Philosopher and biographer Ray Monk, a professor at the University of Southampton, is SFI’s Miller Scholar for 2017. He will reside at the Institute for four months from February-May.
The Miller Distinguished Scholarship is the most prestigious visiting position at SFI, awarded to highly accomplished, creative thinkers who make profound contributions to science, society, and culture. Scholars are internally nominated, and may have backgrounds in the physical sciences, social sciences, or the humanities.
During their stays at SFI, Miller Scholars are encouraged to collaborate with researchers, with the goal of catalyzing scientific interactions and crystallizing ongoing research at SFI. They may devote their time to scholarship on any topic.
In his award-winning biography Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius, Monk chronicles Wittgenstein’s life and relentless self-examination. In a 1999 article for Prospect magazine, Monk contrasted Wittgenstein’s approach to understanding with the ubiquitous and easy “scientism which dominates our times.” Monk’s other biographies include Bertrand Russell: The Spirit of Solitude and Inside the Centre: The Life of J. Robert Oppenheimer.
Monk will be the eigth Miller Scholar since SFI Chair Emeritus Bill Miller conceived and underwrote the scholarship in 2010. Monk follows author Laurence Gonzales (2016-2017), author Neal Stephenson (2015-2016), author Hampton Sides (2015), actor-author-playwright Sam Shepard (2012-2013), philosopher Rebecca Goldstein (2011-2012), philosopher Daniel Dennett (2010), and quantum mechanic Seth Lloyd (2010).