Daniel N. Robinson

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Daniel N. Robinson
Daniel Robinson.JPG
Born(1937-03-09)March 9, 1937
Monticello, New York
DiedSeptember 17, 2018(2018-09-17) (aged 81)
Frederick, Maryland
Alma materB.A. Colgate University
Ph.D. City University of New York (Neuropsychology)
AwardsLifetime Achievement Award (American Psychological Association
Division of the History of Psychology)
Distinguished Contribution Award (American Psychological Association Division of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology)
Distinguished Alumni Award (2009), Graduate Center, City Univ. New York [1] Joseph Gittler Award (American Psychological Association
Scientific career
FieldsPhilosophy of Mind
Philosophy of Psychology
Philosophy of Law
History of Psychology
InstitutionsUniversity of Oxford
Georgetown University

Daniel Nicholas Robinson (March 9, 1937 – September 17, 2018)[2] was an American psychologist who was a professor of psychology at Georgetown University and later in his life became a fellow of the faculty of philosophy at Oxford University.


Robinson published in a wide variety of subjects, including moral philosophy, the philosophy of psychology, legal philosophy, the philosophy of the mind, intellectual history, legal history, and the history of psychology. He held academic positions at Amherst College, Georgetown University, Princeton University, and Columbia University. In addition, he served as the principal consultant to PBS and the BBC for their award-winning series "The Brain" and "The Mind", and he lectured for The Great Courses' series on Philosophy. He was on the Board of Consulting Scholars of Princeton University's James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions[3] and was a Senior Fellow of BYU's Wheatley Institution.[4] In 2011, he received the Gittler Award[5] from the American Psychological Association for significant contributions to the philosophical foundations of Psychology.

Primary interests[edit]

Robinson’s interests ranged over the brain sciences, philosophy, law and intellectual history. Several of his works were illustrative of these interests. Regarded as a classic in its field, his An Intellectual History of Psychology[6] was praised by Ernest Hilgard for its “…development of ideas as they provide alternative perspectives on the nature of mind…The reader is carried along on a genuine intellectual adventure."[7] Robinson’s enduring interest in Aristotle’s thought was summarized in Aristotle’s Psychology,[8] which Deborah Modrak described as “Easy to read and informative” predicting that it would “no doubt prompt readers to reflect on the relevance of Aristotle’s work to modern psychology…” (International Studies in Philosophy, Volume 23, Issue 3, 1991; pp. 142–143). In this connection, Robinson was among the small group assembled by Martin Seligman in 1999 to develop the framework for Positive Psychology.[9]

In Wild Beasts and Idle Humours,[10] Robinson offered a treatise on the relationship between science and jurisprudence as this developed from ancient to contemporary times. Michael Perlin describes the book as “truly unique. It synthesizes material that I do not believe has ever been considered in this context, and links up the historical past with contemporaneous values and politics. Robinson effortlessly weaves religious history, literary history, medical history, and political history, and demonstrates how the insanity defense cannot be fully understood without consideration of all these sources.” Robert Kinscherff states that it “…reads like the inner workings of a fascinating and disciplined narrative mind.”[11]

Robinson’s major work in moral philosophy was Praise and Blame: Moral Realism and Its Application.[12] Reviewing the book in Review of Metaphysics, Jude P. Dougherty writes, “The richness of this work cannot be comprehended in one reading. Whether the reader agrees or not with the author, one has much to learn from the profundity of Robinson's insight into the framing of moral judgment”. (Rev. Metaphys., 2003, vol. 56, 899-900.)

Central to Robinson’s concerns were the conceptual and philosophical foundations of psychology and related subjects. Of Robinson’s Philosophy of Psychology,[13] William Dray wrote that “this highly readable book squarely addresses fundamental metaphysical, epistemological and methodological problems…His clear and informed treatment…offers salutary challenge to much conventional wisdom on the nature and prospects of psychological science.[14]

Selected published works[edit]

  • Robinson, Daniel N. (1980). The Enlightened Machine: An Analytical Introduction to Neuropsychology. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-04955-9.
  • Robinson, Daniel N. (1980). Psychology and Law. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-502726-6.
  • Robinson, Daniel N. (1985). Philosophy of Psychology. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-05923-7.
  • Robinson, Daniel N. (1999). Aristotle's Psychology. [S.l.]: Joe Christensen Inc. ISBN 978-0-9672066-0-8.
  • Eccles, John C. and Robinson, Daniel N. (1984). The Wonder of Being Human: Our Brain and Our Mind. New York, N.Y.: Free Press. ISBN 0-02-908860-7
  • Robinson, Daniel N. (1995). An Intellectual History of Psychology (3rd ed.). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-299-14844-7.
  • Robinson, Daniel N. (1998). Wild beasts & Idle Humours : the Insanity Defense from Antiquity to the Present (1st Harvard University Press pbk. ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-95290-4.
  • Robinson, Daniel N., ed. (1998) The Mind. Oxford [UK]: Oxford Univ. Press. ISBN 0-19-289308-4
  • Robinson, Daniel N. (2002). Praise and Blame : Moral Realism and its Application. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-05724-8.
  • Robinson, Daniel N. (2008). Consciousness and Mental Life. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-14100-0.
  • Robinson, Daniel N. (2012). How is nature possible? : Kant's project in the First critique. London: Continuum. ISBN 978-1-4411-4851-3.
Video Lectures / Podcasts

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Graduate Center Commencement 2009". www.gc.cuny.edu. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  2. ^ Remembering Daniel Nicholas Robinson (1937-2018)
  3. ^ "James Madison Society | James Madison Program". jmp.princeton.edu. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
  4. ^ "The Wheatley Institution | Organization". wheatley.byu.edu. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
  5. ^ "APF Joseph B. Gittler Award". Archived from the original on 2017-09-02. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
  6. ^ Robinson, Daniel N. (1995). An intellectual history of psychology (3rd ed.). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-299-14844-7.
  7. ^ University of Wisconsin Press. Retrieved 2019-12-15.
  8. ^ Robinson, Daniel N. (1999). Aristotle's psychology. [S.l.]: Joe Christensen Inc. ISBN 978-0-9672066-0-8.
  9. ^ "Positive Clinical Psychology". 2014-10-01. Archived from the original on 2014-10-01. Retrieved 2017-09-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  10. ^ Robinson, Daniel N. (1998). Wild beasts & idle humours : the insanity defense from antiquity to the present (1st Harvard University Press pbk. ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-95290-4.
  11. ^ "Wild Beasts and Idle Humours — Daniel N. Robinson | Harvard University Press". www.hup.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
  12. ^ Robinson, Daniel N. (2002). Praise and blame : moral realism and its application. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-05724-8.
  13. ^ Robinson, Daniel N. (1985). Philosophy of psychology. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-05923-7.
  14. ^ Robinson, Daniel N (1985). Philosophy of Psychology. ISBN 978-0-231-05923-7.