Professor of Philosophy
Kenan Sahin Dean, MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Photo by Jon Sachs, MIT SHASS Communications
“I want to continue the work of former MIT SHASS deans, to make sure that the fields we study at the school remain at the heart of the MIT experience. If you want to change the world, you need to understand how it works.”
Agustín Rayo, Professor of Philosophy, serves as the Kenan Sahin Dean of the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. He also served as the Associate Dean of the School between 2016-2019, and as the School's Interim Dean between August, 2021 and January 2022.
Announcing Dean Rayo's appointment, MIT President L. Rafael Reif wrote that "Rayo’s acumen as a campus leader, scholar, and teacher makes him ideally suited to lead SHASS. Agustín brings to the deanship a wonderful record of leadership in SHASS and of service to all of MIT, from faculty governance to student life. Warm, welcoming, and a sensitive listener, he pairs an infectious enthusiasm for the inherent value of the liberal arts with a clear vision of how they can inform and enrich our understanding in the STEM fields too. I have been grateful for his contributions as a member of Academic Council this year — and I look forward to working with him as he steps into this new role.”
Full story at MIT News
Known for his expertise in “mathy philosophy,” Dean Rayo's domain of study lies at the intersection of the philosophy of logic, metaphysics, and the philosophy of language. He has focused on understanding the relationship between our language and the world it represents, clarifying the connection between logic and mathematics, and investigating the limits of communicable thought.
Rayo, who showed an interest in math and logic from a young age, grew up in Mexico City. He earned his undergraduate degree in 1996 from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and his PhD from MIT in 2001. He served as a postdoc at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of California at San Diego, then joined the MIT faculty in 2005.
Dean Rayo was elected to the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in 2018, was a Burkhardt Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and a Professorial Fellow at the University of Oslo from 2015 to 2020. His books lnclude The Construction of Logical Space (OUP, 2013) and On the Brink of Paradox (MIT Press, 2019), which won the 2020 PROSE Award for best textbook in the humanities.
Primary Office: Room 4-250
Secondary Office: Room 32-D932
Story: Philosopher Agustin Rayo named Interim Dean of MIT SHASS
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Rayo's explanation of what he does, for non-philosophers
Rayo's course on edX: Paradox and Infinity
An introduction to highlights from the technical side of philosophy