Nicholas Rescher is a German-American philosopher at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the Chairman of the Center for Philosophy of Science and has formerly served as Chairman of the Philosophy Department. He has served as president for the American Catholic Philosophy Association, American G.W. Leibniz Society, American Metaphysical Society, American Philosophical Association, and C.S. Peirce Society. He is the founder of American Philosophical Quarterly.
Nicholas Rescher was born in the city of Hagen in the Westphalia region of Germany. He relocated to the United States when he was 10. He obtained a degree in mathematics at Queens College New York. Thereafter, he attended Princeton University, graduating with his Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1951 at the age of 22, the youngest person ever to have obtained a Ph.D. in that department. From 1952 to 1954, he served a term in the United States Marine Corps, following which from 1954 to 1957 he worked for the Rand Corporation's mathematics division.
Rescher began his career as an academic at Princeton University in 1951. He joined the philosophy department at the University of Pittsburgh in 1961, becoming chair first associate director of its new Center for Philosophy of Science the following year. In 1964, he founded the American Philosophical Journal. From 1980 to 1981, Rescher served as the chairman of the philosophy department. In July 1988, Rescher changed roles at the Center for Philosophy of Science, resigning as its director and becoming its first vice chairman. In 2010, he donated his philosophy collection to the Hillman Library.
An honorary member of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, he has been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain, Academia Europaea, the Royal Society of Canada, and the Institut International de Philosophie, among others.
Rescher is a prolific writer, with over 100 books and 400 articles, generating the jest that Rescher is not a single person, but a committee sharing the name. Philosopher Michele Marsonet, who has published extensively on Rescher's philosophy, writes that his prolific publication is in itself the most common objection against Rescher, adding "it is, indeed, a leitmotiv of all those unwilling to discuss his ideas". Rescher has described his own approach to philosophy as synthesizing the idealism of German and Great Britain with the pragmatism of the U.S.