Charles Parsons (philosopher)

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Charles Dacre Parsons (born April 13, 1933) is a distinguished contributor to the philosophy of mathematics and the study of the philosophy of Immanuel Kant.

He is a son of social scientist Talcott Parsons. A specialist in the philosophy of mathematics and logic, Parsons earned his Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1961, under the direction of Burton Dreben and Willard Van Orman Quine.[1][2] He taught for many years at Columbia University before moving to Harvard University in 1989.[2] He retired in 2005 as the Edgar Pierce professor of philosophy, a position formerly held by Quine.[2] In addition to his work in logic and the philosophy of mathematics, Parsons was an editor, with Solomon Feferman and others, of the posthumous works of Kurt Gödel. He has also written on historical figures, especially Immanuel Kant, Gottlob Frege, Kurt Gödel, and Willard van Orman Quine. Among his doctoral students were James Higginbotham, R. Gregory Taylor, Peter Ludlow, Richard Tieszen, Gila Sher, Charles H. Manekin, Emily Carson, Michael Glanzberg, and Øystein Linnebo.

He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.[3]


  • Mathematics in Philosophy: Selected Essays (1983)
  • Mathematical Thought and its Objects (2008)
  • From Kant to Husserl: Selected Essays (2012)
  • Philosophy of Mathematics in the Twentieth Century (2014)
  • Kurt Gödel, Collected Works (ed. with Solomon Feferman et al.), volume III (1995), volumes IV-V (2003)
  • The uniqueness of the natural numbers. Iyyun ISSN 0021-3306 (1990), vol. 39, pp. 13–44 (2 p.)