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NYU’s Nagel One of Four to Receive Mellon Foundation’s Distinguished Achievement Award


NYU Philosophy Professor Thomas Nagel, whose research centers on political philosophy, ethics, and philosophy of mind, has received a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Mellon Foundation. The award, up to $1.5 million over three years, is “intended to recognize a small number of scholars in the humanities whose work has been of the highest caliber,” according to the New York-based foundation.

Professor Thomas Nagel
Professor Thomas Nagel

New York University Philosophy Professor Thomas Nagel, whose research centers on political philosophy, ethics, and philosophy of mind, has received a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Mellon Foundation. The award, up to $1.5 million over three years, is “intended to recognize a small number of scholars in the humanities whose work has been of the highest caliber,” according to the New York-based foundation.

This year’s other recipients are the following: Timothy Clark, a professor of modern art at the University of California, Berkeley; Harvard University Professor Stephen Owen, a scholar of Chinese literature; and Yale University Professor Joseph Roach, whose expertise is in the history and theory of theater, dramatic literature, and performance studies.

In its announcement, the Foundation said that Nagel, who has been at NYU since 1980, “has shown how careful philosophical thought can contribute to the consideration of important public issues.”

Nagel’s published works include the following: 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). He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the British Academy, and has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Nagel is a University Professor at NYU, a title conferred upon outstanding scholars in recognition of the interdisciplinary dimension and breadth of their work. He 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. He is also currently a professor at NYU’s School of Law.


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