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Dr. Joshua Cohen, a widely known scholar in the fields of philosophy and political science, is the new holder of the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professorship in the Department of Political Science.
The announcement was made by the Provost, Dr. Joel Moses, who said the appointment to the professorship was in recognition of Professor Cohen's "outstanding scholarship and valued contributions to MIT."
The professorship, first held by the late Ithiel de Sola Pool and later by Walter Dean Burnham, was established in 1961 by Dr. Arthur W. Sloan, a noted chemist and former chairman of the board and executive vice president of the Atlantic Research Corp., and his wife, Dr. Ruth C. Sloan, a distinguished historian.
Dr. Cohen received both the BA (summa cum laude) and MA degrees in philosophy from Yale University in 1973, and the PhD from Harvard University in 1979.
He came to MIT as an instructor in philosophy and political science in 1977, and in 1979 became an assistant professor with a joint appointment in the Departments of Linguistics and Philosophy and Political Science. He was promoted to associate professor in 1984, and to professor of philosophy and political science in 1990.
He was a visiting associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin in January 1989 and a visiting associate professor of philosophy at Princeton University in the spring of 1989.
Dr. Cohen gained an early reputation as a scholar with his first book, On Democracy, which he wrote jointly with Joel Rogers. Published in 1983 by Penguin Books in England, it was highly regarded as an important work on the nature of democracy in a capitalist society. It has been followed by three other books, also co-authored with Mr. Rogers-Inequity and Intervention: The Federal Budget and Central America (South End Press, Boston 1986), Rules of the Game (South End Press, 1986) and Secondary Associations (London, Verso, 1995).
He also has edited two collections and has written essays and articles for a number of journals and other publications, and is on the advisory board of several other publications. His writing in progress includes three more books. He is editor of the magazine, Boston Review, associate editor of the journal, Philosophy and Public Affairs, and is on the editorial board of the journal Politics and Society.
Professor Cohen also has been honored repeatedly for his teaching, winning the Teaching Award given by the Department of Political Science in 1982, 1985 and 1989, and the Harold E. Edgerton Award for outstanding research, teaching and creativity in 1984.
Dean Philip S. Khoury of the School of Humanities and Social Science commented that "Josh Cohen is a remarkable undergraduate teacher and legendary doctoral dissertation supervisor in two distinct disciplines. He is also one of the outstanding political, theorists of his generation in the world."
Dr. Cohen's other fellowships and honors include National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships in 1985-86 and 1990, MIT's Levitan Prize in the Humanities in 1989, an American Council of Learned Societies fellowship in 1985-86, and an Old Dominion fellowship and Harvard's Francis Bowen Prize for his doctoral thesis in political philosophy.
He is a member of the American Philosophical Association and the American Political Science Association.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 13, 1995.