Philip P. Wiener
Born(1905-07-08)July 8, 1905
New York City, New York, United States
DiedApril 5, 1992(1992-04-05) (aged 86)
Asheville, North Carolina, United States
Alma materCity College of New York BS

Columbia University MA

University of Southern California PhD
RegionWestern philosophy
Main interests
History of ideas, history and philosophy of science
Notable ideas

Philip P. Wiener (July 8, 1905 – April 5, 1992) was an American philosopher who was a specialist on Pragmatism, Charles S. Pierce, Leibnitz, the history and philosophy of science, and the history of ideas. He co-founded the Journal of the History of Ideas.[1][2][3]

Early life and education

Wiener was born Philip Paul Wiener in New York City on July 8, 1905.[2] After graduating with a BS from City College of New York and an MA from Columbia University, he studied philosophy at the University of Southern California, receiving a PhD in 1931.

Academic career

In 1933 Wiener was appointed as a professor of philosophy at City College of New York and in 1968 he moved to Temple University, Philadelphia where he taught philosophy until his retirement in 1972.

Wiener was an authority on Pragmatism[3] and on Charles Sanders Peirce, being present at a 1946 meeting during which the Charles S. Peirce Society was established.[4] He was also greatly interested in the philosophy of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, in Morris Raphael Cohen and in Pierre Duhem, and devoted much attention to the history and philosophy of science and to the developing discipline of the history of ideas.

In collaboration with Arthur Oncken Lovejoy he co-founded the Journal of the History of Ideas in 1940[5] and edited that journal for many years until a few years before his retirement.[3] The Journal appeared during a period when academic disciplines were "rigidly distinct" from each other and it published "papers that involved more than one field or that presented matters of interest to more than one field".[1] The Journal, which is still published, has promoted the "interdisciplinary" approach since its beginning, an uncommon focus in earlier decades that is now "commonplace".[1]

Wiener was the editor-in-chief of the multi-volume Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Studies of Selected Pivotal Ideas (1972), whose 320 articles ranged from "abstraction" to "zeitgeist". In its preface, Wiener argued that while "specialized departments of learning" were necessary, the historian of ideas had a contribution to make by "tracing the cultural roots and historical ramifications of the major and minor specialized concerns of the mind".[1]

He translated a number of works from French including Nicod's Foundations of Geometry and Induction and Duhem's The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory.

Personal life

Wiener was married to Gertrude Schler Wierner (died 1984).[3]

In his final year Wiener lived in Asheville, North Carolina.

He died on April 5, 1992 at the age of 86 in the Memorial Mission Hospital in Asheville.[3] and was survived by his two children, Marjorie Wiener and Leonard Wiener.



See also: Writings of Professor Philip P. Wiener.

Articles and papers

See also: List of further articles and papers on Google Scholar.


  1. ^ a b c d Sidney Axinn, "Wiener, Philip Paul (1905-92)", in: John R. Shook, ed., Dictionary Of Modern American Philosophers, Bristol: Thoemmes, 2005. Retrieved 17 July 2005.
  2. ^ a b "Philip Paul Wiener, Professor, 86", The New York Times, Obituaries, 8 April 1992. Retrieved 10 September 1992.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Philip P. Wiener", Asheville Citizen-Times, 6 April 1992, p. 10.
  4. ^ History | The Charles S. Peirce Society, Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  5. ^ Arthur Oncken Lovejoy, Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  6. ^ "Review: G. W. v. Leibniz, Philip P. Wiener, Selections", in: Journal of Symbolic Logic, Volume 16, Issue 4 (1951), pp. 285-286. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  7. ^ Henry Guerlac, Review of "Ideas That Broke Down Barriers; ROOTS OF SCIENTIFIC THOUGHT: A Cultural Perspective. Edited by Philip P. Wiener and Aaron Noland. 677 pp. New York: Basic Books. $8.", The New York Times, January 12, 1958, Section BR, p. 20. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  8. ^ J.K.F., Review of "Ideas and Men; EVOLUTION AND THE FOUNDERS OF PRAGMATISM. By Philip P. Wiener. Foreword by John Dewey. 288 pp. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. $5.", The New York Times, October 30, 1949, Section BR, p. 44. Retrieved 18 July 2020.

Further reading