BLACK, MAX (1909–1988), U.S. philosopher. Black was born in Baku, Russia, and educated in Germany and England. He received his B.A. from Queens College, Cambridge in 1930 and was awarded a fellowship to study at Goettingen. He received his Ph.D. from the University of London in 1939. He lectured on mathematics at the Institution of Education in London from 1936 until 1940, then was appointed to the Philosophy   Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana. After six years at Urbana, Black accepted a professorship in philosophy at Cornell University in New York, later becoming Susan Linsage Professor of Philosophy and Humane Letters (1954). Black retired in 1977 but continued lecturing at many universities around the world. He was president of the International Institute of Philosophy from 1981 to 1984, being only the second American at the time to assume that position. Black's work dealt mainly with problems in contemporary analytical philosophy, ranging from the nature and function of mathematics to the role of ordinary language in the solution of philosophical problems. Though influenced by formalists, his own contributions stress the effectiveness of informalist approaches in the elimination of philosophical perplexity. He edited the influential journal The Philosophical Review. Black's major publications include The Nature of Mathematics (1933), Language and Philosophy (1949), Problems of Analysis (1954), The Importance of Language (1962), Models and Metaphors (1962), A Companion to Wittgenstein's Tractatus (1964), Philosophy in America (1965), The Labyrinth of Language (1969), Margins of Precision: Essays in Logic and Language (1970), Art, Perception, and Reality (1972), and The Prevalence of Humbug and Other Essays (1983). (Avrum Stroll / Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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