Monday, March 14, 2011

From Historical to Eliminative Materialism (via German Idealism), part 2: the 1970s

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The 1970s

Although Paul Henry and Richard Popkin had left the Department by 1973, UCSD Philosophy continued to build on its strengths throughout the decade of the 1970s, adding several faculty members who remain among its most active and important.
In the history of philosophy, Georgios H. Anagnostopoulos had been hired as an Assistant Professor in 1969. His research focuses on Aristotle. Georgios chaired the department from 1983-1987 (and again from 1999-2001 before becoming Acting dean of the Division of Arts and Humanities in 2001-2002). In 1974 Professor Henry E. Allison, a major scholar of modern philosophy and extremely able replacement for Richard Popkin, was hired. Henry was later named Research Professor 1995 and is currently Emeritus (as of 1997). Henry chaired the department immediately before Georgios from 1979-1983. Rapidly adding to its strength in German idealism, the department hired as Assistant Professors Robert B. Pippin in 1975, and S. Nicholas Jolley in 1978. In 1976 UCSD added Professor Edward N. Lee to its roster of Greek philosophers, and he remains Emeritus Professor (as of 1995).
These five recruitments in the history of philosophy continued the strong tradition in history of philosophy that Popkin had established, and three other hires during the decade also strengthened its position in social and political philosophy, adding to the already formidable presence in the department of Herbert Marcuse and Stanley Moore.
In 1971, UCSD recruited away from Harvard’s School of Education Professor Frederick A. Olafson in 1971. Olafson soon became Chair of the Department from 1973-1977; he remains Emeritus Professor (as of 1992). The department made two further hires of Assistant Professors who remain active on the faculty today as full Professors: Richard J. Arneson joined the faculty in 1973, and Gerald. D. Doppelt in 1975.
In the area of philosophy of language, linguistics, metaphysics, and epistemology, an area in which Avrum Stroll had established a name for UCSD, the department hired Professor Zeno Vendler in 1975 (Emeritus, 1988). Vendler had been a founder of the Philosophy Department at the University of Calgary. Avrum Stroll and Fred Olafson wrote an interesting remembrance of him that was published in the Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association.
Avrum Stroll and Richard Popkin, having already written together two best-selling introductory philosophy textbooks (Philosophy Made Simple, New York, 1954; Introduction to Philosophy, New York, 1961), revised the Introduction to Philosophy into a second edition (New York, 1972), and also produced a companion volume, Introductory Readings in Philosophy (New York, 1972). Although Stroll and Popkin went on to produce two other introductory philosophy textbooks (!), the two published in 1972 are of particular interest because of what they show about the UCSD undergraduate philosophy curriculum in the 1960s and 1970s. The curriculum is grounded in the reading of extended passages from primary sources from the history of philosophy (Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley, Spinoza, and Hume). This tradition of introducing students to philosophy through the reading of primary sources in the history of philosophy continues in the department to this day. For contemporary philosophy, the introductory students in the 1970s read J. L. Austin. In political philosophy, they were made to read Herbert Marcuse’s most influential piece of writing, the essay “Repressive Tolerance”, reprinted in Introductory Readings in Philosophy in its entirety. In the Introduction to Philosophy, Stroll and Popkin both explain and criticize Marcuse’s political philosophy. This shows an extraordinarily high level of collegiality, collaboration, and mutual criticism in the department. One can only hope that the UCSD Philosophy department remains as vibrant today.

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