Thursday, December 9, 2010

From Abracadabra to Zombies

THE SKEPTIC'S DICTIONARY is a wonderful resource, arranged alphabetically and by hyperlink, for anyone looking for briefs on such topics as "backward (satanic) messages", "chakra", "diploma mill", or almost any fraud or hoax you can think of. A great critical thinking resource. It was recently brought to my attention that its author and editor, Robert T. Carroll, is a UCSD Philosophy Department alum, as he writes on his bio page.

I received my Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego in 1974. My doctoral dissertation was done under the direction of Richard H. Popkin and was entitled The Common-Sense Philosophy of Religion of Bishop Edward Stillingfleet (1635-1699). It was published by Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, in 1975.

(Hat tip to Craig Callender for the pointer.)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pat Churchland: A Platform for Morality

I am happy to post an excerpt of Pat Churchland's recent contribution to The New Scientist (22 October 2010).

Morality: Brain roots of right and wrong
 by Patricia Churchland

We are figuring out how the brain and its chemicals give rise to moral and social values, says Patricia Churchland

WHERE do moral values come from? Not from Plato's heaven, nor from any other. Aristotle, Confucius and Darwin all recognised valuing as a basic function of biological creatures generally, and moral valuing as a basic function of highly social and intelligent animals like humans. Until very recently, however, science could not explain how brains, built by gene networks interacting with the environment, give rise to morality.

Natural selection being what it is, caring for others must serve the fitness of the animals involved. Evolutionary biologists have developed models to show how this might work, but it is only now that neuroscientists are catching the first glimpses of how altruistic behaviour happens in the brain.

Morality seems to be shaped by four interlocking brain processes: caring, rooted in attachment to and nurture of offspring; recognition of others' psychological states, bringing the benefit of predicting their behaviour; problem-solving in a social context, such as how to distribute scarce goods or defend the clan; and social learning, by positive and negative reinforcement, imitation, conditioning and analogy. These factors result in the emergence of a conscience: a set of socially sanctioned responses to prototypical circumstances.

These four interlocking brain processes result in the emergence of a conscience
Social values, real as they are, depend on an evolutionary modification of the neural circuitry involved in basic survival. In all vertebrates, brain-stem circuitry keeps crucial parameters such as temperature and carbon dioxide and glucose levels within the right range. In order to maintain this homeostasis, the brain deploys motivations such as pain, hunger, thirst and fear, as well the complementary pleasures of food, water, sex and safety.

As the mammalian brain evolved, the homeostasis network enabling "me" to survive expanded its scope to embrace "mine", at first meaning one's own helpless offspring. Pain and anxiety responses were triggered by separation or perceived need; pleasure and comfort came with being suckled, licked and cuddled. In some species, additional adjustments in attachment circuitry widened the circle to include mates, kin and others in the group, depending on selection pressures.

At the hub of the neural circuitry of attachment are ancient peptides: oxytocin and its sibling, vasopressin. Along with other reproductive hormones and neurotransmitters, these peptides organise the circuitry in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain stem involved in attachment to "mine". Though much remains to be discovered, vasopressin seems to be related more to aggressive care, such as defence, while oxytocin dampens fear and anxiety, which feels good and is associated with trust.

The neocortex - the six-layered mantle covering the brain's hemispheres - is unique to mammals. The high cost of mammalian dependency at birth is offset by the singular advantages of new forms of learning made possible by the neocortex. In primates, the neocortex appears to be responsible for an enhanced capacity to predict others' behaviour. It also enables more abstract learning and problem-solving, as well enhanced flexibility in impulse control and social skills. These skills paved the way for the emergence of cultural institutions such as trade practices, criminal justice systems and religions - all of which served to regulate trust among non-kin and allow for a wider range of trusting relationships than isolated hunter-gathering groups could offer. In short, the brain's regulation of attachment and bonding is what makes us want to be together, to care for one another, and to value our family, friends and community. The interplay of our neural and cultural institutions comprises our moral history.

Patricia Churchland is a philosopher of neuroscience at the University of California and the Salk Institute, both in San Diego. Her book, Braintrust: What neuroscience tells us about morality, will be published by Princeton University Press in March 2011

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The FBI book reports on Marcuse

As part of our research into the history of the UCSD Philosophy Department, we requested and obtained, from the FBI and DOJ, the Freedom of Information Act file on Dr. Herbert Marcuse. We received in the mail a disc containing a 607 page pdf file; all of which were documents concerning Marcuse. A large portion of the file is in regard to the death threat that Marcuse received July 1, 1968 (more info here). The rest of the file is information regarding the tracking of and following Marcuse for several decades, from the 1940s until the 1970s.

Much of the file is in regard to surveillance of Marcuse's movements around the world, categorized under sub subjects as: "Anarchy", or "New Left Matter". The FBI received many complaints from San Diego citizens who felt that Marcuse was dangerous to society and should not be in a position to influence others. The FBI even received tips from Marcuse's La Jolla neighbors on his whereabouts and travel plans/patterns.

The FBI actually commissioned book reports to be done on several of Marcuse's published works. Below are the actual reports for "Reason and Revolution", "One Dimensional Man", and "Essay on Liberation" from Marcuse's file.


"Reason and Revolution"


"One Dimensional Man"


"Essay on Liberation"





There are many pages omitted in the Freedom of Information act file on Marcuse, that is, there are several documents not released to the public. Names of sources and many other people are also blacked out of the documents. This leaves the door open to many questions about who exactly was communicating with the FBI about Marcuse and what exactly is too sensitive to be released to the public. Another interesting note is that the file grew nearly forty pages from the day we first requested it to the day we actually received it; leading us to believe that the file on Marcuse, even now in 2010, is still growing.



Saturday, September 18, 2010

Featured Publication: Eric Watkins' Sourcebook for Kant's First Critique

In the upcoming months, I will be featuring works published by philosophers while they were or are professors at UCSD, beginning with a major new scholarly resource produced by Eric Watkins: Kant's Critique of Pure Reason: Background Source Material (Cambridge, 2009). The front matter and some other material is available at the official page at Cambridge University Press. The work has also been recently reviewed at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. Below is the blurb and a short bio from the CUP page.


Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason: Background Source Materials


This volume offers English translations of texts that form the essential background to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. Presenting the projects ofKant’s predecessors and contemporaries in eighteenth-century Germany, it enables readers to understand the positions that Kant might have identified with “pure reason,” the criticisms of pure reason that had been developed prior to Kant’s, and alternative attempts at synthesizing empiricist elements within a rationalist framework. The volume contains chapters on Christian Wolff, Martin Knutzen, Alexander Baumgarten, Christian Crusius, Leonhard Euler, Johann Lambert, Marcus Herz, Johann Eberhard, and Johann Tetens. Each chapter includes a brief introduction that provides succinct biographical and bibliographical information on these authors, a concise account of their projects, and information on the importance of these projects to Kant’s first Critique. Extensive references to the firstCritique, brought together in a concordance, highlight the potential relevance of each text.
Eric Watkins is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego. The recipient of grants from the Fulbright Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, he is the author of Kant and the Metaphysics of Causality, which won the Book Prize in 2005 from the Journal of the History of Philosophy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Celebrating the Churchlands

Pat and Paul Churchland have officially retired from the philosophy department at UCSD, but Pat has assured me that they will continue to "haunt us" (her words). Eliminative materialist ghosts are the best kind.

If you haven't already seen it, be sure to read the 2007 New Yorker feature on the Churchlands (full text available here; abstract below) entitled "Two Heads". The article explains how the two are able to maintain psychic unity even at a distance-- it's a bit mysterious, but there is some perfectly reasonable materialist explanation, I can assure you.

On page 59 of the magazine is a fine picture of them together, hydra-like, taken by Steven Pyke and included in his series of portraits of famous philosophers, entitled Philosophers II (Pyke also took a portrait of Richard Arneson, which I mentioned in an earlier post). Pyke also took these beautiful portraits of their individuated avatars.

Larissa MacFarquhar. "Annals of Science, 'Two Heads', The New Yorker, Feb. 12, 2007, p. 58-69.

