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>  News Releases >   2007 >   November

Mellon Emeritus Fellowship awarded to Dartmouth professor

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 11/12/07 • Susan Knapp • (603) 646-3661

Robert Fogelin
Robert Fogelin (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Dartmouth's Sherman Fairchild Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus, Robert Fogelin, has been awarded an Emeritus Fellowship by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support his ongoing work in philosophy. Fogelin is currently writing a book titled Pyrrhonian Reflections on Meaning and Truth, a companion to his book Pyrrhonian Reflections on Knowledge and Justification, published in 1994 (Oxford University Press).

Fogelin, author of a dozen books and scores of articles, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005. Several of his works explore themes through the lens of Pyrrhonism, a radical form of ancient skepticism that called into question all the systems of philosophy existing at the time. In his latest books, Fogelin explores Neo-Pyrrhonism, an examination of the results of applying updated versions of these ancient skeptical methods to the current philosophical scene.

In addition to supporting extensive reading and research on the topic, Fogelin's award will allow him the freedom to travel and meet with other philosophers and graduate students as a visiting scholar at New York University and the University of California at Berkeley.

In his proposal to the Mellon Foundation, Fogelin says, "Scholars who command the literature in a particular area are a far better source of bibliographical information than computer search-engines."

Fogelin believes that intense conversations help develop the depth and nuance of an argument.

His proposal goes on to say, "Unsubstantiated ideas have a short half-life in philosophical conversations. Ideas that survive such conversations have a soundness to them often missing from the products of solitary contemplation. I have found stimulation of this kind is essential to my work."

Pyrrhonian Reflections on Meaning and Truth will delve into theories of meaning, a dominant interest among modern philosophers, according to Fogelin.

"The governing thought seems to be something like this," states his proposal. "If we could get a proper account of meaning, then philosophical problems could be resolved in a systematic way; without such a theory, everything remains a muddle. ... I think that the whole notion of a theory of meaning is deeply flawed."

The Mellon Emeritus Fellowship program, established in 2004, recognizes scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who are retired but continue to pursue research opportunities.

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