Kenneth Winkler appointed the Kingman Brewster, Jr. Professor of Philosophy

Kenneth Winkler
Kenneth Winkler (photo by Michael Marsland)

Kenneth Winkler, recently named the Kingman Brewster, Jr. Professor of Philosophy, conducts research in modern European and American philosophy.

A prominent theme in Winkler’s work is the question of realism: to what extent do we owe our beliefs to the expectations and interests that we bring to the world, rather than the world itself? He has pursued this theme in the writings of Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Jonathan Edwards, Hume, and Kant, as they grapple with such topics as sense perception, causation, classification, personal identity, and moral judgment.

Winkler is the author of “Berkeley: An Interpretation.” His edited volumes include editions of works by Locke and Berkeley. “Matters of Reason,” a collection of the Yale professor’s essays on British philosophy in the 17th and 18th centuries, is forthcoming. His research has been widely published in professional journals and edited books. From 2000 to 2005 he served as editor of the journal Hume Studies.

Winkler came to Yale after many years at Wellesley College, where he was the Class of 1919 Professor of Philosophy and winner of the Pinanski Prize for Excellence in Teaching. He has held visiting positions at University of California-Los Angeles, Brandeis University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brown University, and Boston University. In 2012 he was the Sir Isaiah Berlin Visiting Professor in the History of Ideas at Oxford University. His Berlin lectures, on the history of philosophical idealism in America from Jonathan Edwards to Martin Luther King, are forthcoming as “‘A New World’: Six Lectures on Idealism in America, 1700 to 1950.”

The Yale professor received his B.A. degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas-Austin. Before arriving at Wellesley, he taught at the State University of New York at Geneseo and Kalamazoo College.

Winkler is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and Harvard University, where he was an Andrew W. Mellon Faculty Fellow.

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