ABSTRACT: PROFILES of Paul and Patricia Churchland. Paul and Patricia Churchland are in their early sixties and are both professors of philosophy at the University of California at San Diego (U.C.S.D.). They have been talking about philosophy together since they met; they test ideas on each other and criticize each other’s work. Some of their ideas are quite radical. The guiding obsession of their lives is the mind-body problem, or how to understand the relationship between conscious experience and the brain. In the past, everyone was a dualist. Nowadays, few people doubt that the mind somehow is the brain. Paul and Pat Churchland believe that the mind-body problem will be solved not by philosophers but by neuroscientists. Describes Pat’s childhood and background; she attended the University of Pittsburgh, where she met Paul, and Oxford. Describes Paul’s background; as a child he was influenced by the science fiction novels of Robert Heinlein. Mentions Wilfrid Sellars. Describes their jobs as professors at the University of Manitoba in the early 1970s. Mentions Pat’s study of the “split brain.” Mentions Thomas Nagel’s “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” Pat disagreed with Nagel’s assertion that science could never understand consciousness. She also objected to the prevelant notion that neuroscience would never be relevant to philosophical concerns. In the early 1990s, Australian philosopher David Chalmers developed a theory of consciousness as a universal primitive, like mass or space. Mentions Francis Crick and the neuroscientist V. S. Ramachandran. These days, many philosophers give Pat credit for making the link between the mind-body problem and the brain. Pat and Paul are currently studying the implications of neuroscience for ethics and the law. Much of Paul’s work is focused far into the future. Both he and Pat like to speculate about a day when whole chunks of English are replaced by scientific words. As people learn to speak differently, they’ll learn to experience and think differently. Paul believes that someday language will disappear altogether and people will communicate by thought. If so, a philosopher might come to know what it’s like to be a bat.

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/02/12/070212fa_fact_macfarquhar#ixzz0z3Z0THhR

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dick Arneson photographed by Steve Pyke

Our very own Richard Arneson has been photographed by Steve Pyke for inclusion in his collection of portraits of famous philosophers, entitled Philosophers II. The photos are accompanied by short quotations from the philosophers.


"At UC Berkeley in 1967, when I started graduate school in philosophy, you could hardly avoid the question: What conception of social justice makes most sense? I have always resisted answers that suppose a society could be just and fair independently of whether or not its members are leading genuinely good lives."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Death Threat against Marcuse in 1968

Shortly after Dr. Herbert Marcuse received a death threat at his home in La Jolla on July 1, 1968, the FBI, US Postal Service, and the media descended on San Diego. Below is a Xerox copy of the actual note (contained in the FBI file on Marcuse, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request).

According to a July 1, 1968 article in the Los Angeles Times entitled "'New Left' UC Professor Flees Home After Death Threat", Marcuse first took the letter as a prank and was inclined to ignore it, until July 3 when his telephone service was disconnected by an anonymous call. Marcuse, alarmed by the phone service incident, decided to leave his home with his wife on July 4.

The intrepid Marcuse was not, however, to be permanently ousted from San Diego. A Los Angeles Times article entitled "New Left Teacher Declares He Won't Quit Despite Death Note", published July 12, 1968, describes Marcuse's intentions after the threat: mainly, that he will return to teach in the fall. The same article also gives an account of UCSD philosophy chair Jason Saunders telling reporters that Marcuse had said, "I will not run away. I will not be intimidated".

Shortly after the death threat, Revelle College administrators and faculty expressed overwhelming support for Marcuse. About a month later in an Aug. 11, 1968 Los Angeles Times article, entitled "UC San Diego Faculty Backs Dr. Marcuse", gives a detailed account of this support. The Academic Senate of UC San Diego endorsed a statement to Chancellor McGill which read:

"Prof. Marcuse is a distinguished political philosopher, whose proactive writings have stirred controversy all over the world. We know him as a man of integrity and as an outstanding teacher. We wish to assure him and our chancellor of our complete support against the attempt to silence him, whether they be well-intentioned citizens, by persons capitalizing on false rumors to agitate public sentiment or by making threats against his person. The reputation of the University of California and of the San Diego community are at stake. We are confident that a great majority of the public supports us in our determination to develop in San Diego an outstanding university, free of violence or threats of violence and dedicated to the principles of freedom of expression and of scholarship, without which a democratic society cannot long survive."
Marcuse did indeed return in September to teach and continued to receive outspoken support from the UCSD Faculty and Staff. He taught at the University for several years after this incident and maintained an office on Revelle campus as "professor honorar", working with graduate students at the University until his death in 1979.

Works Cited

Keen, Harold and William Tully. "'New Left' UC Professor Flees Home After Death Threat". Los Angeles Times, July 11, 1968, p. 3-4.

Anonymous. "New Left Teacher Declares He Won't Quit Despite Death Note". Los Angeles Times, July 12, 1968, p. 3.

Anonymous. "UC San Diego Faculty Backs Dr. Marcuse". Los Angeles Times, Aug. 11, 1968, p. H8.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Craig Callender in Scientific American and on TV

We here at UCSD Philosophy are all very proud of our colleague Craig Callender's recent article in Scientific American (June 2010): "Is Time an Illusion?" You can get a preview of the article online. Unfortunately, it turns out that time is real, although it is something of a consolation to hear that it is not fundamental.

Craig is also shown on "Philosophy TV" debating Johnathan Schaffer on various topics of metaphysics (or, er, meta-metaphysics-- can't we just get back to physics?)-- check out the streaming online video.

Great job Craig! You've got a face made for internet television blogs.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Alternatives: Summer 1966

Alternatives was a magazine produced by graduate students in the philosophy department at UCSD (edited by Andrew Feenberg). You can access the first issue here. The second issue contains several articles of interest, including: an essay by Linus Pauling "To Live as Men"; Part II of Marcuse's essay "The Individual in the Great Society"; an essay on "Marxism and Christianity" by former UCSD Philosophy professor and Jesuit priest Paul Henry, and an essay on "Viet Nam and the Home Front" by ex-Senator Wayne Morse. There is also a letter to the editor by Günther Anders, some photos of the UCSD campus, and an advertisement for an Alan Watts seminar (p. 39).

Alternatives Summer 1966

Friday, August 20, 2010

First hand accounts of Marcuse's undergraduate teaching


A pair of articles appearing in 1969 in the Los Angeles Times describe the excitement and intensity of Herbert Marcuse's undergraduate classes at UCSD.

Art Seidenbaum in a Los Angeles Times article entitled "The Trouble with Students" gives an interesting first hand account of the author's first time meeting with Dr. Herbert Marcuse and the subsequent lecture on Freud which he attended.

The story begins with a random student telling Seidenbaum: "Hey, if you're gonna get to know this place, you ought to hear Marcuse". Art plans to hear Marcuse and so the story continues: "This is the day Herbert Marcuse's undergraduate class meets. Marcuse is the most controversial philosopher in California, the synthesizer of Freud and Marx whose books have become working manuals for American student revolutionaries".

Art makes his way to a UCSD info desk and asks where he can find Marcuse, "the information executive hesitates. Then he reminds me that Marcuse has received death threats". He continues, "the executive calls his secretary who calls Marcuse's secretary who promises to check with the professor himself". Art gets the go-ahead and makes his way to Marcuse's office, he is given a ONE-TIME ONLY pass. The following is the interesting re-telling of Art's first meeting with Marcuse:

"As I thank the secretary, in walks a slightly-stooped, gray-haired sparrow of a man who starts to pour himself a cup of coffee from the urn in the corner. The secretary smiles at me and nods at him, meaning Dr. Marcuse is among us. When he turns to face her with his coffee she introduces me. We shake hands, and he asks if I have any "devices" with me. I have no idea what he means but I open my briefcase so that he can look inside where there are only pads and pencils. He explains that he meant recording equipment. And then, in a soft, paternal voice he apologizes. He is embarrassed for having asked and I am embarrassed too".

After their introduction Art attends Marcuse's undergraduate course entitled "The Present Age" which he recounts as being "in the basement of the humanities building" and that there were "graduate student guards at the doors".

