Peter Unger is a professor of philosophy at New York University. Unger pursued undergraduate studies in philosophy at Swarthmore College, earning his BA in 1962. Unger then attended Oxford University, earning his PhD in 1966, and studying under none other than AJ Ayer.
Unger is notable as one of the few modern (and respected) skeptics in philosophy, arguing that knowledge is unattainable, and that any belief can be considered reasonable and justified. Unger’s work emerges from what might be characterized as a kind of identity crisis for philosophy in the 20th century. As academic philosophy became increasingly formal (and in many senses, bureaucratic), and as science became more specialized and advanced, Unger encountered a problem: philosophy was quickly saying less and less, proposing what he terms “empty ideas” that really say nothing substantial about the world. Analytic philosophy, which dominates the field today, is devoid of meaning, and unable to actually connect its claims with concrete reality.
For his work, Unger has received numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship.
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