<p>Paul Guyer, one of the world’s pre-eminent historians of philosophy, has been named the inaugural Jonathan Nelson Professor at Brown University. The Nelson Professorship recognizes faculty members in any discipline whose excellence in scholarship and teaching places them among the world’s best in their area. Guyer will begin his work at Brown in July 2012.</p>

Paul Guyer: The Jonathan Nelson Professorof Humanities and Philosophy
Paul Guyer The Jonathan Nelson Professor
of Humanities and Philosophy
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Paul Guyer, one of the world’s leading scholars of Immanuel Kant, currently professor of philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, has been appointed as the inaugural Nelson Professor at Brown University. Guyer will begin his position in July 2012.

The Nelson professorships, established by the Corporation of Brown University in February 2011, recognize faculty members in any discipline whose excellence in scholarship and teaching places them among the world’s best in their area. It is also the first faculty appointment of the recently announced Humanities Initiative.

“The appointment of Paul Guyer as the Jonathan Nelson Professor of Humanities and Philosophy emphasizes the high priority we are placing at Brown on humanities scholarship and teaching that focuses on questions of fundamental importance to the questions of knowledge, moral theory, and aesthetics,” said Kevin McLaughlin, dean of the faculty. “Guyer has been recognized internationally as a leading scholar and interpreter of Kant and of Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment philosophy. The high level of collaboration that has marked Guyer’s work as an editor and translator as well as a scholar and teacher is indicative of the importance we are placing on this aspect of the humanities.”

Currently the Florence R.C. Murray Professor in the Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania, Guyer has received numerous awards, fellowships, and other honors for his scholarly achievements, including two National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, a Guggenheim fellowship, a Rockefeller fellowship at the Princeton University Center for Human Value, and a research prize from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He also received the Machette Prize from the American Philosophical Association and the Centennial Medal of the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Guyer has served on many national panels and boards and is a fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1999. He was also awarded the presidency of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association for 2011 (an honor reserved by their peers for a very few scholars of exceptional distinction) and the presidency of the American Society for Aesthetics for 2011-13.

Guyer is the author of nine books and more than 200 articles and is the editor of several volumes encompassing a wide range of topics from ethical theory and aesthetics to the philosophy of mind. Guyer is also co-editor of the Cambridge Edition of Kant’s Writings in English Translation, for which he produced new annotated translations of four of Kant’s works.

Guyer is one of the most highly regarded philosophical figures in the world today, and his work has been translated into many languages, including German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, Serbian, and Turkish. Guyer’s focus is on fundamental questions that inform key questions of reflection, research, and intellectual debate across the university. Do our ordinary perceptions and the science devoted to their study give us a representation of some independent reality or a useful framework to cope with our environment? Are our values objectively real or expressions of subjective attitudes? Such questions are at the heart of the university’s mission to foster the critical examination of our relation to the world.

Nelson Professorship

Awarded by recommendation of the deans and provost to the president for ultimate approval by the Corporation, the highly prestigious Nelson Professorships are the gift of Jonathan Nelson, a 1977 graduate of the Department of Economics and lead donor of the Nelson Fitness Center, for the purpose of “making sure that Brown continues to have access to the finest scholars on a global basis well into the future.” Nelson Professors are encouraged especially to work in interdisciplinary areas that are generating innovative scholarship and teaching.

As the Jonathan Nelson Professor of Humanities and Philosophy, Guyer will lead a series of special interdisciplinary seminars and colloquia at the Cogut Center for the Humanities while also teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in the Department of Philosophy.

Humanities Initiative

Announced in 2010 and supported by a $3-million gift, Brown’s Humanities Initiative is designed to help the University achieve new levels of collaboration and undertake academic initiatives of international significance. The Initiative has two main components: hiring six new professors of humanities and establishing an endowed Humanities Research and Teaching Fund to award support for collaborative scholarly projects proposed by Brown faculty.