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Richard Newell Boyd (b. 19 May 1942, Washington, D.C.; Ph.D. MIT 1970) is an American philosopher who has spent most of his career at Cornell University, though he also taught briefly at Harvard University, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the University of California, Berkeley. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the University of Melbourne in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
He has been a leading defender of scientific realism, the idea that scientific claims about unobservable entities should be understood as literally true. In ethics, he is a leading defender of a naturalistic brand of moral realism, arguing that moral facts should be understood to supervene on clusters of natural properties. His co-edited book The Philosophy of Science (ISBN 0-262-52156-3) is widely used in undergraduate and graduate philosophy courses. He has also made important contributions to the development of Cornell realism, a distinctly naturalistic position in moral philosophy associated with Boyd, his colleague Nicholas Sturgeon, and David O. Brink, a Cornell graduate and philosopher at the University of California, San Diego.
Boyd's doctoral thesis, directed by Hilary Putnam, is called "A recursion-theoretic characterization of the ramified analytical hierarchy", and his degree was one of the first Ph.Ds awarded in philosophy by MIT.
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