Robert J. Richards


Morris Fishbein Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Science and Medicine

The University of Chicago


*     University Position

*     Interests

*     Current Project; Video Summation of Current Project

*     Publications

*     Courses

*     Honors

*  Contact Information
*     Links


University Position

Professor in the Departments of History, Philosophy, Psychology, and in the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science

Director of the Fishbein Center for the History of Science and Medicine.


Back to top


I do research in history and philosophy of psychology and biology. This includes particular interest in evolutionary theory, biopsychology, ethology, and sociobiology. Concerning philosophic and metahistoric problems, I have argued for a revaluation of evolutionary ethics and have explored the causal, temporal, and moral grammar of historiography. I have written two books on the history and philosophy of evolutionary theory in Britain and America (see bibliography). I have also published a book that describes and analyzes the impact of the German Romantic movement on philosophy and science in the age of Goethe. A related book focuses on evolutionary theory in Germany during the late nineteenth century through the Nazi period, with special emphasis on Ernst Haeckel. I have published on collection of essays; the title essay is Was Hitler a Darwinian? Recently I co-authored a book with Michael Ruse, entitled Debating Darwin--we do not agree. Currently I am working on a book with the theme of "talent vs. genius" in the history of science. My teaching involves the aforementioned subjects as well as more general courses on history and philosophy of science in the ancient period, philosophy of history, and German intellectual history.

Current Project

*     Science and Aesthetics, an Introduction


Back to top







The George Sarton Medal, in recognition of distinguished scholarship and contributions to the advancement of the History of Science, given by the History of Science Society, 2011

Distinguished Service Professor, 2011

The Laing Prize, University of Chicago Press, for The Tragic Sense of Life, 2011

Corresponding Member, Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, 2010
Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, 2004-2005
Ryerson Memorial Lecturer, University of Chicago, 2005
The Morris Fishbein Chair in the History of Science and Medicine, 2004

The Laing Prize, The University of Chicago Press, for The Romantic Conception of Life, 2003.

The University of Chicago Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching, 1995
The Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for  Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 1982 
Pfizer Prize of the History of Science Society, 1988, for Darwin and the Emergence
Award of the International BioPhilosophy Forum (Belgium) for Darwin and the Emergence, 1989.
Fidia Lecturer, Harvard University, 1989.

Andrew Mellon Faculty Fellow, Harvard University, 1983-1984.


Contact Information


Web address:

Office phone:773-702-8348

Address: Fishbein Center for History of Science and Medicine

The University of Chicago

1126 E. 59th St.

Chicago, IL 60637







Back to top



*     Department of History

*     Department of Philosophy

*     Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science

*     Fishbein Center for the History of Science