Ed Zalta wins Barwise Prize

The Stanford Philosophy Department congratulates our colleague Edward Zalta, Senior Research Scholar at the Center for the Study of Language and Information, and  Principal Editor of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, who is the winner of the 2016 K. Jon Barwise Prize for significant and sustained contributions to the area of philosophy and computing.  The prize will be officially presented at the upcoming Eastern APA in Savannah, GA.


The Prize recognizes Zalta’s important contributions both to computational metaphysics and to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  Zalta coauthored several early papers in the young field of computational metaphysics. He and his colleagues used automated reasoning tools to formalize and study philosophical questions and arguments about possible worlds, Leibniz’s metaphysics of concepts, Plato’s Forms, and Anselm’s reasoning about the existence of God.  Due to Zalta’s work, the field is rapidly expanding.  


Zalta has also devoted a little more than half his time over the past 21 years to founding (with John Perry) and developing the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  This project  has had an enormous impact on philosophical life here at Stanford and also for the profession more widely.  The SEP has mobilized a remarkably wide swath of our profession into a collaborative publication that remains free and open for use by the public at large—making the best of philosophical knowledge, insight, and argument available to the worldwide community.  Zalta coordinates over 140 subject editors and over 1900 authors (mostly philosophers but also colleagues in related professions). We at Stanford are privileged to have been close to the center of this endeavor, and many of us have been given our own small roles to play in it, all thanks to Ed.


Zalta joins a distinguished list of Barwise prize winners that includes former Stanford colleagues Patrick Suppes, the inaugural winner, and Jaakko Hintikka.  And of course, it is fitting and meaningful that the prize is named in honor of our former colleague Jon Barwise.


Please join me in extending warmest congratulations to Ed on this well deserved recognition of his scholarly accomplishments, and the huge service to our field represented by his ongoing work on the SEP.


R. Lanier Anderson, Chair

Department of Philosophy, Stanford University