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Richard C. Jeffrey Papers



What's online?

Selected portions of the papers are scanned and online.

What’s in the entire collection?

The Jeffrey Papers include biographical material, correspondence, research and lecture notes, teaching documents, and drafts of published and unpublished writings by Jeffrey and others. Series I comprises biographical information. Included in the correspondence series (Series II) are extensive exchanges with Jeffrey's close colleagues, teachers, friends, and collaborators such as Rudolf Carnap, Carl Gustav Hempel, and Brian Skyrms. Materials in the research series (Series III) range from sketchy outlines, typescripts and documents reflecting Jeffrey's collaborations with Carnap, to numerous grant proposals and projects that are indicative of Jeffrey's research interests at the time. Series IV focuses on Jeffrey's writings and publications including manuscript drafts, lecture notes, and his editorial work, which centers mainly on the publication of Hempel's Selected Philosophical Essays. Series V covers material from Jeffrey's teaching activities, such as syllabi, teaching notes, reading lists, and exams. Series VI contains writings by others in form of unpublished drafts or annotated published pieces.

About Richard C. Jeffrey

Richard Jeffrey is considered to be one of the most influential philosophers of decision-making in the 20th century. His work is unified by his development of Bayesianism, the view that making up one's mind is a matter of adopting judgmental probabilities. Likewise, he advocated radical probabilism by denying objective probability and abandoning attempts to analyze judgment into a rational and an empirical component.

Jeffrey was born in 1926 in Boston, Massachusetts. He earned his M.A. in Philosophy at the University of Chicago in 1952 and his Ph.D. at Princeton University in 1957. After holding academic positions at City College of New York, Stanford University, and the University of Pennsylvania, he joined the faculty of Princeton University in 1974 and became a professor emeritus there in 1999. He was also a visiting professor at the University of California, Irvine.

His philosophical career is closely connected to the story of 20th century philosophy, and most of his teachers had participated in the development of Logical Positivism in Vienna and Berlin in the twenties and early thirties. He collaborated with Rudolf Carnap at Chicago, with Kurt Gödel at the Institute for Advanced Study, and with Carl Gustav Hempel at Princeton. Jeffrey passed away on November 9, 2002.

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