Philip P. Wiener
|Died||April 5, 1992 (aged 86)|
|Alma mater||City College of New York BS University of Southern California PhD|
|History of ideas, history and philosophy of science|
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.
Wiener was born Philip Paul Wiener in New York City on July 8, 1905. 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.
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 and on Charles Sanders Peirce, being present at a 1946 meeting during which the Charles S. Peirce Society was established. 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 and edited that journal for many years until a few years before his retirement. 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". The Journal, which is still published, has promoted the "interdisciplinary" approach since its beginning, an uncommon focus in earlier decades that is now "commonplace".
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".
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.
Wiener was married to Gertrude Schler Wierner (died 1984).
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. and was survived by his two children, Marjorie Wiener and Leonard Wiener.
See also: Writings of Professor Philip P. Wiener.