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Elgin Elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Professor is among 269 new members in the organization's 2023 induction class
Photo: David Elmes

Professor Catherine Elgin is among the latest inductees into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (AAAS). The HGSE professor was among a class of 269 new members who were inducted into its 2023 membership class.

“I am surprised and honored to have been elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences," said Elgin, who was elected as part of the Philosophy grouping of the association’s Humanities and Arts class.

Elgin is a philosopher whose work focuses on the way the sciences and arts advance understanding. Focusing on the theory of knowledge, philosophy of art, and philosophy of science, Elgin has argued that the pursuit of understanding, rather than the pursuit of knowledge, should be the focus of epistemology’s concerns. More recent work explores how similar problems arise in diverse branches of philosophy like the philosophy of language, philosophy of science, and aesthetics.

The AAAS — which is also headquartered in Cambridge — is one of the oldest and most prestigious honorary societies as well as a leading center for independent policy research in the United States. Since its establishment in 1780, the Academy has inducted leaders from academia, the arts, industry, public policy, and research.

“With the election of these members, the Academy is honoring excellence, innovation, and leadership and recognizing a broad array of stellar accomplishments,” Academy president David Oxtoby said in a statement. “We hope every new member celebrates this achievement and joins our work advancing the common good.”

Elgin joins HGSE faculty members Susan Dynarski, Paul Harris, Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Catherine Snow, Danielle Allen, Richard Light, and Howard Gardner among AAAS's membership. Early members of the Academy’s membership classes included Benjamin Franklin (1781), George Washington (1781), and Alexander Hamilton (1791).

“In its earliest days, the Academy sought members who would help address issues and opportunities confronting a young nation,” said Nancy Andrews, chair of the Academy’s board of directors. “We feel a similar urgency and have elected a class that brings diverse expertise to meet the pressing challenges and possibilities that America and the world face today.”


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