"In recognition of his influential and distinctively American contribution to philosophy and, more widely, to humanistic studies. His work redefined knowledge "as a matter of conversation and of social practice, rather than as an attempt to mirror nature" (Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, 1979) and thus redefined philosophy itself as an unending, democratically disciplined, social and cultural activity of inquiry, reflection, and exchange, rather than an activity governed and validated by the concept of objective, extramental truth."
Thomas Jefferson Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
In 1993, the United States Congress praised the American Philosophical Society as "the oldest learned society in the United States and one of the principal scholarly and scientific bodies in the world." Congress honored the Society and its third president, Thomas Jefferson, for "devotion to learning" by authorizing the minting of the Thomas Jefferson Medal. The first medal was awarded to King Juan Carlos I in recognition of its democratic accomplishments. The medal is the Society's highest award for the arts, humanities, and social sciences.
"In recognition of a lifetime dedicated to innovative compositions that have transformed the musical sensibilities of composers, musicians, and attentive publics in the United States and abroad. His compositions reveal peerless mastery of contemporary and earlier music, as well as pervasive appreciation of poetry, literature and other arts."
Bernard M. W. Knox
"In recognition of the role this brilliant classicist has played throughout the English-speaking world by presenting, in his writings, his teaching and the power of his example, the civilizations of Greece and Rome, and by offering a lucid reminder of where we come from, an inspiring vision of what we may become."
Frederick H. Burkhardt
"In recognition of a lifetime of extraordinary service and distinguished achievement: As exemplary leader, serving successively as president of Bennington College and the American Council of Learned Societies; As public servant, championing the cause of libraries, international cultural exchanges, and area studies; As philosopher, teacher and mentor, whose definitive edition of the works of William James was a landmark contribution; As editor, guiding light and presiding inspiration of the monumental series on The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, described as "one of the triumphs in scope and excellence of postwar publishing in England"; As an individual whose humanity, scholarship, dedication and generosity exemplify the highest ideals of the Jefferson Medal and the American Philosophical Society."
"In recognition of his pioneering work in Ottoman-modern Turkish studies, on Race and Colour, and on Muslim views of Europe; of his fundamental role in refining and promoting the writing of Islamic History; and of his contribution in explaining the Middle East to generations of students and to large audiences in the West."
I. M. Pei
"In recognition of his distinguished accomplishments as a seminal, creative architect; his fulfillment in the contemporary world of Vitruvius' injunction to combine in one's work utilitas, firmitas, venustas; and the elegant, spiritual, uplifting genius embodied in his buildings across the globe."
Helen Hennessey Vendler
"In recognition of sustained distinguished accomplishment as a scholar and critic of English literature, as a particularly insightful and lucid interpreter of poets and poetry to wide lay as well as academic audiences, and as a notably conscientious and effective mentor of generations of undergraduate and graduate students."
Daniel J. Boorstin
"In recognition of a distinguished American historian whose career has included the publication of no less than 20 major studies, several of them multi-volumed; more than a decade of vigorous and effective service as Librarian of Congress; editorial duty with a variety of scholarly journals; not to mention frequent lecturing in Asia and Europe as well as in this country; and trusteeship of scholarly and cultural organizations."
Albert O. Hirschman
"In recognition of the author's pioneering work in development economics, a work full of compassion for those living in adversity; the man of letters who uncovered the moral and psychological preconditions for the rise of capitalism; the foe of totalitarianism who in the 1940s helped scores of refugees in Europe escape the Nazis; the deeply learned and adventurous scholar who is always prepared to cross borders in search of new ground."
Roland M. Frye
"In recognition of a brilliant scholar of English literature from Shakespeare to Milton, who saw literature in the context of its underlying religious thought and who with consummate skill interpreted the writings of important literary figures in the context of the human experience of their times - and a though a layman, a moving spirit in the Center for Theological Inquiry from the earliest days."