Adolf Grünbaum, 1923–2018

Nicole Scott

Adolf Grünbaum was born in Germany in 1923 and immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1938. From a young age, he had philosophical questions that led to theistic research and the declaration of his atheism just before his bar mitzvah. After learning English in the United States, he earned his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University in 1943, spent two years in the U.S. Army as a Ritchie Boy (a bilingual intelligence analyst), and earned his master’s degree in physics and PhD in philosophy from Yale University in 1948 and 1951, respectively. Grünbaum started his teaching career at Lehigh University, drawing top names in philosophy to the Pittsburgh area, which only grew with the creation of the Center for Philosophy of Science in 1960. He was a faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh for nearly sixty years and helped make its philosophy department number one in the country.

Grünbaum authored twelve books and nearly four hundred articles, mainly dealing with the philosophy of physics, the theory of scientific rationality, the philosophy of psychiatry, and the critique of theism. He was a contributing editor of Free Inquiry.

Grünbaum died November 15, 2018, at the age of ninety-five.

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