Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest academic honor society, has awarded its 2011-12 Romanell Professorship to Amherst College Professor of Philosophy Alexander George. As part of this prestigious professorship, George is to deliver three public lectures on the Amherst campus, all on a unified theme of his choosing. “I expect to talk about belief in miracles,” George says, “via a consideration of the views of David Hume and of Ludwig Wittgenstein.”
“This honor recognizes your distinguished achievements within the field of philosophy, as well as your vast contributions to the understanding of philosophy by the public,” wrote Phi Beta Kappa Secretary John Churchill in a letter notifying George of his professorship. George’s achievements and contributions include establishing the Amherst Lecture in Philosophy series; launching the website AskPhilosophers.org and its companion book, charity and mobile app; and writing and editing numerous books and articles on philosophy (among other subjects). When asked why he believes it is important for the general public to have access to and understanding of philosophical discussions, George says, “Philosophical thought is one of the gems of human creation. A culture is impoverished in so far as they are kept out of sight, under lock-and-key in the vaults of universities.” He has taught at Amherst since 1988, holds degrees from Harvard and Columbia Universities and is himself a member of Phi Beta Kappa.