University Professor Thomas Nagel has been awarded a 2008 Balzan Prize for his work in moral philosophy. Nagel was one of four to receive the prize which carries a cash award of $885,000 (1 million Swiss francs). He was selected “for his fundamental and innovative contributions to contemporary ethical theory, relating to both individual, personal choices and collective, social decisions,” said Salvatore Veca, vice chairman of the Institute for Advanced Study and a member of the Balzan Prize Committee.
"Thomas Nagel is one of America’s most distinguished living philosophers," says University Professor Samuel Scheffler, who joined both NYU's Philosophy Department and the Law School this year and was once a student of Nagel's. "He has done pioneering work in a number of different areas of the subject. His writings are notable for their depth, judiciousness, and deep seriousness of purpose. He has an uncanny ability to cut to the heart of a complex issue without in any way oversimplifying it. He is also a gifted essayist who writes with clarity and conviction about the philosophical dimension of issues of public concern, and his writings for non-specialist publications have attracted a wide and appreciative audience. This splendid new award, the latest in a series of extraordinary honors, testifies to the global influence of his work and is yet another indication of the magnitude of his philosophical achievement."
The Balzan Prize is just the latest in a series of honors for Nagel. Earlier this year, he was awarded an Honorary D.Litt., from Oxford University, and was also given Sweden’s Schock Prize for his scholarship in logic and philosophy. In 2006, he won the Distinguished Achievement Award, from the Mellon Foundation. Nagel is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the British Academy, and a member of the American Philosophical Society. and an Honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He has held fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and has delivered the John Locke Lectures at Oxford, the Alfred North Whitehead Lectures at Harvard, and the Storrs Lectures at Yale.