14, 2007

Mark L. Wilson, Pitt Professor of Philosophy, director of graduate studies, and fellow of Pitt’s Center for Philosophy of Science, has been elected a 2007 Fellow of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is among 227 scholars; scientists; artists; and civic, corporate, and philanthropic leaders from 27 states and
13 countries to be chosen.

Of the 203 new fellows and 24 new foreign honorary members to be named, Wilson is being honored along with former Vice President Albert Gore Jr., former Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Google chair and CEO Eric Schmidt, New York Times investigative correspondent James Risen, filmmaker Spike Lee, economists Gregory Mankiw and Murray Weidenbaum, Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter, pianist Emanuel Ax, and historian Nell Painter.

Prior to joining Pitt in 1998, Wilson was a professor at Ohio State University. Before that, he was an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and an assistant and associate professor at the University of California at San Diego.

Wilson investigates the manner in which physical and mathematical concerns become entangled with issues characteristic of metaphysics and philosophy of language, and his book on the subject is Wandering Significance: An Essay on Conceptual Behavior (Oxford University Press, 2006). He is the author of more than 50 articles, including “Predicate Meets Property,” in The Philosophical Review, 1982; “Can We Trust Logical Form?” Journal of Philosophy XCI, 1994; “The Unreasonable Uncooperativeness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences,” The Monist, 2000; “Theory Facades,” Proceedings of the Aristotlean Society, 2004; and “Ghost Points: A Context for Frege’s Context Principle” in Erich Reck and Michael Beaney (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Frege (Routledge, 2006).

In addition, Wilson has produced nearly 100 CDs and LPs, mainly on the Rounder label, and edits the North American Traditions Series for Rounder Records (www.rounder.com/rounder/nat). This past fall he issued a four-CD set of recordings from Kentucky on the Musical Traditions label titled Meeting’s a Pleasure: Folk Songs of the Upper South. He also is completing a large set of recordings titled Traditional Fiddle Music of Cape Breton for Rounder.

Among Wilson’s many honors are Woodrow Wilson, National Science Foundation, and Harvard Prize Fellowships. He also was a fellow at the Institute for the Humanities-UIC and at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences as well as a recipient of a National Science Foundation grant.

Wilson received a BA degree from the University of Washington in 1969 and a PhD degree from Harvard University in 1976.

Represented among the newly elected members are 70 universities, including seven presidents or chancellors; more than a dozen corporations; as well as museums, research institutes, media outlets, and foundations.

Seven other Pitt faculty members are among the academy’s current approximately 4,000 American Fellows and 600 foreign honorary members. They are Thomas B. Starzl, transplant pioneer and Distinguished Service Professor of Surgery, elected to the academy in 1971; Adolf Grünbaum, Andrew Mellon Professor of Philosophy and cochair of the Center for Philosophy of Science, 1976; John Henry McDowell, University Professor of Philosophy, 1992; John S. Earman, University Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science, 1993; Robert Brandom, Distinguished Service Professor of Philosophy, 2000; Peter L. Strick, professor of neurobiology and psychiatry and codirector of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, 2004; and Anil K. Gupta, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, professor of history and philosophy of science, and a fellow of Pitt’s Center for Philosophy of Science, 2006.

Founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock, and other scholar-patriots, the academy has elected as fellows and foreign honorary members the finest minds and most influential leaders from each generation, including George Washington and Ben Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th century, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the 20th century. The current membership includes more than 170 Nobel laureates and 50 Pulitzer Prize winners. An independent policy research center, the academy undertakes studies of complex and emerging problems. Current academy research focuses on science and global security, social policy, the humanities and culture, and education.