Nagel, Ernest

Nagel, Ernest, 1901–85, American philosopher, b. Nové Město (now in the Czech Republic), grad. College of the City of New York, 1923, and Columbia (Ph.D., 1930). His family emigrated to the United States in 1911. He joined (1931) the philosophy faculty of Columbia, where he became (1955) John Dewey professor of philosophy. Under the influence of his teacher, Morris R. Cohen, he was originally an advocate of logical realism, holding that the principles of logic represent the universal and eternal traits of nature. Later, however, he withdrew from this ontological position and developed an approach to logic and the philosophy of science that stressed abstract and functional aspects. Among his works are An Introduction to Logic and Scientific Method (with M. R. Cohen, 1934), Sovereign Reason (1954), Logic without Metaphysics (1957), The Structure of Science: Problems in the Logic of Scientific Explanation (1961), and Observation and Theory in Science (with others, 1971).

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