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May 19: Wilfried Sieg Named Suppes Professor of Philosophy


Kelli McElhinny                       

Carnegie Mellon Professor Wilfried Sieg
Named Suppes Professor of Philosophy

Wilfried SiegPITTSBURGH—Wilfried Sieg, a professor in Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Philosophy, has been named the school's first Patrick Suppes Professor of Philosophy. One of the three faculty members who started Carnegie Mellon's Philosophy Department in 1985, Sieg is an accomplished scholar whose work has explored disciplines ranging from proof theory and computer-assisted education to the history and philosophy of mathematics.

Along with his colleagues Teddy Seidenfeld, the Herbert A. Simon Professor of Philosophy, and Statistics and Alumni University Professor Clark Glymour, Sieg helped to create a department that today is widely recognized as a leader in the philosophy of mathematics and science as well as related fields, such as mathematical logic and decision theory.

"Wilfried Sieg is an internationally acclaimed scholar, particularly in proof theory," said John Lehoczky, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (H&SS). "Moreover, during his tenure as the head of the Department of Philosophy, he championed interdisciplinary research and education, and he played a leadership role in the development of the innovative H&SS general education program."

Sieg, who served as department head from 1994 to 2005, is also the founder and co-director of the department's Laboratory for Symbolic and Educational Computing (LSEC), which applies concepts from philosophy, mathematics and computer science to research involving logic and causal and statistical reasoning. For example, Sieg has developed a computer program that can automate the process of developing a logical argument and prompt students with suggestions and advice as they attempt to construct a proof. LSEC resources are also used to develop online coursework in its focus areas.

The professorship's funder, Patrick Suppes, is the Lucie Stern Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, at Stanford University, where he was director of the Institute for Mathematical Studies in the Social Sciences. He has a longstanding relationship with Sieg, who worked at the Institute during his final two years of graduate school before earning his doctorate in philosophy, mathematical logic and foundations of mathematics.

Additionally, throughout his own career, Suppes has demonstrated a commitment to an interdisciplinary approach to his research, which has explored such diverse areas as the foundations of physics, the theories of measurement, decision theory, the foundations of probability and causality, the foundations of psychology, the philosophy of language, education and computers, and philosophy and science. Suppes, a former member of the Department of Philosophy's advisory board, received an honorary doctorate in science and technology at Carnegie Mellon's 2008 commencement ceremony.


Pictured above is Wilfried Sieg.