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Distinguished Teaching Awards -- John Searle

By Steve Tollefson, Educational Development -- Student Life
Posted April 14, 1999

Photo: John R. Searle

John R. Searle. Noah Berger photo.

When he teaches in other countries, John R. Searle, Mills Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Language in the Department of Philosophy, says "the first thing I have to do is train my students to act like Berkeley students."

"They are not used to asking questions in a way that challenges the professor while being at the same time respectful and observant of the rigorous logical standards of the discipline," he says. "By the end of the semester they are raising their hands and arguing with me as vigorously as my Berkeley students."

Searle, whose area of focus is the philosophy of the mind and of language, has a "reputation as a teacher and as an expositor of philosophy that extends far beyond the confines of this university," notes colleague Richard Wollheim. "It is worldwide. He is something of a legend."

Students flourish under Searle's guidance. "This was one of the most stimulating classes I've ever taken," remarked one student. "It challenged me to great precision in my thinking and analysis of just about everything in life."

A recipient of numerous awards and honors, and a distinguished lecturer at universities throughout the world, Searle is also one of the few people who can list not only books by himself in his curriculum vitae, but also books about himself. He received his BA and DPhil from Oxford, and joined the Department of Philosophy at Berkeley in 1959.

(return to main Distinguished Teaching Awards page)


April 14 - 20 (Volume 27, Number 30)
Copyright 1999, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
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