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Ernan McMullin is the O’Hara Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame. He is an internationally-respected philosopher of science who has written and lectured extensively on subjects ranging from the relationship between cosmology and theology, to the role of values in understanding science, to the impact of Darwinism on Western religious thought. He is an expert on the life of Galileo.
- Educated at Maynooth College in Ireland, where he received an undergraduate degree in physics and a bachelor of divinity degree in theology.
- 1949 ordained a Roman Catholic priest.
- Studied theoretical physics on a fellowship at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies
- 1954 earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Leuven.
- 1954 Joined Notre Dame faculty as an assistant professor of philosophy,
- 1967 a full professor
- 1984 named to the John Cardinal O’Hara Chair.
- 1965-1972 chaired the Notre Dame department of philosophy.
He has been a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota, the University of Cape Town, the University of California at Los Angeles, Princeton University, and Yale University. A former Phi Beta Kappa National Lecturer, he delivered the Cardinal Mercier Lecturer at the (Flemish) University of Leuven in 1995 and the Reynolds Lecture at Baylor University in 2005. In addition, he has served as president of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, the Metaphysical Society of America, the Philosophy of Science Association, and the Western Division of the American Philosophical Association, as chair of the History and Philosophy of Science Section of the AAAS, as a member of the executive committees of the History of Science Society, the Council for Philosophical Studies, and the Society of Christian Philosophers, and as a member of numerous scholarly and scientific committees, congresses, and panels. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the International Academy of the History of Science, and the AAAS, he is an honorary fellow of St. Edmund's College, Cambridge, and has been awarded honorary degrees by Maynooth, the National University of Ireland, Loyola University (Chicago), Stonehill College, and University of Notre Dame.
Among other honors, he has won the Aquinas Medal of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, the Centennial Medal of John Carroll University, the Founder’s Medal of the Metaphysical Society of America, and two Notre Dame faculty awards.
Dr. McMullin has served on the editorial boards of a dozen academic journals and encyclopedia and is currently a member of the editorial boards of Perspectives on Science, International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science, and International Philosophical Studies. The author of numerous scholarly articles and the editor of a series of monographs on logic published in the mid-1960s by Prentice Hall, he also has edited ten other books and is the author of
- Newton on Matter and Activity (1978)
- The Inference That Makes Science (1992).
- The Church and Galileo, a collection of essays he edited for the University of Notre Dame Press, was published in 2005 to widespread acclaim.
He is currently working on a study on rationality, realism, and the growth of knowledge.
- University of Harvard philosophy professor Peter Godfrey-Smith discusses McMullin's views on Scientific realism in the book Theory and reality (University of Chicago Press, 2003, p. 178, 251, 264), citing McMullin's paper "A Case for Scientific Realism" in the book Scientific Realism, edited by Jarrett Leplin (University of California Press, 1984).
- "Science and the Catholic Tradition"--appears as a chapter in part I (Introduction) of Science and Religion: New Perspectives on the Dialogue (1968), pages 30-42, ed. Ian Barbour