"The room is fan shaped and full. An American flag stands behind the lectern. The students are predominantly freshman, mostly clean-cutters by the lengths of hair and skirts. Dr. Marcuse comes in a few minutes after the hour and his first remark is a request: 'Would you please not smoke in this room. There have been many complaints. So repress. Repress.' He rolls his 'R's' and the students giggle over repression while the philosopher wipes his glasses. The kids lean forward, expectantly. Todays lecture is basic Freud, all about man's instinctive need for pleasure versus civilization's restraint and repression of pleasure. Marcuse walks as he talks, constantly taking off his glasses and wiping them. He is cordial enough but hardly rousing as he describes the primal horde and goes on to define ego, id and superego. 'From time to time', Marcuse says, 'the primordial force breaks through the repressions of civilization; sons may band together, as in the primal horde, to revolt against the father. Witness the generation gap.' The pimpled boy next to me snickers. Marcuse continues: 'Man's basic drives are sex and aggression. Both are in constant antagonism. There is no such thing as a self-preservation instinct; the need for pleasure supercedes self-preservation'. Then, still using the same mild tone, still wiping his glasses, Marcuse concludes, 'Aggression in man must sooner or later destroy him--as we shall see next time.' The guru of the revolution is a gentle, repressed personality, I realize. Certainly less aggressive than his critics."

The ending of the lecture concludes Art's encounter with Dr. Marcuse. The narrative tells a rich and detailed, albeit short, account of a reporter meeting Prof. Marcuse and attending one of his lectures; a rare insight into the behind-the-scenes life of a celebrity philosopher.

In another LA Times piece entitled "Herbert Marcuse: Accentuating the Negative", published July 27, 1969, Roger Rapoport gives details of an interview with Erica Sherover, doctoral candidate at the time as well as Marcuse's research assistant (and future wife), as well as another short snippet of a lecture with Dr. Marcuse; the article gives further insight into his teaching methods and personality.

Erica Sherover, speaking about how Dr. Marcuse generates a healthy amount of academic turmoil in the classroom, is quoted as saying, "He's at his best when dealing with leftists who've swallowed a lot of jargon. They expound theories and he says, 'What do you mean by that?' He forces them to expose their ignorance".

Rapoport goes on to give details of a "Marx and Lenin" lecture he sat in on:

"In class, Marcuse comes on like like a Teutonic master. Ready to convene a 'Marx and Lenin' lecture, he silences gossiping students by coming up from behind and poking them gently with his pointer. He begins class by promoting an extracurricular discussion of the SDS leaflet that has attacked his teaching methods. 'Could we meet next monday night?' he says afterwards. Student heads nod, but one boy laments: 'That's the night of the jazz concert.' 'Very well,' says Marcuse. 'We shall put the two together.' After the laughter subsides, Marcuse lectures on Marxian theory: 'Moral judgements do not play any role in capitalism. The theory calls for a specific social and political practice. There's not the slightest indication in Marx of capitalist conspiracy of the upper class. There is no theory of the evil character of capitalists. Even if all capitalists are angels, there would still be disintegration and a need for radical change.'"

Works Cited

Rapoport, Roger. "Herbert Marcuse: Accentuating the Negative". Los Angeles Times, Jul 27, 1969, p. N12-15.

Seidenbaum, Art. "The Trouble With Students". Los Angeles Times, May 11, 1969, p. M9-14.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Repressive Tolerance at UCSD? Undergraduate speaker controversy occasioned a neglected Los Angeles Times piece by Marcuse

A strange episode at UCSD in 1970 resulted in an interesting set of articles published in the Los Angeles Times, including one by Herbert Marcuse that we do not find on his official bibliography or on the website marcuse.org. In it, Marcuse defends his doctrine of repressive tolerance in the context of a controversy about teaching at UCSD.

The essay "Repressive Tolerance", originally written in 1965 and found in its entirety as printed in the book A Critique of Pure Tolerance in 1969, advocates intolerance toward groups that are generally harmful, or, themselves intolerant. For Marcuse, the liberal ideal of "tolerance" should not be extended to groups like the Right Wing who are themselves intolerant of other groups. He states, "Given this situation, I suggested in 'Repressive Tolerance' the practice of discriminating tolerance in an inverse direction, as a means of shifting the balance between Right and Left by restraining the liberty of the Right, thus counteracting the pervasive inequality of freedom (unequal opportunity of access to the means of democratic persuasion) and strengthening the oppressed against the oppressed". An episode at UCSD shows Marcuse practicing the doctrine, by using a Right Wing speaker's lack of credentials to cast into doubt his right to address a group of college students earning credit for a course.

The issue began when Marcuse protested the coming appearance of Dr. Fred Schwarz, the president of the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade. Schwarz was invited by UCSD (tracking down exactly who) to give the lead off lecture for a course entitled "Conservative and Traditional Views of Contemporary Issues". In a letter to Dr. Martin Chamberlain, director of UCSD extension (a letter which we are trying to locate) Marcuse stated that Schwarz' visit was, "an insult to the intelligence of any serious audience, a mockery of conservative thought". Marcuse said Schwarz was described in a book (the title of which we hope is in his letter to Chamberlain) as "a hate-monger and rabble-rouser". These events are described in an article entitled "Marcuse Protests Anti-Red Lectures at UC San Diego" written by a staff writer at the LAT (published on March 27, 1970).

In response, Dr. William Banowsky, who at the time was the Chancellor of the new campus of Pepperdine College, wrote an article entitled "An Unwitting Score for Tolerance", published in the LAT April 5, 1970. The article was meant to be a direct blow to Marcuse's doctrine of repressive tolerance. Banowsky says that Marcuse's objection "misses the point" and that he (Marcuse) "may have unintentionally scored a point for the other side". Banowsky essentially calls Marcuse a hypocrite for denying his opponent the right to speak yet affirming his own; Banowsky asserts that repressive tolerance essentially means 'tolerate my view, and not yours'.

Marcuse responded in the LAT on April 12, 1970, an article entitled "The True Nature of Tolerance". The article begins: "Regrettably, Dr. Banowsky shares in the customary misrepresentation of my opinions. I did not deny Dr. Fred Schwarz right to be heard on campus; I denied his qualification to appear as a lecturer in a accredited course". He goes on to say, " I did not invoke my "political philosophy" in protest to Schwarz because it does not apply: I do not consider him dangerous - just not qualified". Marcuse then goes on to further explicate and defend the notion of repressive tolerance. Marcuse states, "Nowhere have I argued for intolerance of all views opposed to mine, nowhere have I implied that I am in possession of 'absolute truth'. I have suggested withdrawal of tolerance from demonstrably aggressive and destructive movements on the Right." But the real point of the article is in making the distinction of WHY exactly Marcuse protested Schwarz' appearance in the first place. It wasn't that Marcuse disagreed with Schwarz and therefore didn't want an opposing view to be heard on campus; his protest was instead directed toward Schwarz' credibility.


Works Cited


Anonymous. "Marcuse Protests Anti-Red Lectures at UC San Diego", LAT March 27, 1970, p. 3.

Banowsky, W. "An Unwitting Score for Tolerance", LAT April 5, 1970, p. E7.

Marcuse, H. "Repressive Tolerance" 1965, in Robert Paul Wolff, Barrington Moore, jr., and Herbert Marcuse, A Critique of Pure Tolerance (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969), pp.95-137. Available online at: http://marcuse.org/herbert/pubs/60spubs/65repressivetolerance.htm, includes Herbert's 1968 'Postscript'.

Marcuse, H. "The True Nature of Tolerace", LAT April 12, 1970, p. D7.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Exile on Thorn Street

UCSD graduate students under the direction of Herbert Marcuse started a number of journals, including the philosophy journal Alternatives, which I discussed in an earlier post. Lowell Bergman, Angela Davis and others started the Street Journal and San Diego Free Press (see the Library of Congress entry here; we are researching those journals and will post more later).

