Hartry Field

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Hartry Field
Born30 November 1946
Alma mater
Mathematical fictionalism, epistemic rejectionism[1]

Hartry H. Field (born November 30, 1946) is an American philosopher. He is Silver Professor of Philosophy at New York University; he is a notable contributor to philosophy of science, philosophy of mathematics, epistemology, and philosophy of mind.

Early life and education

Hartry Hamlin Field was born on November 30, 1946 in Boston, Massachusetts, to Adelaide (née Anderson) and Donald Field.[2] Field earned a B.A. in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1967 and an M.A. in philosophy from Harvard University in 1968.[3] He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard in 1972 under the direction of Hilary Putnam and Richard Boyd.[4]

Academic career

He taught first at

NYU faculty in 1997,[2][4] where he is currently Silver Professor of Philosophy.[5]

Field was elected Fellow of the

Lakatos Prize in 1986.[2][6] He delivered the 2008 John Locke Lectures at the University of Oxford.[3][7] In 2012, he was appointed Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Birmingham in the UK.[8]

Philosophical work

Field's first work was a commentary on

Journal of Philosophy, 70(14): 462–481), in which he introduced the concept of partial denotation

In the 1980s, Field started a project in the

mathematical fictionalism, the doctrine that all mathematical statements are merely useful fictions, and should not be taken to be literally true. More precisely, Field aimed to produce reconstructions of science that would remove all reference to mathematical entities, hence showing that mathematics is dispensable to science in opposition to the Quine–Putnam indispensability argument.[9]

Much of his current work is in semantic paradoxes. In 2008, he gave the John Locke Lectures, entitled "Logic, Normativity, and Rational Revisability".[10]


  • Science Without Numbers, Blackwell, 1980
  • Realism, Mathematics and Modality, Blackwell, 1989
  • Truth and the Absence of Fact, Oxford University Press 2001
  • Saving Truth from Paradox, Oxford University Press, 2008

See also


  1. ^ The rejectionist position rejects implicit definitions that involve existential commitments—see Bob Hale and Crispin Wright, The Reason's Proper Study, Oxford University Press, 2001, p. 355.
  2. ^ .
  3. ^ a b "Hartry Field". Chinese University of Hong Kong. 2012. Retrieved 2023-10-09.
  4. ^ a b Leeds, Stephen (2006). "Field, Hartry". In Borchert, David (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2nd ed.). Macmillan Publishers. pp. 633–634 – via Encyclopedia.com.
  5. ^ "Hartry Field". New York University. Retrieved 2023-10-09.
  6. ^ "1986 Lakatos Award". London School of Economics. 1987-09-15. Retrieved 2023-10-09.
  7. ^ "The John Locke Lectures". University of Oxford. Retrieved 2023-10-09.
  8. ^ "Seven new Distinguished Research Professors in Philosophy". University of Birmingham. December 21, 2012. Retrieved 2023-10-09.
  9. ^ Yablo, Stephen. "Does Ontology Rest on a Mistake?", Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 72.1 (1998), p. 231.
  10. ^ John Locke Lectures. Archived 2008-10-21 at the Wayback Machine - Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford

External links