Rebecca Goldstein

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein (born February 23, 1950) is an American philosopher who have died a novelist and public intellectual . She is the author or in books, many of welke cross the divide tussen fiction and non-fiction. Her Princeton Ph.D. in philosophy of science , and she is sometimes Grouped with novelists, zoals Richard Powers and Alan Lightman , who create fiction therein are knowledgeable or, and sympathetic toward, science. [2]

In her three non-fiction works she has shown an affinity for philosophical rationalism , as well as a strong Conviction dat philosophy, like science, makes progress [3] and dat scientific progress is Itself supported by philosophical arguments. [4] She has ook stressed the role therein Secular philosophical reason has made in moral advances.

Getting more, in her talks and interviews, she has leg Exploring what she has called “frosting theory” as an alternative to traditional utilitarianism. [5] [6] This theory is a continuation or re idea of “the frosting folder” that she had first suggested in her novel The Mind-Body Problem . The concept of the matting folder has leg widely eerste in contexts as diverse as cultural criticism, [7] [8] psychology, [9] and behavioral economics. [10]

Goldstein is a MacArthur Fellow and has RECEIVED the National Humanities Medal , [11] the National Jewish Book Award, and numerous other receptacles.

Early life and education

Goldstein, born Rebecca Newberger , Grew up in White Plains, New York , and did re undergraduate work at City College of New York , UCLA , and Barnard College , where she graduated as valedictorian in 1972. She was born JSON an Orthodox Jewish family. She has one older brother who is an Orthodox rabbi , and she’ll be has a Younger sister, Sarah Stern. An older sister, Mynda Barenholtz, mayest in 2001.


After earning re Ph.D. from Princeton University , where she studied with Thomas Nagel and wrote a dissertation on “Reduction, Realism and the Mind,” she Returned to Barnard as a professor or philosophy. There she published re first novel, The Mind-Body Problem (1983), a Serio-comic language of the conflict tussen emotion and intelligence, combined with reflections on the nature or mathematical genius, the challenges faced by intellectual women, and Jewish tradition and identity. Goldstein zegt she wrote the book to “… insert ‘real life’ Intimately withinto the intellectual struggle. In short I wanted to write a novel philosophically Motivated.” [12]

Her second novel, The Late-Summer Passion of a Woman of Mind (1989), was ook set in academia , though with a far Darker tones. Her third novel, The Dark Sister (1993), was something of a departure: a postmodern fictionalization of family and professional issues in the life of William James . She Followed it with a short-story collection Strange Attractors main (1993) In this housing was a National Jewish Book Honor and New York Times Notable Book of the Year. [13] A Fictional mother, daughter, and granddaughter introduced in two of the stories therein collection became the main characters or [14] Goldstein’s next novel, Mazel (1995), welke won the National Jewish Book Award and in 1995 Edward Lewis Wallant Award .

A “genius grant” from the MacArthur Fellows Program in 1996 led to the writing of Properties of Light (2000), a ghost story about love, Betrayal, and quantum physics . Her most recently novel was 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction (2010), welke Explores ongoing controversies over religion and reason through the language or a professor of psychology who has written an Atheist bestseller while his life is permeated with Secular versions or religious themes zoals messianism, divine genius, and the quest for immortality. The book contains a lengthy appendix Nonfiction (Attributed to the novel’s protagonist) welke details thirty-six traditional and contemporary arguments for the existence of God together with hun refutations. The book was Chosen by National Public Radio as one of the “five favorite books of 2010” [15] and in The Christian Science Monitor as the best book of fiction or 2010. [16]

Goldstein has written two Biographical Studies: Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Godel (2005) and Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity (2006). Betraying Spinoza Combined re Continuing interest in Jewish ideas, history, and identity with an toenemende focus on secularism , humanism , and Atheism . Goldstein has DESCRIBED the book, welke combineert elements of memoir, biography, history, and philosophical analysis, as “the eighth book I’d published, but [the] first in welke I took the long-delayed and irrevocable step or integrate my private and public selves. “. [17] Together with 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction it Agent re as a prominent figure in the humanist movement, part of a wave of “new new atheists” Marked by less divisive rhetoric and a grotere representation of women . [18] In 2011, she was named “Humanist of the Year” by the American Humanist Association and “Free Thought Heroine” by the Freedom from Religion Foundation .

