Solomon Feferman
Solomon Feferman at the Association of Symbolic Logic, Pittsburgh, May 2004
Born(1928-12-13)December 13, 1928
DiedJuly 26, 2016(2016-07-26) (aged 87)
Alma materCalifornia Institute of Technology
University of California, Berkeley
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
ThesisFormal Consistency Proofs and Interpretability of Theories (1957)
Doctoral advisorAlfred Tarski
Doctoral students
Main interests
Philosophy of mathematics
Proof theory
Theory of computation
Notable ideas
Stratified systems for the foundations of category theory[1]
Feferman–Schütte ordinal
Ordinal collapsing function
Explicit mathematics

Solomon Feferman (December 13, 1928 – July 26, 2016)[2] was an American philosopher and mathematician who worked in mathematical logic. In addition to his prolific technical work in proof theory, computability theory, and set theory, he was known for his contributions to the history of logic (for instance, via biographical writings on figures such as Kurt Gödel, Alfred Tarski, and Jean van Heijenoort) and as a vocal proponent of the philosophy of mathematics known as predicativism, notably from an anti-platonist stance.


Solomon Feferman was born in The Bronx in New York City to working-class parents who had immigrated to the United States after World War I and had met and married in New York. Neither parent had any advanced education. The family moved to Los Angeles, where Feferman graduated from high school at age 16.

He received his B.S. from the California Institute of Technology in 1948, and in 1957 his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley, under Alfred Tarski,[3] after having been drafted and having served in the U.S. Army from 1953 to 1955. In 1956 he was appointed to the Departments of Mathematics and Philosophy at Stanford University, where he later became the Patrick Suppes Professor of Humanities and Sciences. While the majority of his career was spent at Stanford, he also spent time as a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, a visiting professor at MIT, and a visiting fellow at the University of Oxford (Wolfson College and All Souls College). [4]

Feferman died on 26 July 2016 at his home in Stanford, following an illness that lasted three months and a stroke.[2][5][6] At his death, he had been a member of the Mathematical Association of America for 37 years.[7]


Feferman was editor-in-chief of the five-volume Collected Works of Kurt Gödel, published by Oxford University Press between 2001 and 2013.

In 2004, together with his wife Anita Burdman Feferman, he published a biography of Alfred Tarski: Alfred Tarski: Life and Logic.[8]

He worked on predicative mathematics, in particular introducing the Feferman–Schütte ordinal as a measure of the strength of certain predicative systems.


Feferman was awarded Guggenheim Fellowships in 1972 and 1986[9] and the Rolf Schock Prize in logic and philosophy in 2003.[10] He was invited to give the Gödel Lecture in 1997[11] and the Tarski Lectures in 2006.[12] In 2012, he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[13]




See also


  1. ^ "Enriched Stratified systems for the Foundations of Category Theory" by Solomon Feferman (2011)
  2. ^ a b "Solomon Feferman (1928-2016)".
  3. ^ Solomon Feferman at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  4. ^ "Solomon Feferman's homepage". Archived from the original on October 24, 2017.
  5. ^ Lanier Anderson, R. (August 4, 2016). "A tribute to Solomon Feferman (1928–2016)". Archived from the original on September 11, 2016. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  6. ^ "Stanford mathematical logician Solomon Feferman dies at 87". Stanford News. October 7, 2016. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  7. ^ "In Memoriam | Mathematical Association of America". Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Reviews of Alfred Tarski:
  9. ^ "John Simon Guggenheim Foundation | Solomon Feferman".
  10. ^ "Feferman awarded Rolf Schock Prize in logic and philosophy".
  11. ^ "Gödel Lecturers – Association for Symbolic Logic". Archived from the original on November 8, 2021. Retrieved November 8, 2021.
  12. ^ "The Tarski Lectures | Department of Mathematics at University of California Berkeley". Retrieved November 8, 2021.
  13. ^ List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved December 2, 2012.
  14. ^ Reviews of In the Light of Logic: