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October 9, 1954|
New York City
25 November 2007 (age 53)|
|Philosophy of science, epistemology|
Peter Lipton (October 9, 1954 – November 25, 2007) was the Hans Rausing Professor and Head of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge University, and a fellow of King's College, until his unexpected death in November 2007. According to his obituary on the Cambridge web site, he was "recognized as one of the leading philosophers of science and epistemologists in the world."
Lipton was an undergraduate at Wesleyan University and a graduate student at Oxford University. Before coming to Cambridge, he taught at Clark University and Williams College. He was a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and chaired the working party that produced Pharmacogenetics: Ethical Issues. He was also on the AskPhilosophers panel. In 2004, Lipton had the honour of being the Medawar Prize Lecturer of the Royal Society.
Lipton's research interests focused on the philosophy of science, including topics such as explanation, inference, testing, theory change, laws of nature, and scientific realism. Lipton's research in philosophy of science led him to do work in other related areas of philosophy; in epistemology, Lipton also investigated the philosophy of induction and testimony. Likewise in philosophy of mind Lipton researched notions of mental content and the mind-body problem.
He was a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics (2003–2007).
Lipton lived with his wife Diana and two sons Jonah and Jacob. He was a self-confessed "religious atheist"; he held that he could follow the customs and culture of a Jewish lifestyle, and use the teachings of Judaism to help him tackle moral problems in life, without simultaneously believing in the metaphysics of such a religion (such as the existence of God).
On 25 November 2007, Lipton suffered a fatal heart attack after playing a game of squash. He was succeeded in his capacity as Head of Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge by Professor John Forrester.
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