Jan 052010

Stephen Toulmin died last month. He studied with Wittgenstein and was a reader, with Kolakowski, of Phil’s dissertation. Toulmin was probably best known for his 1958 book, The Uses of Argument, and for his seminal work on the philosophy of science. In a long and distinguished career, he taught at Oxford, Melbourne, Leeds, Brandeis, Columbia, Michigan State, Chicago, Northwestern, and USC. Here is the NYT obituary.

All three of us have been greatly influenced by a book that Toulmin wrote with Allan Janik in 1973 called Wittgenstein’s Vienna. A fasci­nating account of Viennese culture at the turn of the century, it is an indispensable book that everyone should read.

In 1997 Toulmin was honored by the NEH with the Jefferson Lecture.

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