Patrick Suppes, professor emeritus of philosophy, dies at 92

Nov. 18, 2014, 9:59 p.m.

Professor of Philosophy Patrick Suppes died on Nov. 17.

Suppes was the Lucie Stern Professor of Philosophy Emeritus and also professor emeritus in the Department of Statistics, Department of Psychology, and School of Education. He has been on campus since 1950.

Suppes was born March 17, 1922 in Tulsa, Oklahoma and received a B.S. from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D at Columbia University. In the fall of 1950, Suppes came to Stanford, where he would spend his entire professional career. He began research into the philosophy of science. In particular, he studied the foundations of physics, special relativity, quantum mechanics and the theory of measurement. He also studied formal philosophy, social sciences, psychology and education technology.

Suppes helped shape Stanford’s community through the co-founding of the Institute for Mathematical Studies in the Social Sciences in 1959 and served half-time as the Associate Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences for three years and as Acting Dean for one. He served as the Director and Faculty Advisor for Stanford’s Education Program for Gifted Youth.

“Pat had a regular presence in Ventura Hall up until just a few weeks ago, as he continued his research in emotion and language in the brain,” his former colleague Charlotte Cattivera said.

Suppes is survived by his wife, five children, three step children and five grandchildren.

Contact Alexandra Bourdillon at abourdil ‘at’


This post has been edited to reflect Suppes’ correct age. The Stanford Daily regrets its error.

Alexandra Bourdillon '18 is a freshman from Cupertino, CA. When she's not eating waffles, she can be found reading tea leaves or quantifying the land-speed velocity of a swallow (African, not European). After Stanford she hopes to explore the world, although the Bay Area will always be her home. To contact Alexandra, email her at abourdil ‘at’

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