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Barry Stroud

Barry Stroud
Barry Stroud in 2009
Born(1935-05-18)May 18, 1935
DiedAugust 9, 2019(2019-08-09) (aged 84)
EducationEast York Collegiate
Alma materUniversity of Toronto
Harvard University
Era21st-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolAnalytic philosophy
InstitutionsUniversity of California, Berkeley
Main interests
Philosophical skepticism, David Hume, Ludwig Wittgenstein
Notable ideas
Transcendental approach to dealing with philosophical skepticism[1]

Barry Stroud (/strd/; 18 May 1935 – 9 August 2019) was a Canadian philosopher and professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Known especially for his work on philosophical skepticism, he wrote about David Hume, Ludwig Wittgenstein, the metaphysics of color, and many other topics.


Barry Greenwood Stroud was born on 18 May 1935 in Toronto, Canada.[2][3] He was the second of two sons to William and Florence Stroud (who were both born in the U.K. but emigrated to Canada as children).[3] He attended high school at the East York Collegiate.[4]

Academic career

Stroud received a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Toronto in 1958.[3] At Harvard University he received an A.M. in 1960.[3] With a thesis titled Two Conventionalistic Theories Of Logical Truth, written under the direction of Morton White, he received his Ph.D. there in 1962.[3][5][6]

From 1961, until his retirement, Stroud worked at the University of California, Berkeley.[2][7] He was made a full professor there in 1974 and, from 1994, served as the Mills Professor of Metaphysics and Epistemology.[2][3] In 2007 he was named Willis S. and Marion Slusser Professor of Philosophy in the Berkeley Philosophy Department, a position he held until he retired as professor emeritus.[8] Though officially retiring at the end of the 2015-2016 academic year, he continued his research, teaching and advising as a professor of the Graduate School.[7] During his tenure he had served as departmental chair from 1978 to 1981, 1984 to 1985, and in 1998.[9][2]

Stroud was a visiting professor of philosophy at the University of Oslo (1974), at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (1979), and at the University of California, Los Angeles (1983-1984, and 1997).[3] In 1981 Stroud was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.[10] and spent a sabbatical year in Venice.[3] He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 1987, and a corresponding fellow of the British Academy in 1993.[8][11][12]

Over 1986–1987, as a visiting fellow of New College and All Souls College, Stroud gave the John Locke Lectures at Oxford University under the title 'The Quest for Reality.'[13][2] He also delivered the Gareth Evans Memorial Lecture at Oxford and Whitehead Lectures at Harvard.[9] To the American Philosophical Association, which he served as Pacific Division president in 1995–1996,[2] he gave the Dewey Lecture in 2008[14][15] and the Patrick Romanell Lecture in 2009.[16][17] Stroud also delivered the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at the University of Buenos Aires in 1988.[4] He returned to Brazil, where several of his works have been translated into Portuguese and discussed in print,[18][19] in 2014 to participate in the 16th ANPOF conference in Campos do Jordão,[20][21][22]

Philosophical work

Stroud's first book Hume (1977),[23] which received positive reviews from R. F. Atkinson in Hume Studies[24] and Donald W. Livingston[25] amongst others,[26][27] won the Matchette Prize in 1979.[9] It would be followed, in 1984, by The Significance of Philosophical Scepticism[28] and, in 1999, by The Quest for Reality: Subjectivism and the Metaphysics of Colour.[29][30][31] Stroud's Engagement and Metaphysical Dissatisfaction: Modality and Value was published in 2011.[32]

2011 would also see the publication of the first book-length critical treatment of Stroud's thought, The Possibility of Philosophical Understanding: Reflections on the Thought of Barry Stroud.[1] It included essay contributions from Robert Fogelin, Ernest Sosa, John McDowell, Sarah Stroud[33] and UC Berkeley colleague Hannah Ginsborg[34] amongst others.[35] Some of the central themes of his philosophical work are interpreted and elaborated upon in the volume editors' introduction to that work.[36]

Several collections of Stroud's essays would also be published in his lifetime, the last of these appearing in 2018.[37][6]


