Rom Harre


Distinguished Research Professor - Department of Psychology
Former Director, CPNSS, London School of Economics


Department of Psychology
General profile



+1 202-687-4274


301I White-Gravenor

Office hours

MW: 1-2pm, and by appointment


Rom Harré was born in New Zealand but has spent most of his life in Britain and elsewhere. He studied chemical engineering and mathematics in parallel courses. Economic necessity forced him to use his mathematical qualifications for a career in teaching mathematics and logic in various universities including University of the Punjab in Pakistan. His graduate thesis in Oxford was on a mathematical problem but also involved issues in philosophy of science. Returning to Oxford as the University Lecturer in Philosophy of Science he worked on philosophy of chemistry and philosophy of physics for many years until, by accident, he happened to attend a social psychology seminar. He was so astonished at how far the work presented was from the canons of good scientific research that eventually he teamed up with Paul Secord to write their popular Explanation of Social Behaviour. This widely read book made a much smaller impact on psychology than they had hoped. In subsequent years Rom Harré has become a leading advocate of discursive-cultural psychology paying great attention to the actual symbolic systems and assignments of meanings that people actually use in managing their lives. He has combined theoretical studies with a wide range of empirical work. He has been much involved in the Hispanic world, having been visiting professor at Santiago de Compostella and Lima, Peru, as well as giving lectures in many universities in Spain and South America. He has continued to maintain his interest in chemistry and its philosophy and is currently Honorary President of the International Society for the Philosophy of Chemistry. Enjoying the best of both worlds, he spends the Spring Semester at Georgetown and the fall in Oxford.


  • B.Sc. () University of Aukland, New Zealand,
  • M.A. () University of Aukland, New Zealand,
  • B.Phil, D.Litt. () Oxford, England ,


  • French (read, write)
  • Spanish (speak, read, write)