For these efforts they, predictably, suffered repression at the hands of San Diego police and probably federal agencies including the FBI and CIA as well (at least according to this 2006 U.S. News and World Report article). They were aided and supported by heroic San Diego Superior Court judge Roger Ruffin, about whom I also wrote about in a recent post.

It seems that they headquartered at the historic Franz Merzman House, at Second Avenue and Thorn Street, near downtown and Balboa Park, according to this San Diego Union Tribune piece. One can see a picture of the house here on google maps. I am interested in this detail because I happen to live on Thorn Street myself, though on the other side of the park.

Roger Ruffin: 1927-2010; outspoken defender of radical UCSD philosophers

Roger Ruffin, who died earlier this year, was a San Diego Superior Court judge who defended Herbert Marcuse against critics, and helped UCSD philosophy postdoc Lowell Bergman (who was Marcuse's student) and others dealing with police repression in San Diego, especially in connection with the radical San Diego Street Journal. He was evidently a very colorful character, friend of Andy Warhol, and appeared in several art-house movies. An obituary in the San Diego Union Tribune quotes Bergman and provides some further details.

Lance: can you see if there are any references to Ruffin in Under the Perfect Sun? If so, please give us page references.

Guest Blogger: Lance Winsaft

Over the next couple of weeks, UCSD undergraduate philosophy major Lance Winsaft will be posting to the blog and augmenting the bibliography in connection with a research project on the history of UCSD philosophy department he is undertaking to fulfill a Sixth College requirement. He has already turned up some interesting things on Herbert Marcuse and the early history of the department by researching the archives of the Los Angeles Times. Stay tuned for recollections of Marcuse's undergraduate teaching at UCSD, reflection on an incident at UCSD exemplifying Marcuse's doctrine of repressive tolerance, and a description of the bomb threat against Marcuse in July 1968, among other things.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Donald Rutherford the fourteenth Chair of Philosophy at UCSD

Donald Rutherford has been appointed fourteenth Chair of the Philosophy department at UCSD. Don specializes in the history of philosophy, especially Hellenistic and Early Modern Philosophy. Recently, he is the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Early Modern Philosophy (Cambridge, 2006) and has edited and translated (with Brandon Look) The Leibniz-Des Bosses Correspondence (Yale, 2007).

You can learn more about Don's work at his homepage by pointing your browser to: http://philosophy.ucsd.edu/faculty/rutherford/

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Frederick A. Olafson

Later this summer I will be conducting an interview with Fred Olafson, chair of the UCSD Philosophy department from 1972-1976.  Fred received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1951. He is the author of many substantial books and articles, primarily in social and political philosophy, existentialism, and philosophy of mind. His thesis was titled, "A Study in the Physicalistic Theory of Mind." His influences are Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, and Husserl. 


Some of his major works include: Society, Law and Morality (1961), Justice and Social Policy (1961), Principles and Persons: An Ethical Interpretation of Existentialism (1967), Ethics and Twentieth Century Thought (1973), The Dialectic of Action: A Philosophical Interpretation of History and the Humanities (1979), Heidegger and the Philosophy of Mind (1987), and What Is a Human Being? A Heideggerian View (1995); Humanism & Philosophy: The Relationship Past, Present and Future (2008). Some of his publications are available electronically over at Phil Papers.


Stay tuned for the interview and more on Frederick Olafson's philosophical work.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Chairs

SEE NOW THE UPDATED CHRONOLOGY PAGE which is more accurate.


I think that I have now succeeded in determining the dates and names of all the chairs of the UCSD philosophy, from its founding to the present day.

1963-1966 Richard Popkin
1966-1967 Avrum Stroll (Acting Chair)
1967-1968 Richard Popkin
1968-1969 Jason Saunders
1969-1972 Avrum Stroll
1972-1976 Frederick Olafson
1976-1978 Edward Lee
1978-1982 Henry Allison
1982-1986 Georgios Anagnostopoulos
1986-1990 Paul Churchland
1990-1992 Robert Pippin
1992-1996 Richard Arneson
1996-1998 Patricia Kitcher
1998-2000 Georgios Anagnostopoulos
2000-2007 Patricia Churchland
2007-2010 David Brink

Alternatives: The New Magazine of Politics and Society

Alternatives was a journal of social and political philosophy produced "by the students of the Independent Left of the University of California, San Diego". The first issue  (March-april 1966; posted below) was edited by Andrew Feenberg and had articles by Hans Meyerhoff, Barry Commoner, Herbert Marcuse, Gunther Anders, and others.

Alternatives March-April 1966

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Richard Popkin's recollections of hiring Marcuse at UCSD

The following note from Richard Popkin was posted to the guestbook over at marcuse.org. In it he describes the conditions of Marcuse's hire at UCSD. 


Posted On: August 03, 2003 09:59:06 PM
Name: richard and juliet popkin
Comments: Richard Popkin was the chair of the philosophy department at UCSD from 1963 to 1968 and took the initiative, with Avrum Stroll, to invite Herbert Marcuse, Stanley Moore, Lewis Feuer and Joseph Tussman to speak at a symposium on Marxism. This led to Marcuse's being invited to become a member of the philosophy department in 1965. Marcuse was delighted with the intellectual and natural environment in La Jolla. The philosophy department that Popkin envisaged was far more diverse than other American departments at that time. We have many memories of Marcuse and some correspondence from our interactions with Herbert, his second wife Inge and his third wife Erica Sherover.

Erica Sherover's recollection of graduate seminars with Marcuse

Erica Sherover (1938-1988) was a graduate student at UCSD in the late sixties, and in this letter to Harold Marcuse (Herbert Marcuse's grandson) she recollects philosophy seminars with Herbert Marcuse at UCSD in which they "read 150 pages of Hegel or Kant in a whole year in a two semester seminar". She married Marcuse in 1976. Her obituary ran in the New York Times.

The Churchlands' retirement message

The following message was composed by Paul Churchland at the request of David Brink and published in the UCSD Philosophy Department Newsletter Winter/Spring 2010. It contains a description of their arrival in the department in 1994, the hires that happened during their tenure, and their role in establishing the Cognitive Studies department and Science Studies Program. Happily, it also declares their intention to keep an office and continue to "haunt" the department.


A
 Retrospective
 on
 26 
Years 
at
 UCSD
 
By
 Paul
 Churchland
 
David
 (Brink)
 suggested
 that
 Pat
 and
 I
 pen
 something
 brief,
 for
 the
 Newsletter,
 given
 our
 upcoming
 retirement
 later
 this
 Spring.

 In
 truth,
 much
 the
 same
 giddy
 amazement
 attends
 our
 leaving
 our
 two
 positions
 as
 characterized
 our
 original
 arrival
 to
 them.

 The
 doors 
then
 opened
 to
 us,
both
 by
 the
department
 and
 by
 the
 campus
 academic
 community
 at
 large,
 transformed
 our
 personal
 and
 intellectual
 lives
 forever.
 
 The
 accumulated
 legacy
 of
 the
 intervening
 years
 leaves
 us
 stunned,
 even
 now,
 by
 the
 many
 marvelous
things
that
have
happened.

 Allow 
us
 a 
brief
 summary
 of
 why
 we
 are
 still
 smiling
 from 
ear
to 
ear.
 
 The 
dept. 
that
 wooed 
us,
 in
 1984,
 was
 already
 well‐balanced
 in
 its
 ideological
 profile
 and
 decidedly
 gifted
 in
 its
 membership.
 
 We
 were
 proud,
 even
 chuffed,
 to
 be
 welcomed
 into
 it.
 
 It
 was
 also
 a
 profound
 pleasure
 to
 finally
 be
 back
 on
 the
 West
 Coast,
 after
 20
 years
 of 
purgatory 
Back
 East, 
in
 England,
 and
 on 
the 
snow‐driven
 Great
 Plains.
 
 But
 change
 came
 quickly.
 
 Mark
 Wilson,
 a
 gifted
 philosopher
 of
 science,
 was
 pirated
 away
 by
 Chicago,
 and
 we
 soon
 acquired
 Pat
 and
 Philip
 Kitcher
 from
 Minnesota,
 Stephen
 Stich
 from
 Maryland,
 and
 eventually,
 Sandy
 Mitchell
 from
 Pittsburgh.
 
