Ruth Millikan, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Connecticut, is the winner of the 2017 Nicholas Rescher Prize for Systematic Philosophy. The prize “is intended to counter present-day tendencies to narrow specialization by rewarding and showcasing the work of philosophers who have addressed the historical ‘big questions’ of the field in ways that nevertheless command the respect of specialists.”
The prize announcement states:
In a series of influential articles and books, Ruth Millikan has developed a remarkable body of work spanning the philosophy of language, the philosophy of mind, epistemology, ontology, and their interconnections with the philosophical foundations of the biological and psychological sciences. Central to her project is the systematic development of a deeply influential treatment of thought and meaning as biologically and historically situated categories. Drawing on evolutionary theory, Professor Millikan showed how to conceive of the representational properties of mind and language in terms of biological function, in the process clarifying, expanding, and deepening our understanding of a range of evolutionary concepts. This trailblazing work exemplifies a reconceptualization of philosophy as not merely informed by, or informing, the natural sciences, but as fully continuous with them.
The prize is awarded biennially and consists of a gold medal and $30,000. The awards ceremony will be held in October, 2017.