Having been diagnosed with advanced stage brain cancer just two months prior, Barry Stroud died on 9 August 2019.[38]

Announcing his death, Berkeley Philosophy Department recorded that:

His body of work, his influence on generations of students, his imprint on the character of our department, the example that he set of the purest philosophical inquiry — all of it is beyond reckoning. As hard as it is to imagine what philosophy at Berkeley will be like without him, it is even harder to imagine what it would have been.[38]

A memorial by former student, and fellow philosopher, John Schwenkler was published by 3 Quarks Daily on 19 August 2019.[39]

Obituaries in the Berkeley News and The Daily Californian followed shortly after.[40][41]



  • (1977) Hume (Arguments of the Philosophers) Routledge. ISBN 0415203635, 9780415203630
  • (1984) The Significance of Philosophical Scepticism. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-824761-6.
  • (1999) The Quest for Reality: Subjectivism and the Metaphysics of Colour. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-513388-2.
  • (2000) Understanding Human Knowledge: Philosophical Essays. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-825033-3.
  • (2000) Meaning, Understanding, and Practice: Philosophical Essays. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-825034-0.
  • (2011) Engagement and Metaphysical Dissatisfaction: Modality and Value. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-976496-9.
  • (2011) Philosophers Past and Present: Selected Essays. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-960859-1.
  • (2018) Seeing, Knowing, Understanding: Philosophical Essays. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-880975-3

Select articles/chapters

Full publications list: at UC Berkeley homepage.

