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Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014

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Emeritus professor Richard Jeffrey dies at age 76

Richard Jeffrey, professor of philosophy emeritus, died Nov. 9. He was 76.

An expert in probability and decision theory, Jeffrey joined the faculty at Princeton in 1974 and was granted emeritus status in 1999. He also taught logic and the philosophy of science. In recent years, he spent part of his time in Princeton and part as a visiting distinguished professor of logic and philosophy of science at the University of California-Irvine.

Jeffrey earned his Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton in 1957. A World War II Navy veteran, he received an M.A. from the University of Chicago in 1952. He was a research engineer, a Fulbright Scholar and an assistant professor of electrical engineering before starting his career teaching philosophy at Stanford University in 1959.

He served as a visiting faculty member at the Institute for Advanced Study and at Princeton in 1963-64, and taught at the City College of New York and at the University of Pennsylvania before returning to Princeton as a professor of philosophy.

The author of several books and numerous articles, Jeffrey presented a new theory of decision-making under uncertainty and of probable knowledge in "The Logic of Decision" (1965). He further developed these themes in "Probability and the Art of Judgment" (1992). His textbook, "Computability and Logic" (with George Boolos, 1974), bridged the gap between general books on logic and treatises written for mathematicians.

Jeffrey was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994, and he served as president of the Philosophy of Science Association from 1999 to 2000.

Contact: Lauren Robinson-Brown (609) 258-3601

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