 Francis
 Crick
 had
 made
 Pat
 an
 Adjunct
 Professor
 at
 the
 Salk
 Institute,
 and
 we
 quickly
 made
 friends
 with
 the
 neurocomputationalist
 Terry
 Sejnowski,
 the
 psychologist
 V.S.
 Ramachandran,
 and
 many
 other
 local
scholars.

Those
 early 
years
 were
 a
 time
 of
 heady
 expansion
 on
 the
 campus
 as
 a
 whole,
 and
 we
 were
 lucky
 to
 participate
 in
 the
 formation
 of
 the
 interdisciplinary 
Cognitive 
Science 
Ph.D.
 Program, 
and
indeed,
 in
 the
 founding
 of
 the
 current
 Cognitive
 Science
 Department
 itself.

 Inspired
 by
 that
 success,
 Jerry
 (Doppelt),
 Sandy,
 Philip,
 and
 I
 subsequently
 teamed
 up
 with
 our
 distinguished
 colleagues
 in
 History
 and
 Sociology
 to
 found
 the
 interdisciplinary
 Science
 Studies
 Ph.D.
Program,
 a
 program 
that
 continues 
to
thrive 
today.

 Being
 Chair
 of
 the
 dept. 
during
 that
 formative 
period
 was,
 for
 me,
 an 
(almost) 
unalloyed
pleasure.

     As 
the
 90s 
dawned,
 however,
 financial
 woes 
gripped
 the
 campus, 
retirements
 took 
many 
departmental 
icons
 from
 us 
(Zeno
 Vendler, 
Ed 
Lee,
 Fred 
Olafson,
 Avrum 
Stroll,
 Henry
Allison),
 Chicago 
lured
 Bob
 Pippen
 away,
 and
 Stich
 and
 the
 Kitchers
 were
 also
 lured
 back
 to
 their
 eastern
 roots.
 
 Later
 in
 that
 period,
 we
 even
 lost
 Nick
 Jolley
 to
 Syracuse.

 Fortunately, 
the
 people
 who 
remained, 
and 
the
 high
quality
 of
 our
 philosophy
 graduate
 students,
 made
 being
 here
 a
 reliable
 pleasure;
 our
 own
 philosophical
 research
 was
 flourishing
 as
 never
 before
 (we’ll
 spare
 you
 a
 summary);
 and
 in
 that
 period
 we
 did
 manage
 to
 convince
 David
 (Brink),
 Gila
 (Sher),
 Rick
 (Grush),
 and
 Michael
 (Hardimon)
 to
 join
 us.
 
 As
 well,
 the
 Administration
 wisely
 determined
 to
 help
 the
 department
 replace
 its
 many
 losses
 and
 regain
 its
 former
 glory.
 
 On
 the
 strength
 of
 such
 promises,
 Pat
 agreed
 to
 be
 Chair,
 and
 the
 following
 years
 saw
 a
 second
 great
 burst
 of
 hiring.
 
 Clark
 Glymour,
 Nancy
 (Cartwright),
 Bill
 (Bechtel),
 Jonathan
 (Cohen),
 Don
 (Rutherford),
 Eric
 (Watkins),
 Craig
 (Callender),
 Sam
 (Rickless),
 Dana
 (Nelkin),
 and
 Chris
 (Wuthrich)
 came
 in
 a
 steady
 rush,
 and
 the
 department’s
 reputation
 shot
 back
 up
 again.
 
 With
 the
 recent
 arrivals
 of
 Monte
 (Johnson),
 Clinton
 (Tolley),
 and
 now
 Saba
 (Bazargan),
 we
 are
 once
 again
 made
 whole.
 
 We
 wouldn’t
 trade
 this
 dept.
 for
 any 
other 
in 
the 
world.

     And
 we
 won’t.
 
 Except
 for
 summer
 holidays,
 Pat
 and
 I
 will
 remain
 in
 San
 Diego
 and
 continue
 our
 research
 and
 writing
 in
 your 
extended
 and 
uniquely 
valuable
 company.

 David 
has
 kindly
 promised
 us 
a
 joint
 office 
in 
the
 dept.,
 as 
long 
as 
resources
 permit,
 and
 we 
will 
continue 
to 
haunt
 the 
dept.’s 
Friday
colloquiums.

 There 
is 
too 
much 
here
 to
 ever 
walk 
away 
from.
 
May 
your 
own
 time 
here 
at 
UCSD
 be 
as
rewarding 
to 
you 
as 
ours 
has 
been 
to 
us.


Monday, May 3, 2010

The New Left and the 1960s: Collected Papers of Herbert Marcuse Volume Three (ed. D. Kellner)

The third volume of Douglas Kellner's edition of the Collected Papers of Herbert Marcuse (London and New York, 2005), entitled Herbert Marcuse: The New Left and the 1960s is rich in precious documentary sources on Marcuse's tenure in the Philosophy Department at UCSD, including:

1. "Reflections on the French Revolution" (p. 41-46), a widely circulated set of comments on the May 1968 French student uprising. According to Kellner, "Professor Herbert Marcuse was in Paris when the current French crisis began, between May 6 and May 12. On returning, he spoke about his impressions of the French situation to several hundred students and faculty members at The University of California at San Diego where he teaches philosophy" (p. 40-41).

2. "A September 12, 1968 letter from Herbert Marcuse to the University of California, San Diego faculty senate, on Czechoslovakia and Vietnam" (p. 118-119 and n.1). Addressed to Walter Munk.

3. "A July 19, 1968 testimony from the University of California at San Diego Department of Philosophy on Herbert Marcuse's seventieth birthday" (p. 119-120 and n.2). It is not clear who the author was, and the entire speech is in third person and speaks for the department as a whole. The statement shows how staunchly the Philosophy Department supported Marcuse. I plan to comment on the statement at greater length later.

4. "Translation of a September 18, 1968 letter from T. W. Adorno to the University of California, San Diego, Department of Philosophy on Herbert Marcuse" (p. 120-121 and n.3). The letter is addressed to Jason Saunders.

5. "The 'interview with Dr. Herbert Marcuse by Harold Green'...broadcast on San Diego KFMB-TV on February 25, 1969" (p. 128-136).

6. "'A Conversation with Herbert Marcuse'...a transcript of a P.B.S. interview with Bill Moyers on March 12, 1974" (p. 154-164). The interview was conducted in the library of Marcuse's La Jolla home.

7. "'Thoughts on Judaism, Israel, etc., ...'...published in a University of California San Diego Jewish student publication L'Chayim (Winter 1977)" (p. 179-191).

8. An Afterword by George Katsiaficas entitled "Marcuse as Activist: reminiscences on his theory and practice" (p. 192-203). Katsiaficas was a graduate student of Marcuse's at UCSD.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

J.-P. Sartre's and T. W. Adorno's letters of reference to UCSD about Marcuse

Many famous philosophers, including J.-P. Sartre and T. W. Adorno, wrote letters to the UCSD department chair in favor of Herbert Marcuse. I have not been able to locate either of the two letters referred to in this post (but am working on it).

The first is a testimony about a letter written by Jean-Paul Sartre, mentioned in Jim Miller's 2003 essay "Just another day in paradise?" (p. 397, footnote 412; see bibliography tab for details).

As professor of literature Carlos Blanco, who was on the budget committee when Marcuse's promotion came up, recalls in an interview dated August 19, 2002, that the committee, in order to make it crystal clear that Marcuse was more than qualified to not only continue on at UCSD, but be promoted as well, asked for assessments of Marcuse from all over the world. Jean-Paul Sartre, for example, wrote, "Why are you asking me about Herbert Marcuse? Don't you know who he is?"

Douglas Kellner in the third volume of his edition of the Collected Works of Herbert Marcuse (2005, p. 120-121; see bibliography tab for details) has translated a letter of recommendation written by Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969) to Jason Saunders, then chair of the Philosophy department at UCSD.




