University of Pittsburgh

Early History



A late 1970’s gathering. Left to right, seated: Gerald Massey, Adolf Grünbaum, Carl Hempel, Larry Laudan; standing: Elizabeth McMunn, Allen Janis, Peter Machamer, Kurt Baier, Ted McGuire, Wilfrid Sellars, Nicholas Rescher, James Greeno, Roy Porter.


HPS at Pitt began life as an interdisciplinary graduate program in 1969, following the appointment of Prof. Laurens Laudan to the Department of History.

In 1970, a group of faculty members from both the philosophy and history departments submitted a prospectus for the founding of HPS as an autonomous department.

Their proposal was approved by Chancellor Wesley Posvar in June 1971. In the words of Provost Charles Peake, the department was established, “to provide a high quality complementary program to the distinguished program in the philosophy of science not only to maintain but also to strengthen [the University’s] distinguished position in the philosophy of science.”


The founding members of HPS in the Fall 1971 were:

Primary faculty
Larry Laudan and Ted McGuire, newly hired from the University of Leeds, UK.


Carl Hempel and Ted McGuire, 1984

Secondary faculty
Robert Colodny (Dept. of History), with Alan Anderson, W.W. Bartley, Nuel Belnap, Adolf Grünbaum, Gerald Massey, Nicholas Rescher, and Wilfrid Sellars (Dept. of Philosophy).

Laudan and McGuire were joined shortly afterwards by Jon Hodge, Ken Schaffner and Peter Machamer. Jim Lennox joined the department in 1977.




Adolf Grünbaum and Nicholas Rescher

Ken Schaffner and Barbara Boylan

Peter Machamer and Ron Giere