Career

Career summary

Crispin Wright’s researches have contributed to the philosophy of mathematics (neo-Fregean foundations); to metaphysics (realism, truth and ontology, response-dependence); to epistemology (scepticism, warrant transmission and epistemic entitlement); to philosophy of language and logic (vagueness, intuitionism, basic inference); to the philosophy of mind (self-knowledge), and to the study of Wittgenstein (rule-following and privacy).

He did his PhD at Cambridge before being elected Prize Fellow (1969) at All Souls College, Oxford, where he spent the first nine years of his career. He was appointed to the Chair of Logic and Metaphysics at St. Andrews in 1978, at that time the youngest ever appointment to an established chair in philosophy in the UK. In 1988 he was awarded a D. Litt.—a marker of published research of high distinction—from Oxford, and in 2003, an Honorary D.Litt. at the University of Aberdeen.

Wright’s personal research awards include a full-time British Academy Research Readership (1990-1992) and a full-time Leverhulme Trust Personal Research Professorship (1998-2003.) He is Fellow of the British Academy (1992), of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1996), and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2012). He was appointed the first Bishop Wardlaw University Professor at St. Andrews in 1997.

At St. Andrews from the late 1990s onwards, Wright pioneered a distinctive and highly successful form of collaborative research in philosophy, leading a series of externally funded cutting-edge research projects which doubled as a training environment for early career philosophical researchers. He founded (1998) and, until 2009, was the Director of the Arché Centre at St. Andrews, which under his leadership earned more than the equivalent of £5 million of competitive British public research funding. In 2009 he founded the Northern Institute of Philosophy at Aberdeen, which he led until 2015.

He has taught at New York University, first as a Global Distinguished Professor, and then as Full Professor, since 2002. He resumed a half-time Global Distinguished Professorship from Fall 2014 which he combines with a Professorship of Philosophical Research at Stirling where he leads the John Templeton Foundation -funded collaborative research project, Knowledge beyond Natural Science.

Wright has served as primary supervisor for some 40 PhD students to completion of their degrees.

He is the founder and, with John Divers and Åsa Wikforss, a Principal Editor of the international journal of philosophy, Thought, published by Wiley-Blackwell since January 2013.

Education

Birkenhead School, Cheshire, 1950-61;
Open Exhibition in Classics at Trinity College, Cambridge, 1961;
First degree in Moral Sciences Part IIB 1964;
PhD student in Philosophy at Trinity College, Cambridge, 1964-6,
and Christ Church, Oxford, 1966-7

Degrees

B.A. Hons, Cantab., 1964
M.A., Cantab., 1968
Ph.D., Cantab., 1968
B.Phil. Oxon. 1969 (with Special Distinction)
D.Litt. Oxon. 1988

Full-time Academic Appointments

Junior Research Fellow, Trinity College, Oxford, 1967-9
Lecturer, Balliol College, Oxford, 1969-70
Lecturer, University College, London, 1970-1
Research Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford, 1971-8
Professor of Philosophy, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, 1987-94
(James B. and Grace. J. Nelson Professor, 1992-4)
Professor of Logic and Metaphysics, University of St. Andrews, 1978-2009
Bishop Wardlaw Professor (First Founder’s Chair), 1997-2009
Professor, New York University, 2008-2014
Regius Professor of Logic, Aberdeen University, 2013-15 (Emeritus 2015-)
Visiting and Part-time Appointments
Visiting Professor, Princeton University, 1985-6
Visiting Research Professor in the Humanities, University of Queensland, April-May 1989
Visiting Fellow and Waynflete Lecturer, Magdalen College, Oxford, Trinity Term, 1991
Visiting Professor, Columbia University (regular ¼ time appointment), 1997-2002
Global Distinguished Professor, New York University, 2002-2008, and 2014-
Director of the Northern Institute of Philosophy, University of Aberdeen, 2009-2015
Professor of Philosophical Research, University of Stirling, 2015-

Distinguished Invited Lectures

Henriette Hertz Philosophical Lecture, British Academy 1985 ‘Facts and Certainty’
Gareth Evans Memorial Lecture, 1987 ‘Realism, Anti-Realism, Irrealism, Quasi-Realism’
Waynflete Lectures, University of Oxford, 1991 ‘Truth and Objectivity’
Whitehead Lectures, Harvard University 1996. ‘The Problem of Self-knowledge’
Townsend Visitor, University of California, Berkeley 2013, ‘Ruminations on the A Priori’
Conferences Hugues Leblanc, Université du Québec a Montreal 2013, ‘The A Priori’

Prizes and Distinctions

Prize Fellow, All Souls College, 1969-71
Fulbright Scholar at Princeton, 1985-6
Elected Fellow of the British Academy, 1992
Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1996
Hon. D.Litt Aberdeen, 2003
Elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 2012

Research centre leadership

University of St Andrews: Founder and Director of the Research Centre, Arché, 1998-2009
University of Aberdeen: Founder and Director of the Northern Institute of Philosophy, University of Aberdeen 2009- 2015

Major Competitive Research Grants

1990-2 British Academy Research Readership (£36,582)
1998-2003 Leverhulme Trust Personal Research Professorship (£322,471)
2000-6 AHRB Research Grant for a collaborative project on The Logical and Metaphysical Foundations of Classical Mathematics (£449,154)
2000-5 British Academy Networks grant in association with the aforementioned project (£6,500)
2003-7 AHRC Research Centres Grant for Arché, thenceforward the AHRC Research Centre for the Philosophy of Logic, Language, Mathematics and Mind (£759,680)
2004-6 Leverhulme Trust Academic Interchange Networks award to support Arché projects on Modality and Vagueness (£70,000)
2006-8 Leverhulme Trust Research Grant for a collaborative project to produce the first complete English translation of Frege’s Grundgesetze der Arithmetik (£115,352)
2006-9 (Partner Investigator) Discovery Grant from the Australian Research Council for a Collaborative Research Project with the Australian National University and the University of Oxford on Epistemic Warrant (Aus $156,053)
2007-12 AHRC Research Grant for a collaborative project on Basic Knowledge (£926,381)
2008-12 AHRC Research Grant for a collaborative project on Contextualism and Relativism (£1,065,724)
2012-15 Leverhulme Trust Research Grant for a collaborative project on Relativism and Rational Tolerance (£249,148)
2017-19 John Templeton Foundation Research Grant for a collaborative project on Knowledge Beyond Natural Science (£987,690)