See also


  1. ^ a b Fumerton, Richard (2012-06-18). "Review of The Possibility of Philosophical Understanding: Reflections on the Thought of Barry Stroud". Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. ISSN 1538-1617.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Shook, John R. (2016-02-11). "Stroud, Barry (1935-)". The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Philosophers in America: From 1600 to the Present. Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 9781472570543.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Hull, Richard T. (2013), Biography: Barry Greenwood Stroud, American Philosophical Association Centennial Series, Philosophy Documentation Center, pp. 367–368, doi:10.5840/apapa201359, retrieved 2019-08-15
  4. ^ a b The Study of Human Nature and the Subjectivity of Value THE TANNER LECTURES ON HUMAN VALUES Delivered at The University of Buenos Aires June 7, 1988 (republished in Philosophers Past and Present. ISBN 9780199608591.)
  5. ^ Stroud, Barry (2018). Seeing, Knowing, Understanding: Philosophical Essays. Oxford University Press. p. 29. ISBN 9780198809753.
  6. ^ a b Stroud, Barry (2018-05-31). Seeing, Knowing, Understanding: Philosophical Essays. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oso/9780198809753.001.0001. ISBN 9780191859205.
  7. ^ a b "UC Berkeley - Department of Philosophy". 28 August 2016. Archived from the original on 12 August 2019. Retrieved 2019-08-12.
  8. ^ a b "Professor Barry Stroud". The British Academy. Retrieved 2019-08-11.
  9. ^ a b c "Barry Stroud". Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  10. ^ "John Simon Guggenheim Foundation | Barry Stroud". Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  11. ^ "British Academy Fellows, Record for: STROUD, Professor Barry". Archived from the original on 2015-07-09. Retrieved 2015-07-08.
  12. ^ "American Academy of Arts and Sciences [Member Search]". Retrieved 2019-08-10.
  13. ^ "The John Locke Lectures | Faculty of Philosophy". Retrieved 2019-08-11.
  14. ^ Stroud, Barry (2008). "The Pursuit of Philosophy". Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association. 82 (2): 117–129. ISSN 0065-972X. JSTOR 27654057.
  15. ^ "John Dewey Lectures - The American Philosophical Association". Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  16. ^ Stroud, Barry (2009). "The Transparency of "Naturalism"". Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association. 83 (2): 157–169. ISSN 0065-972X. JSTOR 25656207.
  17. ^ "Patrick Romanell Lecture - The American Philosophical Association". Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  18. ^ "Sképsis | Number 14 On Barry Stroud on Skepticism". Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  19. ^ "Barry Stroud - Bibliography". Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  21. ^ "ANPOF - Nota de Falecimento do Prof. Barry Stroud" [Note of Death of Prof. Barry Stroud]. (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  22. ^ "'Pessoas estão mais ricas, mas vida hoje é mais pobre', diz filósofo - 09/12/2014 - Mercado" ['People are richer, but life today is poorer,' says philosopher']. Folha de S.Paulo (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  23. ^ Stroud, Barry. (1977). Hume. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. ISBN 0710086016. OCLC 3514852.
  24. ^ Review of Barry Stroud, Hume R. F. Atkinson Hume Studies Volume IV, Number 2 (November, 1978), 79-85
  25. ^ Livingston, Donald W. (1979). "Review of Hume". Eighteenth-Century Studies. 13 (1): 100–103. doi:10.2307/2738073. ISSN 0013-2586. JSTOR 2738073.
  26. ^ Long, Douglas C. (1982). "Review of Hume". Noûs. 16 (3): 474–477. doi:10.2307/2216224. ISSN 0029-4624. JSTOR 2216224.
  27. ^ Williams, Michael (1978). "Review of Hume". The Philosophical Review. 87 (4): 633–635. doi:10.2307/2184470. ISSN 0031-8108. JSTOR 2184470.
  28. ^ Stroud, Barry (1984-07-05). The Significance of Philosophical Scepticism. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/0198247613.001.0001. ISBN 9780191598494.
  29. ^ Allen, Keith (2011). The Quest for Reality: Subjectivism and the Metaphysics of Colour, by Barry Stroud [Final Draft Preprint]. Published version: Mind. 120 (480): 1306–1309. doi:10.1093/mind/fzr090. ISSN 0026-4423.
  30. ^ Colour, World and Archimedean Metaphysics: Stroud and the Quest for Reality Justin Broackes [Draft Preprint] published version: Broackes, J. Erkenntnis (2007) 66: 27.
  31. ^ Moore, A. W. (2004). "The Metaphysics of Perspective: Tense and Colour" (PDF). Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. 68 (2): 387–394. doi:10.1111/j.1933-1592.2004.tb00350.x. ISSN 0031-8205.
  32. ^ Khlentzos, Drew (2011-12-19). "Review of Engagement and Metaphysical Dissatisfaction: Modality and Value". Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. ISSN 1538-1617.
  33. ^ Sarah Stroud (2016). "Stroud on Scepticism and Subjectivism about Value" (PDF). Sképsis. 7 (14): 207–217. ISSN 1981-4194.. Revised and shortened version of her chapter in The Possibility of Philosophical Understanding (2011).
  34. ^ Hannah Ginsborg (2011). "Inside and Outside Language: Stroud's Nonreductionism about Meaning" (PDF). In Jason Bridges; Niko Kolodny; Wai-Hung Wong (eds.). The Possibility of Philosophical Understanding: Reflections on the Thought of Barry Stroud. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 147–181.
  35. ^ Bridges, Jason; Kolodny, Niko; Wong, Wai-hung (2011). The Possibility of Philosophical UnderstandingReflections on the Thought of Barry Stroud. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381658.001.0001. ISBN 9780195381658.
  36. ^ The Quest to Understand Philosophy [Final Draft (Preprint)] Jason Bridges, Niko, Kolodny, published form (2011): DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381658.003.0001
  37. ^ Elgin, Catherine Z. (2019-05-05). "Review of Seeing, Knowing, Understanding". Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. ISSN 1538-1617.
  38. ^ a b UC Berkeley - Department of Philosophy. "Barry Stroud (1935-2019)". Archived from the original on 2019-08-13. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  39. ^ Schwenkler, John (2019-08-19). "In Memoriam: Barry Stroud (1935-2019)". 3 Quarks Daily. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
  40. ^ Anwar, Yasmin (2019-08-21). "Barry Stroud, influential, independent-minded philosopher, dies at 84". Berkeley News. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  41. ^ Staff, Maya Akkaraju | (2019-08-28). "UC Berkeley professor of philosophy Barry Stroud dies at age 84". The Daily Californian. Archived from the original on 18 December 2023. Retrieved 2019-09-14.
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Barry Stroud
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