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John Searle, the Mills Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Language, awarded National Humanities Medal

– John Searle, the Mills Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Language in the College of Letters & Science at the University of California, Berkeley, is among eight recipients of the 2004 National Humanities Medal.

In awards ceremonies held at the White House on Wednesday, Nov. 17, Searle was honored for his efforts to deepen understanding of the human mind and for using his writings to shape modern thought, defend reason and objectivity, and define debate about the nature of natural intelligence.

Others receiving the prize included author Madeleine L'Engle, education activist Marva Collins, historian Gertrude Himmelfarb, art critic Hilton Kramer, political scientist Harvey Mansfield, and Hoover Institution researcher and writer Shelby Steele. The medal also was issued to the United States Capitol Historical Society.

Searle, who began teaching at UC Berkeley in 1959, is best known for his critique of computationalism and artificial intelligence, his work on consciousness and his theory of intentionality.

His books range from "Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language" (1969) and "The Campus War" (1970), to "The Mystery of Consciousness" (1997) and "Mind: A Brief Introduction" (2004).

Searle is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Guggenheim in 1975, a Fulbright in 1983 and 1985, UC Berkeley's Faculty Research Lecturer in 1987, UC Berkeley's Distinguished Teaching Award in 1999, and the Jovellanos Prize in 2000.

The National Humanities Medal, issued annually since 1989, honors individuals and organizations whose work has deepened national understanding of the humanities, expanded public engagement with the humanities, or has helped preserve access to the humanities.

Past UC Berkeley recipients include sociologist Robert Bellah in 2000 and recently retired English Department senior lecturer and writer Maxine Hong Kingston in 1997.