Heil awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

Grant will support a book devoted to relationship between physics and the world as we see it

(Courtesy of John Simon Guggenheim Foundation)

John Heil has been selected as a 2018 recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, making him the eighth Washington University in St. Louis faculty member so honored since 2010.

Heil, professor of philosophy in Arts & Sciences, was among 175 awardees of the 93-year-old fellowship announced April 5. Fellows were selected from a pool of nearly 3,000 applicants from the United States and Canada.


“It’s exceptionally satisfying to name 175 new Guggenheim Fellows,” said Edward Hirsch, president of the foundation. “These artists and writers, scholars and scientists, represent the best of the best.”

Fellows are selected based on prior achievement and exceptional promise. Fellowships include a grant intended to support artists, scholars in the humanities and social sciences, and scientific researchers.

Heil, who was traveling with his wife, Harrison, in Australia when he was notified of the fellowship, said, “I was floored, thrilled and honored.”

The grant will provide Heil time to complete a book he is working on that explores the relation between the world as it appears to us and the world as it is revealed by fundamental physics. It will draw from his previous works “From an Ontological Point of View” and “The Universe as We Find It,” taking themes from them in a new direction.

In 2013, Heil was selected as inaugural editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Philosophical Association and has been interviewed in several philosophy and literary outlets, including 3:AM Magazine and Biggest Questions. He is listed among the “50 Most Influential Living Philosophers” by TheBestSchools.org.

Heil’s Guggenheim Fellowship is the eighth awarded to Arts & Sciences faculty in the past eight years. Previous winners are:

  • Christopher A. Stark, assistant professor of music composition, in 2017;
  • Glenn Stone, professor of sociocultural anthropology and of environmental studies, in 2016;
  • Susan Rotroff, the Jarvis Thurston & Mona Van Duyn Professor Emerita in classics, and Leigh E. Schmidt, the Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor, in 2013;
  • John R. Bowen, the Dunbar-Van Cleve Professor of sociocultural anthropology, in 2012;
  • Pascal Boyer, the Henry Luce Professor of Collective and Individual Memory, in 2011; and
  • and Matthew J. Gabel, associate chair and professor of political science, in 2010.
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