Saturday, May 1, 2010

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.

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:

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