Peter Lipton

On this date in 1954, Peter Lipton was born in New York City. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1976 with a degree in philosophy and physics and earned 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 headed the department for over 10 years. He previously worked as an assistant professor at Williams College from 1985-90 and an assistant research professor at Clark University from 1982-85.

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 had two sons, Jonah and Jacob.

Lipton was culturally Jewish and considered himself to be a “religious atheist,” according to his obituary in The Telegraph. He died of a heart attack at age 53 after playing squash. (D. 2007)

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