/J. Michael Dunn (1941-2021) | Daily Nous (via Qpute.com)
J. Michael Dunn (1941-2021) | Daily Nous

J. Michael Dunn (1941-2021) | Daily Nous (via Qpute.com)


J. (Jon) Michael Dunn, emeritus professor of philosophy, informatics, and computer science at Indiana University, and emeritus founding dean of the university’s School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, has died.

Dr. Dunn was known for his work in logic, particularly relevance logic, the relations between logic and computer science, as well as quantum logic and quantum computation. You can learn more about his research here and here. A book in honor of his work, J. Michael Dunn on Information Based Logics, was published in 2016.

Dr. Dunn retired from Indiana University in 2007 after 38 years there serving as professor, department chair, and in other administrative capacities. Prior to that, he held appointments at Yale University and Wayne State University. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh in 1966 and was an undergraduate at Oberlin College.

In an autobiographical essay that appeared in the aforementioned festschrift, Dr. Dunn notes that “logic is one of those areas that cannot be neatly pigeonholed into the usual academic departments,” which in part explains his involvement in many interdisciplinary collaborations. (He mentions that his position at Yale was funded jointly by the Departments of Philosophy, Electrical Engineering, and Linguistics.) Of his own research, he says:

I had no grand research program. I have followed where the paths have led me. I was very fortunate to have had the teachers, colleagues, and students I have had… Information has been a common theme throughout much of my research, but it was never intended as a programmatic theme. That the concept of information turned out to be so useful in itself proves its importance, at least to me.

Throughout his career, Dr. Dunn says, he was guided by a saying of unknown origin: “Philosophy is the art of the sciences, and the science of the arts.”

He died on April 5th.


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