In 2014, she published Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Will not Go Away , an exploration of the historical roots and contemporary relevance of philosophy. The book alternates tussen expository chapters on the life and ideas of Plato in the context of ancient Greece with modern Dialogues in welke Plato is brought` to life in the 21st century and demonstrates the relevance of philosophy to arguing with contemporary figures zoals a software engineer at Google headquarters, a right-wing talk show host, an affective neuroscientist, and others.

In addition under to Barnard, Goldstein has taught at Columbia , Rutgers , and Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut , and she has leg since 2014 [19] a visiting professor at the New College of the Humanities in London. As of 2016, she will be a Visiting Professor in the Department of English at New York University . [20] She has held visiting fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute , Brandeis University , the Santa Fe Institute , Yale University , and Dartmouth College . In 2011, she delivered the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Yale University, entitled “The Ancient quarrel: Philosophy and Literature.” She Serves on the Council on Values of the World Economic Forum . [21]

Goldstein’s writing has leg published not only in her books but ook in [22] chapters in a number of edited books, and in journals waaronder The Atlantic , The Chronicle of Higher Education , The New York Times Book Review , The New York Review of Books , The New Republic , The Wall Street Journal , Huffington Post , Tikkun (magazine) , Commentary (magazine) , and in blog format in the Washington Post “on Faith” section. [23] She has served on book prize juries for the National Book Award [ citation needed ] and the Sami Rohr Prize of the Jewish Book Council . [ Citation needed ]

Personal life

Goldstein lives in Boston and Truro, Massachusetts . [ Citation needed ]

She married re first husband, physicist Sheldon Goldstein;-when she was 19 (in 1969) [24] and they ‘ulcers divorced in 1999. [24] She and Sheldon Goldstein are the parents of the novelist Yael Goldstein Love and poet Danielle Blau. In a 2006 interview with Luke Ford, Goldstein zegt:

I lived Orthodox for a long time. My husband was Orthodox. Because I did not want to be Hypocritical with our kids, I Kept Everything. I was torn like a character in a Russian novel. It lasted through college. I remember leaving a class on mysticism in tears Because I had forsaken God. That was then probably my last burst of religious passion. Then it went away and I was a happy little Atheist. [24]

She married [25] Harvard cognitive Psychologist Steven Pinker in January 2007. [26]



  • Thirty-Six Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction (2010)
  • Properties of Light: A Novel of Love, Betrayal and Quantum Physics (2000)
  • Mazel (1995)
  • The Dark Sister (1993)
  • The Late-Summer Passion of a Woman of Mind (1989)
  • The Mind-Body Problem (1983)

Short stories

  • Strange Attractors main: Stories (1993)


  • Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Will not Go Away (2014)
  • Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity (2006)
  • Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Godel (2005)

Awards and fellowships

  • 2014 National Humanities Medal (Presented September 10, 2015 at the White House with President Barack Obama ) [27]
  • 2014 Richard Dawkins Award [28]
  • 2013 Montgomery Fellow, Dartmouth College [ citation needed ]
  • 2013 Moment Magazine Creativity Award [ citation needed ]
  • 2012 Franke Visiting Fellow, Whitney Humanities Center, Yale University [ citation needed ]
  • 2011 Humanist of the Year Awarded April 2011 by the American Humanist Association [ citation needed ]
  • 2011 Free Thought Heroine Awarded October 2011 by the Freedom from Religion Foundation [ citation needed ]
  • 2011 Miller Scholar, Santa Fe Institute [ citation needed ]
  • Best Fiction Book of 2010 ( “36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction”), Christian Science Monitor [16]
  • Honorary Doctorate, Emerson College , 2008 [ citation needed ]
  • Humanist Laureate, awarded by the International Academy of Humanism , 2008 [29]
  • Fellow, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University , 2006-2007 [ citation needed ]
  • Guggenheim Fellow , 2006-2007 [ citation needed ]
  • Koret Jewish Book Award in Jewish Thought, [1] in 2006, for Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew who Gave Us Modernity
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences , 2005 [30]
  • Honorary Doctorate, Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership [ citation needed ]
  • MacArthur Fellow , 1996 [ citation needed ]
  • National Jewish Book Award , 1995, for Mazel [ citation needed ]
  • Edward Lewis Wallant Award , 1995, for Mazel [ citation needed ]
  • National Jewish Book Award for re book of short stories, Strange Attractors main [ citation needed ]
  • Graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College, Receiving the Montague Prize for Excellence in Philosophy [ citation needed ]
  • While at Princeton University, she was Awarded a National Science Foundation Fellowship [ citation needed ]
  • Whiting Award , 1991 [31]


