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Nicholas Wolterstorff (born January 21, 1932 in Bigelow, Minnesota) is the Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology, and Fellow of Berkeley College at Yale University. A prolific writer with wide-ranging philosophical and theological interests, he has written books on metaphysics, aesthetics, political philosophy, epistemology and theology and philosophy of religion. Together with other philosophers (Alvin Plantinga, William Alston and Richard Mouw) Wolterstorff helped to establish the journal Faith and Philosophy and the Society of Christian Philosophers. He has often collaborated with Alvin Plantinga.


Education and academic career


University Positions:

Visiting Professorships:

Professional distinctions

  • President of the American Philosophical Association (Central Division)
  • President of the Society of Christian Philosophers

Endowed lectureships


While an undergraduate, Wolterstorff was greatly influenced by Calvin College professors Harry Jellema, Henry Stob and Henry Zylstra, who introduced him to themes that have dominated his mature thinking: Reformed theology and Common Sense philosophy (these twin themes also shaped the thinking of Wolterstorff's friend and colleague Alvin Plantinga, another alumnus of Calvin College).

Wolterstorff builds upon the ideas of the Scottish common sense philosopher Thomas Reid, who approached knowledge "from the bottom-up". Instead of reasoning about transcendental conditions of knowledge, Wolterstorff suggests that knowledge and our knowing faculties are not the subject of our research but have to be seen as its starting point. Wolterstorff rejects classical foundationalism and instead sees knowledge as based upon insights in reality which are direct and indubitable. As there is no foundation of certainties, one is left with the question of how to interpret reality, which leads into the domain of hermeneutics.



Selected writings

  • Art in Action: Toward a Christian Aesthetic. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1980
  • Divine Discourse: Philosophical Reflections on the Claim That God Speaks. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995
  • Educating for Responsible Action. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (CSI Publications), 1980
  • 'Faith and Rationality: Reason and Belief in God. Alvin Plantinga and Nicholas Wolterstorff, eds. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984
  • John Locke and the Ethics of Belief. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996
  • Lament for a Son. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1987
  • On Universals: an Essay in Ontology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970
  • Reason within the Bounds of Religion. 2nd ed. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1984
  • Religion in the Public Square [with R. Audi]. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1997)
  • Thomas Reid and the Story of Epistemology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001
  • Until Justice and Peace Embrace. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1983
  • Justice: Rights and Wrongs. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008)
  • Works and Worlds of Art. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980
  • "Suffering Love". Philosophy and the Christian Faith. Thomas V. Morris, ed. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1988
  • Rationality in the Calvinian Tradition. [ed. with H. Hart & J. van der Hoeven]. Lanham, MD: Univ. of America Press, 1980
  • Education for Shalom: Essays on Christian Higher Education. Ed. Clarence W. Joldersma and Gloria G. Stronks. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004
  • "Resuscitating the Author" in Hermeneutics at the Crossroads (Indiana University, 2006), ed. Kevin J. Vanhoozer, James K.A. Smith, and Bruce Ellis Benson


  • Sloane, Andrew, On Being A Christian in the Academy: Nicholas Wolterstorff and the Practice of Christian Scholarship, Paternoster, Carlisle UK, 2003.

See also


External links


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