Ernan McMullin died in February 2011. He had been Professor emeritus of philosophy and Director emeritus of the Program in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Notre Dame. His areas of interest were contemporary philosophy of science, the history of the philosophy of science, and the interactions both historical and philosophical between religious belief and the natural sciences.

He took degrees in physics and theology before being awarded a Ph.D. in philosophy of science at the University of Louvain in 1954. He taught at the University of Notre Dame from 1954 to 2003. He served as a visiting professor at the universities of Cape Town, Minnesota, UCLA, Princeton, and Yale.

He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the International Academy of the History of Science, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He served at different times as President of the four major philosophical associations in the United States.

He was the author or editor of 14 books and was also the author of more than 200 articles, the most recent of which are listed below.

Publications include


  • The Concept of Matter (1963)
  • Galileo: Man of Science (1967)
  • Newton on Matter and Activity (1978)
  • The Inference That Makes Science (1992)
  • The Church and Galileo (2005)


  • “The impact of Newton’s Principia on the philosophy of science” (2001)
  • “The origins of the field concept in physics” (2002)
  • “Philosophy of science, 1950—2000” (2002)
  • “Van Fraassen’s unappreciated realism” (2003)
  • “Evolution as a Christian theme” (2005)
  • “Tuning fine tuning” (2006)
  • “Explanation as confirmation in Descartes’ natural philosophy” (in the press)
  • “The virtues of a good theory” (in the press)
  • “Hypothesis in early modern science” (in the press).

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