Emily Grosholz awarded Fernando Gil International Prize in Philosophy of Science

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Emily Grosholz, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Philosophy, English, and African American Studies at Penn State, has been named the 2017 recipient of the Fernando Gil International Prize in Philosophy of Science.

The prize — awarded jointly every two years by the Portuguese government (represented by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation — recognizes a work of particular excellence in philosophy of science that has been published by a researcher of any nationality or professional affiliation in the past five years. The Portuguese government created the award following Fernando Gil’s death in 2006 to honor his legacy and contributions in the development of philosophical and scientific knowledge in Portugal.

Grosholz received the award for her book, “Starry Reckoning: Reference and Analysis in Mathematics and Cosmology” (Springer 2016), in which she argues that mathematics and science benefit from productive ambiguity — particularly when discourses apt for reference and discourses apt for analysis (a term she borrows from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz as the search for conditions of intelligibility) interact. Her philosophical thesis in the book is developed through historical case studies involving number theory and formal logic, and astronomy and cosmology, tracked from the early modern period to today. “Starry Reckoning” builds on Grosholz’ work in her previous books, “Cartesian Method and the Problem of Reduction” (Oxford University Press 1991), and “Representation and Productive Ambiguity in Mathematics and the Sciences” (Oxford University Press 2007).

A member of the Penn State faculty since 1979, Grosholz is also a faculty affiliate in the Center for Fundamental Theory in the Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos at Penn State. She earned her bachelor’s degree in ideas and methods from the University of Chicago and her doctorate in philosophy from Yale University.

A former Guggenheim Fellow, Grosholz has also received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Humboldt Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies; she also received a Research in Paris Grant in 2011. She has been a member of the editorial board of the Journal of the History of Ideas since 1998 and Studia Leibnitiana since 2002.

Also a poet and literary critic, Grosholz has served as an advisory editor for the Hudson Review since 1984. “The Stars of Earth: New and Selected Poems” was published by Word Galaxy Press in 2017, and “Great Circles: the Transits of Mathematics and Poetry” is forthcoming from Springer in 2018.

Grosholz will receive her award and deliver a lecture during a ceremony at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, Portugal, on April 9. She will preside over a workshop at the foundation on April 10 and offer other seminars in Lisbon later in the week.

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Last Updated January 17, 2018