Brian Copenhaver is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and History in UCLA’s Departments of Philosophy and History, where until his promotion to Emeritus he held the Udvar-Hazy Chair of Philosophy and History. Until 2003, he served as a Dean or a Provost for twenty-two years, fifteen of them in the University of California and ten as Provost of UCLA’s College of Letters and Science. From 2004 until 2011, he directed UCLA’s Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.
Born and raised in Baltimore, he was educated at Loyola College (AB, 1964), Creighton University (MA, 1966) and the University of Kansas (Ph.D., 1970). He was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Lyons in France, and, as a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, he studied at the Warburg Institute of the University of London (1975-6). More recently, he was a Guggenheim Fellow and a Getty Scholar. His previous academic and administrative appointments were at Western Washington University (1971-81), Oakland University (1981-88) and the University of California, Riverside (1988-93). He married his wife, Kathleen, in 1965; they have two children, Rebecca and Gregory; and two grandchildren, Alexandra and Miranda.
Professor Copenhaver studies philosophy and science in late medieval and early modern Europe. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; past President of the Journal of the History of Philosophy; a member of the Council of the Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento in Italy; and the editor of the History of Philosophy Quarterly. He has served on the boards of Rinascimento, Renaissance Quarterly, Annals of Science, the Journal of the History of Ideas, Early Science and Medicine, the International Archives of the History of Ideas, and the I Tatti Renaissance Library. He was the charter co-editor of a new journal, Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. His research has been supported by the Guggenheim Foundation, the Getty Research Institute, the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Philosophical Society, the Medieval Academy of America and by a Fulbright Scholarship. He has been the principal investigator on institutional grants awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the Ahmanson Foundation, the Arcadia Foundation and the Alcoa Foundation.
He has completed thirteen books about Symphorien Champier; the Hermetica; Renaissance drama; Renaissance philosophy; Polydore Vergil’s On Discovery; medieval logic; Lorenzo Valla’s attack on medieval logic; modern Italian philosophy; Giannazzo Manetti’s moral philosophy; and magic in Western culture. He has published articles on magic, astrology, the Hermetica, Kabbalah and their foundations in Neoplatonic, Aristotelian and scholastic philosophy; also on natural philosophy; scepticism; Averroism; philosophical translation; pre-Cartesian philosophy; modern Italian philosophy; historiography; the classical tradition in philosophy; Lorenzo Valla; Marsilio Ficino; Giovanni Pico della Mirandola; Lorenzo de’ Medici; Egidio da Viterbo; Polydore Vergil; Tommaso Campanella; Symphorien Champier; Isaac Newton; Henry More; Benedetto Croce; John Dewey; and Ginannozzo Manetti.