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Alan Baker (philosopher)

Alan R. Baker is a professor of philosophy in Swarthmore College (Pennsylvania, United States), specializing in the philosophy of mathematics and the philosophy of science. He is also a former U.S. shogi champion.

Academic career

Baker did his undergraduate studies at the University of Cambridge, earning a bachelor's degree in philosophy with first class honours in 1991. He then moved to the U.S. for graduate school, earning a master's degree in 1995 and a Ph.D. in 1999, both in philosophy from Princeton University. His doctoral supervisors were Paul Benacerraf and Gideon Rosen. After working as an assistant professor at Xavier University, he moved to Swarthmore in 2003.[1][2]

Philosophically, Baker is a mathematical realist who has used examples from evolutionary biology to show the necessity of mathematics in scientific reasoning.[3]

In 2005 The New York Times published an excerpt from the exam from his "Introduction to Metaphysics and Epistemology" course in its "pop quiz" column.[4][5]


In 2005, Baker founded a shogi club at Swarthmore College, outside Philadelphia, which is one of only two college-based shogi clubs in the United States. The other club is Cornell University Shogi Club, which was founded in August 2017.[6]

Baker is also a former U.S. shogi champion, having won the 13th U.S. Shogi Championship in 2008.[6] As of January 2017, his ELO rating of 2107 placed him in 20th place on the Federation of European Shogi Associations (FESA) bi-annual rating list.[7][8]

Tournament results:


  1. ^ Curriculum vitae (October 2012) Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved 2014-04-08.
  2. ^ Alan R. Baker at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. ^ Bangu, Sorin Ioan (2008), "Inference to the Best Explanation and Mathematical Realism", Synthese, 160 (1): 13–20, doi:10.1007/s11229-006-9070-8, S2CID 10014456.
  4. ^ Alan Baker (2005-11-06). "Pop Quiz: I Think, Therefore I Pass". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2014-03-28.
  5. ^ Alan Baker (2005-11-06). "Quiz answers". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2012-10-14. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  6. ^ a b Shogi and me, Swarthmore College Feature Stories Archive, May 14, 2008.
  7. ^ a b Alan Baker: FESA profile
  8. ^ FESA Rating list for 2017-01
  9. ^ 4th International Shogi Forum(in Russian)
  10. ^ 6th International Shogi Forum, Shizuoka

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Alan Baker (philosopher)
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