Peter Lipton

On this date in 1954, Peter Lipton was born in New York, N.Y. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1976 with a degree in philosophy and physics, and gained a doctorate in philosophy from New College in Oxford in 1985. Lipton was particularly interested in the philosophy of science and religion. He was a professor of the History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge University from 1997 to 2007 and head of the department for over 10 years. He previously worked as an assistant professor at Williams College from 1985 to 1990 and an assistant research professor at Clark University from 1982 to 1985. Lipton is most famous for his book Inference to the Best Explanation (1991), which explores the idea of the best explanation being the one that best fits the evidence. He was the Medawar Prize Lecturer of the Royal Society in 2004. Lipton married Diana Warner in 1984 and they have two sons.

Lipton was culturally Jewish and considered himself to be a “religious atheist,” according to his Dec. 17, 2007 Telegraph obituary. D. 2007

“It’s irrational to fear what death will feel like if you know it won’t feel like anything, but it doesn’t follow that it is irrational to fear death. It’s not irrational to look forward to the pleasures of living, and if we know that death will take these away, the fear of losing those pleasures doesn’t seem irrational either.”

—Peter Lipton, quoted in The Telegraph, Dec. 17, 2007.

Compiled by Sabrina Gaylor

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