UA Philosopher Honored

University Communications
Oct. 10, 2005

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has included a University of Arizona philosophy professor in its newest class of fellows.

Keith E. Lehrer, Regents' Professor Emeritus at the UA, will be inducted as a member of the class of 2005. The Academy's 225th class also includes Nobel physicist Eric Cornell, Harvard Law Dean Elena Kagan and television journalist Tom Brokaw.

This year's class also includes, among others, Rudiger Wehner, a researcher who showed how the eyes and brains of honeybees use the sky for navigation; Edith Flanigen, a pioneer in molecular chemistry who invented more than 200 synthetic materials; Christopher Donnan, the leading authority on Peru's oldest pre-Hispanic state; William Bridges, the inventor of the Argon laser; Steven Squyers, the principal investigator for the Mars Exploration Rovers; Academy Award-winning screenwriter Horton Foote; Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman; Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin; Ann Moore, chairman and CEO of Time, Inc.; and Donald Graham, chairman and CEO of the Washington Post Company.

Lehrer also is a fellow of the National Science Foundation and belongs to a host of other professional organizations. His research and writing delves into epistemology, the study of the origin and limits of knowledge, and he is a leading proponent of a coherence theory of knowledge that seeks to explain what it means to know in a characteristically human way. Lehrer's book, "Why Not Skepticism?," is used in many introductory philosophy courses as a coherent and readable introduction to the subject.

After the induction ceremony in Washington, Lehrer will head to the University of Graz in Austria for a speaking engagement. An accomplished artist as well, Lehrer also will host an exhibit of paintings at that school's library. More information is available online (and in German) at

The 196 fellows and 17 foreign honorary members who make up the American Academy's 225th class are leaders in scholarship, business, the arts and public affairs. They come from 26 states and 10 countries and include Nobel and Pulitzer Prize laureates, MacArthur and Guggenheim fellows. A complete list of new members is available on the Academy's website at:

New Fellows and Honorary Foreign Members are nominated and elected by current members of the Academy. Members are divided into five broad classes: mathematics and physical sciences; biological sciences; social sciences; humanities and the arts; and public affairs, business and administration.

Founded in 1780, the 4,600-member American Academy of Arts and Sciences, based in Cambridge, Mass., is an independent research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. Current Academy research focuses on science and global security, social policy, the humanities and culture, and education. Its 4,600 elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business and public affairs from around the world.


Resources for the media

Paul Karoff
Keith Lehrer
UA philosophy dept.