Newswise — The American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) has elected three New York University faculty as fellows: George Downs, a professor in the Wilf Family Department of Politics, Bryan Stevenson, a professor of clinical law at the School of Law, and J. David Velleman, a professor in the Department of Philosophy.

Other AAAS fellows selected this year include the following: actor and director Al Pacino; Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Annie Proulx; historian and New Yorker writer Jill Lepore; and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. A complete list of the 2014 class of new members is located at:

“It is a privilege to honor these men and women for their extraordinary individual accomplishments,” said Don Randel, chair of the Academy’s Board of Directors. “The knowledge and expertise of our members give the Academy a unique capacity – and responsibility – to provide practical policy solutions to the pressing challenges of the day. We look forward to engaging our new members in this work.”

Downs, Bernhardt Denmark Professor of International Affairs, has been at NYU since 1998, serving as Dean of Social Science from 2001 to 2009. Previously he was Boswell Professor of Peace and War at Princeton University. His books include Optimal Imperfection? (1995) and Tacit Bargaining, Arms Races, and Arms Control (1990), both co-authored with David Rocke, and The Search for Government Efficiency: From Hubris to Helplessness (1986), co-authored with Patrick Larkey.

Stevenson, professor of clinical law at NYU School of Law and founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Ala., has represented capital defendants and death row prisoners in the Deep South since 1985. He recently successfully challenged extreme sentences imposed on young children in several cases before the US Supreme Court.

Velleman, a professor of philosophy and bioethics, has authored How We Get Along (Cambridge 2009); its sequel, Foundations for Moral Relativism, is available as an open-access monograph. His work on the philosophy of action includes the book Practical Reflection (1989) and a collection of papers, The Possibility of Practical Reason (2009). His papers on the self are collected in a volume entitled Self to Self (2006). Velleman, with Stephen Darwall, is founding co-editor of Philosophers’ Imprint.

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 11, 2014, at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Since its founding in 1780, the Academy has elected leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th, and Margaret Meade and Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 20th. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.

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