MacArthur Fellows Program

Patricia Smith Churchland

Philosopher | Class of 1991

La Jolla, California
48 at time of award
Area of Focus
Published July 1, 1991

Patricia Churchland is a philosopher and neuroscientist who explores the interrelationship of cognition and its neural substrate.

Churchland has combined her training in philosophy with knowledge of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and cognitive science to sketch a more constructive model of the link between neuroscience and the nature of thought.  She has written extensively on how empirical research helps to restructure traditional problems in the philosophy of mind and to explore the changes in our self-conception that such research may provoke.  Her studies have had an effect on fields beyond neuroscience, such as semiconductor circuit technology and robotics.

Churchland is the author of Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Science of the Mind-Brain (1986) and Brain-Wise: Studies in Neurophilosophy (2002).  She is co-author of The Computational Brain (1992) and Mind-Brain Continuum: Sensory Processes (1996).  She was a professor at the University of Manitoba (1969-1984) and a visiting professor at the Institute for Advanced Study (1982-83).  Since 1984, she has been at the University of California, San Diego where she is the University of California President's Professor of Philosophy.

Churchland received a B.A. (1965) from the University of British Columbia, an M.A. (1966) from the University of Pittsburgh, and a B.Phil. (1969) from the University of Oxford.

Last updated January 1, 2005

Select News About Patricia Smith Churchland
June 28, 2019
"Is Morality Hard-Wired into Our Brains?"
The New York Times
Patricia Smith Churchland , 1991 MacArthur Fellow
April 14, 2015
"MacArthur Fellow Patricia Churchland Speaks Thursday at MSU"
Mississippi State University
Patricia Smith Churchland , 1991 MacArthur Fellow
October 2, 2014
"Consciousness and the Soul"
Patricia Smith Churchland , 1991 MacArthur Fellow
July 29, 2013
"Guides to a Journey Into the Brain"
The New York Times
Patricia Smith Churchland , 1991 MacArthur Fellow
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