Sixty Years of Philosophy in a Life*
One theme in this chapter is education, training as a philosopher, and the main stages of a philosophical career. The other theme is philosophical and institutional changes in American philosophy. Considering sensitivity to religious and other injustices by a childhood as a Jew in an anti-Semitic American community, the chapter notes the decline during the last few decades of institutionalized anti-Semitism in universities, and the (still inadequate) increase in opportunities for women and African-Americans. The chapter notes the change from the ‘old-boy’ placement system observed and its replacement by a fairer system of advertising and interviewing for jobs. The huge increase in numbers of philosophy teachers and institutions teaching the subject probably had more to do with this change than any strong sense of the moral inadequacies of the older system. Work in the history of philosophy, and especially the history of moral philosophy, was not highly regarded during the last few decades; this attitude toward history is slowly altering for the better. The chapter recounts his involvement with the APA, as starting its committee on teaching, and serving as president of the Eastern division and then as chair of the Board. It particularly notes the support received.
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