NYU s Thomas Nagel Wins 2008 Balzan Prize for Work in Moral Philosophy

New York University Professor Thomas Nagel, whose research centers on political philosophy, ethics, and philosophy of mind, has been awarded a 2008 Balzan Prize for his work in moral philosophy. The prize, one of four given every year by the International Balzan Prize Foundation, honors scholars, artists, and scientists who are international leaders in the humanities and sciences, and carries a cash award of $885,000 (1 million Swiss Francs).

Other winners of the 2008 Balzan Prize are: Maurizio Calvesi, a professor at the Universita di Roma, for “Visual Arts Since 1700”; Ian H. Frazer, director of Australia’s Diamantina Institute for Cancer, Immunology, and Metabolic Medicine at the University of Queensland, for “Preventive Medicine”; and Wallace S. Broecker, a professor at Columbia University, for “Science of Climate Change”. Italian President Giorgio Napolitano will deliver the prizes to the winners in a ceremony on November 21 at the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome.

Nagel received the prize “for his fundamental and innovative contributions to contemporary ethical theory, relating to both individual, personal choices and collective, social decisions,” said Salvatore Veca, vice chairman of the Institute for Advanced Study and a member of the Balzan Prize Committee.

Nagel, who holds appointments at NYU’s School of Law and in the university’s philosophy department, is a University Professor at NYU, a title conferred upon outstanding scholars in recognition of the interdisciplinary dimension and breadth of their work. His published works include The Possibility of Altruism (Oxford, 1970, reprinted Princeton, 1978), Mortal Questions (Cambridge, 1979), The View From Nowhere (Oxford, 1986), What Does It All Mean? (Oxford, 1987), Equality and Partiality (Oxford, 1991), Other Minds (Oxford, 1995), The Last Word (Oxford, 1997), The Myth of Ownership: Taxes and Justice, co-authored with Liam Murphy (Oxford, 2002), and Concealment and Exposure (Oxford, 2002).

A 2008 recipient of Sweden’s Schock Prize for his scholarship in logic and philosophy, Nagel is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the British Academy, a member of the American Philosophical Society, and a past winner of the Mellon Foundation’s Distinguished Achievement Award. He has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Earlier this year, he received an Honorary D.Litt from Oxford University. Nagel obtained his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1958, his B.Phil. from Oxford University in 1960, and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1963. Nagel had previously been an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a professor of philosophy at Princeton University.

The International Balzan Prize Foundation was founded in 1957. The Balzan Prize aims to foster culture, the sciences, and meritorious initiatives in the cause of humanity, peace, and brotherhood throughout the world.

For more information about the Balzan Prize, go to: http://www.balzan.com.

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