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Hilary Kornblith

Distinguished Professor

kornblith@philos.umass.edu

(413) 545-5787

Personal website


E311 South College

Hilary Kornblith received his BA from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1975, and his PhD from Cornell University in 1980.  He taught for twenty-four years at the University of Vermont before coming to UMass in 2003.  He has taught as a Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan, and as Guest Professor at the University of Cologne in Germany, and Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China.

The central focus of Professor Kornblith’s research has been on the ways in which a scientific understanding of how the mind works can shed light on traditional problems in the theory of knowledge and related areas.  Philosophical views about the nature of knowledge have always been influenced by assumptions about the workings of the human mind.  Work in the cognitive sciences shows, however, that the assumptions about the mind which inform a good deal of philosophical work, not only from the distant past, but even in much contemporary theorizing, are badly mistaken.  It is thus especially important to bring these assumptions to the fore, and to show how a proper understanding of the mind can revise and improve our philosophical theorizing.  Kornblith’s work has addressed issues about inductive inference; differences and similarities between human and non-human animal cognition; the value (and disvalue) of reflecting on various features of our mental life; and proper methodology in philosophy.

Publications

  • Inductive Inference and its Natural Ground, MIT Press, 1993.
  • Knowledge and its Place in Nature, Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • On Reflection, Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • A Naturalistic Epistemology: Selected Papers, Oxford University Press, 2014.