A Political Philosopher Speaks

By: Caitlin Hayes; Photos by Jesse Winter,  Cornell Research
May 14, 2017

As a graduate student, Richard W. Miller, Philosophy, became deeply interested in the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein. In his dissertation, he grappled with Wittgenstein’s attempts to dissolve the question, “Does anything exist except my own experience?” It was the early 1970s, however. The Vietnam War was growing bloodier by the day, and while he wrote about solipsism and language, Miller also protested. Soon, his activism began to more directly steer his intellectual path.

“The anti-war movement was what made me interested in political philosophy,” Miller says. “What to think about the nature of political power in the United States became very practically important.”

While writing in a number of areas over the years—from epistemology to aesthetics to philosophy of science—Miller has grown increasingly focused on political philosophy and the nature of social and political justice, internationally and within borders. “My central hope for my work,” he says, “is that it will help people make the right political choices and discuss their political differences in morally insightful ways.”

Continue this article about his research on Cornell Research

Richard Miller