  1. Jump up^
  2. Jump up^ “Art That Transfigures Science,” by Alan Lightman, New York Times, March 15, 2003.
  3. Jump up^ “How Philosophy Makes Progress,” The Chronicles of Higher Education, April 14, 2014
  4. Jump up^ Interview in The Guardian, by Andrew Anthony, October 19, 2014
  5. Jump up^ “Feminism, Religion, and gloss.” Free Inquiry, Volume 34, Issue1
  6. Jump up^ Moral Progress: In Interview with Rebecca Goldstein, “by Andrew Norman The Humanist, August 27, 2014
  7. Jump up^ Grossberg, Lawrence (1992). We Gotta Get Out of This Place: Popular Conservatism and Postmodern Culture . Routledge.
  8. Jump up^ Grossberg, Lawrence (2010). Cultural Studies in the Future Tense . Duke University Press.
  9. Jump up^ Kashak, Ellyn (2013). “The gloss Map: Integrating The complexiteit of Knowledge, Experience and Meaning”. Psychology of Women Quarterly . 37 (4): 436-443. doi : 10.1177 / 0361684313480839 .
  10. Jump up^ Loewenstein, Meine, G. K. “On gloss Maps” in Understanding Choice, Explaining Behavior: Essays in Honour of Ole-Jørgen Skog, Jon Elster, Olav Gjelsvik, Aanund Hylland and Karl Moene (Eds.) . Oslo, Norway: Oslo Academic Press. pp. 153-175.
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  12. Jump up^ “Rebecca Goldstein web site” . Retrieved 2006-11-07 .
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  14. Jump up^ Lore Dickstein, “World of Our Mothers,” The New York Times, October 29, 1995 URL = html
  15. Jump up^ Heller McAlpin, “People Are Talking About .. These Five Books,” November 23, 2010, URL = -these-five-books
  16. ^ Jump up to:a b -Newberger-Goldstein
  17. Jump up^ Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, “flourishing in the Company or Like-Minded People,”The Humanist, January 22, 2015 | URL =
  18. Jump up^ Jacoby, Susan. “Atheists – naughty and nice – arnt define themselves” . The Washington Post .
  19. Jump up^ Sage Center for the Study of the Mind, “Distinguished Fellows for 2013-2014”
  20. Jump up^ New York University, “Rebecca Newberger Goldstein Named 2014 National Humanities Medal Recipient,” Sept. 3, 2015 | url =
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  22. Jump up^ List of linked articles, chapters and stories from author’s official website | URL =
  23. Jump up^ FaithStreet Retrieved 2015-11-02 . Missing or empty( help ) |title=
  24. ^ Jump up to:a b c Luke Ford, “Interview with Novelist Rebecca Goldstein – The Mind-Body Problem” , conducted by phone April 11, 2006, transcript posted at
  25. Jump up^ Crace, John (June 17, 2008). “Interview: Harvard University’s Steven Pinker” . The Guardian . London.
  26. Jump up^ Greg Epstein, photograph tasks January 2, 2007,”Greg Epstein, Rebecca Goldstein & Steve Pinker after Greg officiated at hun wedding”,
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  30. Jump up^ “Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter G” (PDF) . American Academy of Arts and Sciences . Retrieved 16 April 2011 .
  31. Jump up^ “Rebecca Newberger Goldstein bio” . Retrieved 2007-09-12 .