Biographical Statement

Mark H. Bickhard

Born Nov 2, 1945 in Ft. Wayne, Indiana -- it would have been Nov 3 if I/we had been a few miles east. Grew up in Wichita, Kansas, the self-proclaimed air capital of the world. Very early adolescent crises seriously disturbed the fragile stability of his mind, leading him to worry about how he could possibly know that there is a world out there, not to mention that killing people is wrong. He's been worrying about such things ever since: stability has not been re-attained.

Started at the University of Chicago in 1963 in physics, but soon discovered that the really interesting physics was reserved for graduate students, so switched to mathematics before having taken any physics courses. Through a convoluted sequence of events, he graduated in 1966 with a B.S. in mathematics and entered the Committee on Human Development at the University of Chicago that Fall. He pursued a master's degree in statistics, a clinical psychology training program, and a dissertation in theoretical and developmental psychology. Stability evaporated completely. Worries about whether there is a world came to include worries about what it could possibly be, assuming there is one. He still reads theoretical physics in atonement for that youthful indiscretion.

Began eighteen years at the University of Texas at Austin in 1972 in the Department of Educational Psychology. Writing requires stability, which wasn't to be found. Turned down for tenure three times, and finally tenured via a strange set of circumstances on the fourth try (yes, I know that's not supposed to be possible). Discovered that other people in the world -- assuming that there is one -- might have some interest in his worries about whether they exist and about what these strange entities called "people" might be, so writing became easier. Writing does not require stability.

Moved to Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1990 as Henry R. Luce Professor of Cognitive Robotics and the Philosophy of Knowledge. Worries about whether the world exists, how we could know, and what it could possibly be, fit the job description. Has now published many books and papers worrying. Occasionally even gets other people to worry along with him -- assuming that they exist.

Current interests include: How can I/we/anyone/anything know that the world exists? What could it possible be? Especially, what could persons -- representation, rationality, esthetics, morality -- be in a world of quantum fields? Stability is a foreign word. Worrying about the world is a full time job.

Return to my home page.