            September 18, 1968
          
            Professor Jason L. Saunders, Chairman
            Department of Philosophy
            University of California
            San Diego, California 92037 [sic]
My Dear Professor Saunders:
    With sincere thanks I acknowledge your letter of August 21 and thank you for the confidence which it expresses.
     It is with the greatest joy that I express my opinion about Herbert Marcuse, for many years my colleague at The Institute for Social Research, and my old friend. I have the highest opinion about his intellectual qualities as well as his humane and moral integrity. His power of thought and intellectual energy, his opposition to all the "mechanisms of stupefication" [sic] to which we are exposed today, speak for themselves. There is no particular need to acknowledge and comment on his fame. For myself, I can only say that during the course of a life-long friendship, his outstanding productive abilities have proved themselves without any sign of a diminution of his intellectual powers. And, my vote should perhaps have a certain weight inasmuch as I have known him and thought so highly of him for a long time, and long before world-wide recognition thrust his name into prominence. But, I can most emphatically assure you that even that recognition has not spoiled him in the slightest, and that he has not changed at all. He is altogether without conceit and without pretension, as only truly great men can permit themselves to be.
     Perhaps I should add that Herbert is, as I am myself, opposed to the violence which manifests itself as one form of the universal repression which we both fear. His sense of reality and his profound sense of humor protect him from evaluating any movement out of proportion to the actual balance of power. He has maintained his independence from the so-called extra-parliamentary opposition in Germany as publicly and as unflinchingly as he has opposed the threatening reaction in the Western World, and just as he has always opposed the Communist terror. He and I are in agreement in our fundamental positions, although these have developed independently. Thus, I do not feel that I am a blind partisan when I speak so strongly on his behalf. I must say that his age certainly presents no difficulty; I have never yet seen a man of 70 who in every aspect, and to an almost unbelievable degree, has so preserved his youth.
     These words represent my spontaneous reaction to your letter. Should there be any need for document [sic] which would be something more of the character of a formal statement and which should be written in English, please let me know as soon as possible. Of course, I would reply immediately. I hope with all my heart that this letter will serve your purpose.
With very best wishes, I remain devotedly,
Theodor W. Adorno

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Marcuse's Presidential Address to the Pacific APA, 1969

Here is a link via the indispensable marcuse.org to Herbert Marcuse's Address to the American Philosophical Association at its Forty-third annual meeting in Portland, Oregon, March 28, 1969, entitled: "The Relevance of Reality".
     The paper begins with Thales, the original philosopher according to the Aristotelian tradition. Yet the paper is through and through focused on the present and concrete proposals for change.

Marcuse in America- Exile as Educator

Recent article by Charles Reitz in Fast Capitalism 5.2 (2009) argues that Marcuse was a decisive influence on post-war Academia in the US, especially through the invention and advancement of "critical theory". He also discusses Marcuse's impact on academic philosophy in the following paragraph.
In my estimation, Marcuse’s efforts to deprovincialize U.S. culture have actually led to a recovery of philosophy in the post-60s United States academic context, especially among a new generation of scholars in the humanities and social sciences who are more conscious than ever of issues arising from conflicts involved in the context of our political, moral, and academic culture. After WW II, logical positivism had attained a near monopoly in U.S. graduate schools of philosophy and generally prevailed as the underlying scholarly methodology within the undergraduate curricula as well. European approaches such as phenomenology, existentialism, Marxism, and critical theory tended to be severely marginalized, especially at the most prestigious private and the largest state universities. Although Marcuse died in 1979, for me it is impossible to believe that the philosophical upheavals which developed throughout the 1980s in the American Philosophical Association, for example, splitting “analysts” and “pluralists” were not substantially due to his influence. My personal supposition is that the APA’s own kind of Positivistenstreit could not have occurred apart from Herbert Marcuse’s immense impact in One-Dimensional Man. This was republished in 1991 with a new introduction by Douglas Kellner: further testimony to its ongoing pertinence to continuing controversies. See also Marcuse’s (1969b) APA address “The Relevance of Reality” which vividly demonstrates his radical and heretical stance vis à vis U.S. academic philosophy. Marcuse called for a rethinking of the relevance of reality in four key areas of philosophy: 1) linguistic analysis, emphasizing a new, more political linguistics; 2) aesthetics, emphasizing the nexus of artwork and society; 3) epistemology, moving towards a historical understanding of transcendent knowledge; and 4) the history of philosophy itself, emphasizing the internal relationships linking theory of knowledge (and hence theory of education) to the theory of government and the theory of politics since Plato: “authentic democracy presupposes equality in the ways, means, and time necessary for acquiring the highest level of knowledge” (Marcuse 1969b).
The 1969 referred to is Marcuse's Presidential Address to the Pacific APA: “The Relevance of Reality” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Association. 1968-69.

On the founding of the department

Richard Popkin wrote the following article for inclusion in: The Centennial Record of the University of California, 1868-1968.  From it we can establish:

  • The exact date of the founding of the department (July 1, 1963)
  • The founding members: Richard Popkin, Jason Saunders, and Avrum Stroll
  • The next hired members: Paul Henry, Herbert Marcuse, and William Bartley
  • The beginnings of the graduate program in 1963-1964 (9 students); the fist Ph. D. candidacy (1965) and first graduate degree awarded (M.A. in June 1965) 
  •  The beginnings of the undergraduate program in 1963-1964
  • The early emphasis on history of philosophy and social-political philosophy

Philosophy: The Department of Philosophy was formed on July 1, 1963, with the appointment of Professors Richard H. Popkin (chairman), Jason L. Saunders, and Avrum Stroll. In 1964-66, Professors Paul Henry, Herbert Marcuse, Associate Professor William W. Bartley III, and some temporary members were added to the staff.
     Graduate instruction began in the academic year 1963-64 with nine graduate students. In 1964-65, there were 22 graduate students and in 1965-66, there will be more than 40. In January, 1965, the department received authorization for its M.A. and Ph.D. programs. In May, 1965, its first student was advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree and in June, 1965, its first M.A. degree was awarded.
Undergraduate instruction began in 1964- 65, when the first freshman class was admitted. The department, in cooperation with the Department of Literature, offered the freshman humanities course to the entire freshman class (176 students). An elective introductory course was also offered to 16 freshmen in the spring of 1965. In 1965-66, the department will participate in both the freshman and sophomore humanities course in Revelle College, as well as offering elective philosophy courses at the sophomore and junior levels.
     The curriculum at both the undergraduate and graduate level is designed to emphasize the history of philosophy, political and social thought, and the widest possible variety of philosophical approaches. It is hoped thereby to provide students with a solid foundation and to encourage them to do independent, imaginative, mature, and self- critical work in philosophy.
     In its first two years, the department has also sponsored a public symposium on The Relevance of Philosophy Today, a campus-wide symposium on Marxism, a lecture series on Galileo (in conjunction with the Department of Literature), and a departmental col- loquium on Contemporary European Philosophy. The editorial office of the Journal of the History of Philosophy is in the department. The department has also initiated a cooperative graduate program with the Irvine campus.
-RICHARD H. POPKIN

Source: The Centennial Record of the University of California, 1868-1968. A Centennial Publication of the University of California. Compiled and Edited by Verne A. Stadtman and the Centennial Publications Staff. Link to HTML version at the University of California History Digital Archives:
http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/~ucalhist/general_history/campuses/ucsd/departments_p.html#philosophy

Friday, April 30, 2010

Lowell Bergman, Herbert Marcuse, and Al Pacino

Lowell A. Bergman is an American investigative reporter with The New York Times and a producer/correspondent for the PBS documentary series Frontline. Bergman is also the Reva and David Logan Distinguished Professor at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where he has taught a seminar dedicated to investigative reporting for over 15 years. Bergman has received top honors in both print and broadcasting. In 2004, he shared the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service with David Barstow. 
(Source: Wikipedia, s.v. Lowell A. Bergman) 

Professor Bergman was also a graduate fellow in philosophy at the University of California, San Diego, where he studied under Herbert Marcuse from 1966-1969. 

