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).

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 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:

Lowell Bergman’s Berkeley website is here:

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

Journal of the History of Philosophy

Journal of the History of Philosophy was established by Richard Popkin at UCSD in 1963. On the journal's website one finds the following historical information:

Founded in response to a motion passed by the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association in December 1957 approving "the establishment of a journal devoted to the history of philosophy," the Journal of the History of Philosophy is an internationally recognized quarterly that publishes peer-reviewed articles, notes, discussions, and book reviews devoted to the history of Western philosophy, broadly conceived. Now in its forty-seventh year, the Journal is published by The Johns Hopkins University Press and is available online at Project Muse.
"The Journal of the History of Philosophy is the oldest journal devoted to scholarship in English on all periods of the history of philosophy. It has been the venue for many seminal articles over the years, and its articles and extensive reviews remain indispensible reading for every student of the history of philosophy."
Paul Guyer, University of Pennsylvania
"The Journal of the History of Philosophy has established itself as the leading American journal in the field; it is essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in the history of philosophy."
Nicholas Jolley, University of California, Irvine