Biography:Stephen F. Barker

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Stephen Francis Barker (January 11, 1927[1] – December 16, 2019[2])[3] was an American philosopher of mathematics, a professor emeritus of philosophy at Johns Hopkins University and a faculty member at the University of Southern California,[4] the University of Virginia and Ohio State University.[5]

Barker did his undergraduate studies at Swarthmore College and earned a doctorate from Harvard University in 1954.[5][6] While at Harvard, he won the Bechtel Prize in 1951 for his essay, "A Study of Phenomenalism".[7] As a young instructor at the University of Southern California, Harvard awarded him the George Santayana Fellowship for the academic year 1954–55.[4] He joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1964.[6]

Barker's wife, Evelyn A. Barker, was also a philosopher.[8]


Barker is the author of:

  • Induction and hypothesis: a study of the logic of confirmation (Cornell University Press, 1957). This study of theories of informal reasoning is structured in four parts: an investigation of the problem of induction, a rejection of explanations based on overriding premises (such as the uniformity of nature) as a form of begging the question, an overview of positivist approaches to the problem, and finally a resolution to the problem based on theories of John George Kemeny involving the selection of the most likely hypothesis to fit a set of observations.[9]
  • Philosophy of mathematics (Prentice-Hall, 1964). Part of a series of books (edited by Elizabeth and Monroe Beardsley) overviewing the main areas of philosophy, this book describes the main problems in the philosophy of mathematics and evaluates their proposed solutions. Its five chapters concern Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry, and literalist and non-literalist views on the meaning of numbers.[10][11]
  • The elements of logic (McGraw Hill, 1965)
  • Thomas Reid critical interpretations (with Tom L. Beauchamp, Philosophical monographs, 1976)

In addition, he edited John Wisdom's Proof and explanation: the Virginia lectures (University Press of America, 1991), co-edited The Legacy of logical positivism; studies in the philosophy of science with Peter Achinstein (Johns Hopkins Press, 1969),[12]


  1. Foundation, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial (December 24, 1963). "Reports of the President and of the Treasurer". John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.,+1927&dq=Stephen+Francis+Barker+January+11,+1927&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjG-o6D987mAhVNQhoKHWSSCB0Q6AEILDAB. 
  2. "Stephen Barker Obituary (2019) | Baltimore, Maryland". 
  3. "Longtime philosophy Professor Stephen Barker dies at 92". December 20, 2019. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Dr. Barker Receives Harvard Fellowship," Daily Trojan, Vol. 46, No. 136, May 16, 1955
  5. 5.0 5.1 Faculty profile, JHU, retrieved 2011-06-10.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "32 Appointed at Homewood", The Baltimore Sun, September 23, 1964 .
  7. "Eleven Awarded Annual Prizes From Essay Endowment Funds", The Harvard Crimson, June 7, 1951, .
  8. "Evelyn A. Barker, philosophy teacher", Boston Globe, July 6, 2003 .
  9. Review of Induction and hypothesis by R. Harré (1962), Mind (New Ser.) 71 (283): 412–420, JSTOR 2252092.
  10. Review. "Philosophy of mathematics by Stanley J. Bezuszka (1964)". Science 145 (3633): 694–695. doi:10.1126/science.145.3633.694-a. 
  11. Review of Philosophy of mathematics by P. J. Davis, MR0160705.
  12. Review of The Legacy of logical positivism by John M. Frame, Westminster Theological Journal 34 (2): 199–201.

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