See him portrayed by Al Pacino in the 1999 movie The Insider discussing studying philosophy at "UC La Jolla" (fast forward to 7:30 on this clip).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRKpxVXLBNQ

Doug Ireland, in an article posted to ZNET, transcribes an interview that journalist Danny Postel did with Lowell Bergman about Marcuse, in which he reflects on UCSD and La Jolla. I quote extensively from Ireland’s article below. After the quotation are links to Ireland’s article and to Lowell Bergman’s website.
Danny Postel did a long interview about Marcuse with the investigative journalist Lowell Bergman ... Lowell recounts his experiences with Marcuse, how they led to Bergman's career in journalism, and the influence Marcuse had on Bergman's work: 
"I studied with Marcuse as a graduate fellow in philosophy at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) from 1966 to 1969," Bergman told Postel. " It was a Ph.D. program in the history of philosophy.....My first real contact with Marcuse came [when] reading his book Reason and Revolution, which remains one of the best, if not the best, expositions of Hegel in English. It was—maybe there are others now—the only coherent presentation of his philosophical insights in relation to the development of Marx's thought. That book led me to read some of his writings from his time in Frankfurt [Ger.], especially a seminal essay on liberalism... 
"...One-Dimensional Man provided a unique way of looking at the rise of the authoritarian state in advanced industrial society. The suppleness of the analysis provided a way of thinking that ran counter to the dominant notion of 'progress' and 'Nature' that permeated thinking on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Marcuse began to articulate ideas about the way in which the culture and mass media were no longer presenting information except for the sake of presenting it. There was no depth, no history, no analysis. Information for information's sake without any attempt to help people understand.... 
"[My] jump to journalism was...in 1969, " Bergman (left) continues. "The spark was the incessant appearance of editorials in the San Diego Union-Tribune demanding that the University of California regents fire Marcuse. This came after students in Europe ran around in 1968 chanting "Marx, Mao, Marcuse!" When Herbert went back to Germany that summer he was feted not just at universities but at outdoor rallies....Back in San Diego, the very conservative community reacted at first with virulent publicity and then physical harassment. Marcuse's telephone lines at home were cut. Someone drove by and fired at his garage door. There were phone threats. The tension was mounting. San Diego had an active right-wing vigilante movement, which I encountered later when I got into journalism. So his graduate students decided to start escorting him to school every morning, a 15-minute walk. This was in the time when UCSD was a small campus with a small undergraduate college and as many graduate students. 
"This experience led the students to discuss the idea of putting out an alternative newspaper in what was and is a monopoly newspaper town. San Diego was not only the largest staging area for the Vietnam War; it was also home to a large military retirement community and politics that made parts of the deep South look liberal. Thus was born the San Diego Free Press, which a year later was renamed the San Diego Street Journal....The publicity [about Marcuse] in Europe—and it was then repeated in the U.S. press—that [Marcuse] was an ideological leader came to the attention of the anticommunist ideologues associated with the Copley Press (the San Diego Union-Tribune). In those days the paper, now a conservative but civilized rag, was to the right of Barry Goldwater. Richard Nixon called San Diego his 'favorite city.'... 
"Marcuse was a symbol, which became even more threatening when one of his students, a veteran of the Hegel seminar and before that a student of Marcuse's at Brandeis, went to work at UCLA. That was Angela Davis (below left). The ensuing row brought in [then] governor Ronald Reagan and more action to terminate her appointment. Marcuse's own reputation, enhanced by hers, made him a central target of the anticommunists of the Reagan right in the late '60s. ... I guess what I'm getting at is that one doesn't normally associate political upheaval and mass mobilization with philosophy professors—at least not in the United States. Moreover, the figure of Marcuse doesn't exactly square with the style and tone of the '60s counterculture. There was something of a baroque quality about him: By that time he was fairly ancient, wore nice suits, spoke with a heavy German accent. There's a striking scene in the documentary film Herbert's Hippopotamus in which a group of student activists are holding a demonstration of some sort on the UCSD campus. They're running around, banging on drums, singing—and then Marcuse steps up to speak, using language right out of 19th-century German philosophy. Yet he captivated them. They fell silent and listened to his every word. This struck me. What was it about him—because I think he was fairly unique in this sense that so many young people revered and were inspired by? 
"...Despite his Germanic professorial bearings and his old world roots, Marcuse was a captivating orator. His lectures on Hegel were phenomenal. The best way to describe them is to read Reason and Revolution. Few, if any, books on Hegelian philosophy and its aftermath are so cogent and to the point. In the world of UCSD at the time, Marcuse was an intellectual superstar. It was a little surreal, in the midst of San Diego county, high on a plateau, within sight of the largest military complex in the world.... 
"Marcuse's dialectical analysis did not depend on heavy-handed 'conspiracy' theories or mechanistic economic determinism. That would save me from falling into some of the simplistic traps that lure many people looking for tidy explanations...."

Doug Ireland's article can be found at these sites:
http://direland.typepad.com/direland/2005/07/remembering_her.html
http://www.zcommunications.org/remembering-herbert-marcuse-by-doug-ireland

Lowell Bergman’s Berkeley website is here: 
http://journalism.berkeley.edu/faculty/bergman

UCSD philosophy undergraduates featured in the San Diego Reader

Feature Article in the San Diego Reader about undergraduate philosophy majors at UCSD.
San Diego Reader | Philosophy Majors Sit Around and Think About Things


Portraits of Herbert Marcuse

The UCSD library collections online have published a set of portraits of Herbert Marcuse taken while he was a professor in the philosophy department at UCSD.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

MacArthur Fellowships

Two members of the UCSD Philosophy Department have been awarded MacArthur Fellowships. How many other philosophy departments can boast of even one?

1993: Nancy Cartwright, Philosophy 
1991: Patricia Churchland, Philosophy

More information on the award can be found here.

Date of founding of the department

According to the "Historical Overview: San Diego" over at the University of California History digital archives, the department of philosophy at UCSD was established in 1963 just before the University was opened to undergraduates:
The campus had already branched into fields other than science and engineering with the establishment of Departments of Philosophy and Literature during 1963. In the fall of 1964, the campus opened for undergraduates offering a basic lower division curriculum preparing students for upper division majors in the humanities, the social sciences, the biological sciences, the physical sciences, and mathematics. A total of 181 freshmen enrolled in the pioneering undergraduate class.
One can put this in perspective relative to the establishment of the "University of California, San Diego" in 1960, which had previously been known as an "Institute of Technology and Engineering".
The first faculty appointment for the School of Science and Engineering was made in July, 1957, and was supported by a large grant of funds from the General Dynamics Corporation. By June 30, 1959, seven faculty appointments had been made and a total of 36 appointments had been approved for the 1959-60 fiscal year. The school enrolled its first graduate students in 1960 in the physical sciences.
From this beginning, the program was rapidly developed in the humanities and social sciences. By the mid-1960's, research ranged from the problems of cosmochemistry to studies of seventeenth-century philosophy. The teaching program reflected a broad spectrum of learning, with offerings in aerospace and mechanical engineering sciences, applied electrophysics, biology, chemistry, earth sciences, economics, history, languages, linguistics, literature, philosophy, physics, and psychology.
The Regents on November 18, 1960, selected the University of California, San Diego, as the name for the general campus in the La Jolla-San Diego area.

