The Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley,
John R. Searle is widely acclaimed for his contributions to the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind as well as for his theory about the creation of social reality. The focus of much of his recent work has been on explaining how humans fit into a world described by the basic sciences. In his first book, Speech Acts (1969), which built on the foundation laid by his teacher J.L. Austin, he set out the hypothesis that “speaking a language is engaging in a rule-governed form of behavior” and commanded international attention for substantially advancing knowledge of the problems that had to be solved in an emerging philosophical field. He further developed his ideas about the fundamental characteristics of mind and the hard problem of consciousness in Intentionality (1983), The Rediscovery of Mind (1992), The Construction of Social Reality (1995), Mind, Language and Society: Philosophy in the Real World (1998), and Rationality in Action (2001), a quintet of hugely influential works that secured his reputation as a common-sense realist. Dr. Searle began his undergraduate career at the University of Wisconsin where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was president of the student body. In his junior year, he won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University where he studied at Christ Church College and graduated with first-class honors. He received a senior scholarship to continue his work at St. Anthony’s College, was then appointed a lecturer in philosophy at Christ Church, and went on to earn a D.Phil. in philosophy at Oxford in 1959. Returning to the United States, he was appointed an assistant professor of philosophy at Berkeley and named a full professor in 1967. He has been a visiting professor at some two dozen universities in the United States, Europe, and South America and delivered numerous invited lectures in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Dr. Searle holds honorary degrees from the University of Lugano, the University of Turin, the University of Bucharest, the University of Wisconsin, and Adelphi University. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the European Academy of Science and Art, he formerly served on the governing council of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the boards of trustees of the National Humanities Council and the American Council of Learned Societies, and the steering committee for the President’s Commission on The Decade of the Brain. He currently serves as a member of the Scholars’ Council of the Library of Congress and of the scientific board of the Vilem Mathesius Centre of Charles University (Prague). His many awards include the National Humanities Medal, Sweden’s Puffendorf Medal, Italy’s Mind and Brain Prize, Spain’s Jovellanos Prize, France’s Jean Nicod Prize, Korea’s Tasan Award, the Homer Smith Award of New York University Medical School, two Fulbright Fellowships, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Dr. Searle serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, Linguistics and Philosophy, Harvard University Press’s Cognitive Science Series, Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence, and the Journal of Consciousness Studies. A regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, he is the author of more than two hundred articles and fourteen books. His works have been translated into twenty-one languages. The most recent of his books are Mind: A Brief Introduction (2004) and Freedom and Neurobiology, which was published by Columbia University Press last year. The former is an exploration of the major issues in philosophy of mind that sets forth succinctly his view that both materialism and dualism are false. The latter, arguing that both consciousness and rationality are crucial to our existence and that they are the result of the biological evolution of our species, addresses the problem of free will and the problem of political power.