Stanley W. Moore Remembrance

A remembrance of Stanley W. Moore (1914-1997), founding member of the Philosophy Department at UCSD, by his colleagues Richard J. Arneson, Frederick A. Olafson, Avrum Stroll, and Georgios H. Anagnostopoulos.
Stanley Moore, who taught at the UCSD Philosophy Department from 1965 until his retirement in 1974, died on December 5, 1997 in Santa Barbara at the age of 83. Stanley was a distinguished social and political philosopher, whose specialty was the work of Karl Marx. He was the author of numerous papers and four books--The Critique of Capitalist Democracy (1957), Three Tactics (1963), Marx and the Choice Between Socialism and Communism (1980), and Marx Versus Markets (1993).
The first of these works is more expository than critical. The latter three relentlessly explore a deceptively simple question: Why does Karl Marx call for the elimination not only of the inequalities he associated with capitalist private ownership but also the institution of market exchange? In other words, why does Marx envisage the ideal of humane and decent social order in the form of communist society? The issue goes to the core of Marx's intellectual legacy. Stanley Moore's writings analyze the issue with scrupulous scholarly care in the interpretation of Marx's text, a generous sympathy with the values of solidarity and emancipation he discerned in these texts, and a rigorous intelligence directed to the exposure of Marx's mistakes and evasions that have a bearing on his historical prophecies and revolutionary urgings. Moore's conclusion is that Marx has no good arguments that should persuade us to follow him beyond the condemnation of exploitation to the rejection of markets and exchange. For many years after his formal retirement, Moore continued his sensible and nuanced reflections as to how to extract the rational kernel of Marx's radicalism from the romantic and utopian shell in which it seemed to be encased. In his last writings he proposed a pairing of Rousseau's emphasis on economic transformation. All of Stanley Moore's writings felicitously combine the qualities of a rigorous scholar and staunch social critic.
During the nine years of his stay at UC San Diego Stanley was an invaluable colleague and a sane, steadying influence in the affairs of the Department of Philosophy. He was a man of excellent judgment, realistic, unsentimental, and concerned above all for academic and humanistic values. He was also that rare thing--a gentleman in the best sense of that much abused term--and as such he contributed to the broader education of his students as he did to their progress in philosophical studies. He was a very effective teacher at both the undergraduate and the graduate levels, blessed with an extraordinary memory for the literal wording of texts; and the directness and clarity of both his thought and his manner were great assets to him as a teacher. He was also a most congenial companion with a fine sense of humor and a strong allergy to cant of all varieties. Altogether, he combined the qualities of a scholar and a humane commentator on the life of his time in a wholly admirable way.
Stanley was a person of principle--fearless, and fair-minded. He became nationally famous in the profession because of his courageous stand against the encroachments of McCarthyism on academic freedom. In 1954 he lost his tenure position as Professor of Philosophy at Reed College when he refused to answer questions about his political affiliations before the House Un-American Activities Committee. In characteristically witty fashion Stanley remarked at the end of the hearings, "When this investigation started, I predicted that I would win the argument and lose the job. My prediction . . . has now been confirmed."
Stanley was right. He won the argument. In 1996, the Oregon Historical Quarterly published an 80-page article by Michael Munk entitled "Oregon Tests Academic Freedom in (Cold) Wartime: The Reed College Trustees versus Stanley Moore," that meticulously described the events that resulted in Moore's dismissal. In this essay, Munk reproduces a statement of "regret" by the Board of Trustees and the Reed administration, that was published in 1981. This statement formally revised the judgment of the 1954 trustees. In 1993, the president of Reed invited Stanley to visit the College, and in 1995 the last surviving member of the Board that fired Stanley expressed his regret and apologized to him.
As Munk reports, Moore waited 24 years to surprise both sides by telling the Oregonian in 1978 that he had been a member of the Communist party when he came to Reed but that he had left it before the HUAC hearings began. While still describing himself as a Marxist (albeit a "more critical one") he said he quit the party 18 months before the HUAC hearings because, "I couldn't stomach the American organization's kowtowing to Moscow on the so-called 'doctor's plot,' which had been announced in January 1953 and was declared a 'fabrication' shortly after Stalin's death just two months later."
Thus, had Moore been willing to accept the authority of his interrogators, he could have passed the trustees' political test. That is, he could have told them, truthfully, that he was not now a Communist. But as he stated at the time, he had decided not to do so in order to help Reed defend its historical attachment to academic freedom "against the fickle tides" of public opinion. As Michael Munk writes at the end of his essay, "Those who chose to play the historical moment of McCarthyism, and therefore dishonored Reed's proud distinction, still have Moore's challenging question echoing against their reputations: "If the careful deliberate judgment of the academic community is reversed in order to placate influential demagogues, who--more than forty years later--stands condemned?"
Having been fired under these conditions, Stanley was unable to find a permanent teaching post for another decade, even though he was widely regarded as one of the most knowledgeable philosophical historians in America. He did teach during the period of 1955-1965 on a part-time basis at Barnard College. During this hiatus most of his time was spent researching and writing. In 1964, the new UCSD philosophy department, chaired by Richard Popkin and whose other members were Jason Saunders and Avrum Stroll, proposed a symposium on the topic "Marx Today." With financial support from Chancellor Herbert York and Dean Keith Brueckner, the department arranged for a three-day conference that was held in Sumner Auditorium. The main speakers were Stanley Moore, Herbert Marcuse, Lewis Feuer, and the moderator was Joseph Tussman of UC Berkeley. This conference caused a sensation on campus. It had virtually one hundred percent attendance from the scientific community. Its stars were Moore and Marcuse, and with the enthusiastic support of York and Brueckner, and such faculty members as S. J. Singer and James Arnold, we managed to hire both of them. It began an auspicious period that gave international visibility to the department. Those of us fortunate enough to have known Stanley will sorely miss him.
Source: University of California: In Memoriam, 1998 David Krogh, Editor. A publication of the Academic Senate, University of California, Available at:

Avrum Stroll

UPDATE: See now the IN MEMORIUM notice, here.

Avrum received his Ph.D. from UC, Berkeley. He joined the Philosophy Department as a professor in 1963 and became chair in 1965 and 1968. His areas of specialization are philosophy of language, epistemology, history of 20th century analytic philosophy, and Wittgenstein studies. He is the author and co-author of twenty books and about 150 articles. Seven of the books were co-authored with Richard H. Popkin. Avrum's latest publications are "Searle on Knowledge, Certainty and Skepticism" in Searle's Philosophy and Chinese Philosophy: Constructive Engagement, "Philosophy in the Future" in Rescher Studies, and Much Ado About Non-Existence: Fiction and Reference (with A.P. Martinich, University of Texas at Austin). Publications in 2008 include "Richard Popkin and Philosophy Made Simple" in Essays in Honor of Richard Popkin, "Metaphysics Revived" in A Companion to Philosophy, and Moore's Paradox Revisited. Avrum has also written referee reports for Cambridge University Press and for Blackwell Pubishing. He has also written reviews for Mind and for the Internet Publications in Philosophy.

Avrum is currently Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at UCSD.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Festschrift for Richard Popkin

A book exploring the influence of the founder of the UCSD philosophy department, Richard Popkin.

Science Studies

In this post, I have begun to collect some information about the founding of the Science Studies program.

Science Studies was founded in 1989 by four departments: communication, history, philosophy, and sociology.

Here is a link to an abstract of an article about the subject in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The Essential Marcuse - UCSD-TV

The following is a talk by UCSD Philosophy Ph.D. Andrew Feenberg in which he recollects studying under Marcuse at UCSD.

First Aired: 10/30/2007
59 minutes

Andrew Feenberg discusses his new collection of essays by Herbert Marcuse. The most influential radical philosopher of the 1960s, Marcuse's writings are noteworthy for their uncompromising opposition to both capitalism and communism.

The Essential Marcuse - UCSD-TV - University of California Television

Herbert's Hippopotomus: Marcuse and Revolution in Paradise

Herbert Marcuse was hired by the philosophy department at UCSD in 1965. Here is a video documentary about his time at UCSD.

Herbert's Hippopotamus: Marcuse and Revolution in Paradise
56:49 - 3 years ago
This documentary examines the turbulent life in California of political philosopher Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979), author of One-Dimensional Man, Reason and Revolution and Eros and Civilization, among other books, professor of philosophy at the University of California San Diego, and a visionary and influential force for the student movement worldwide during the Sixties and Seventies. Blending archival footage, interviews, re- created scenes and voice-over narration, the video profiles not only the life of Marcuse but also the history of student protest and social activism. The video features interviews with Marcuse's student Angela Davis, former UCSD Chancellor William McGill, colleagues Fredric Jameson and Reinhard Lettau, and rare footage of Marcuse and former California Governor Ronald Reagan. Directed by Paul Alexander Juutilainen