Professor of Philosophy, 1967-2001
I spent a lot of time and effort on Aristotle while I was at Pitzer, and his philosophical and scientific writings have been important to a lot of the work I’ve done since. If I had to choose just one of his books, I’d vote for On the Soul. The edition I worked on was the bilingual one in the Loeb Classical Library – W.S. Hett, M.A., translator.
Mark (not Kurt – this is Kurt’s son) Vonnegut (1947- ), Eden Express (1975), a splendidly written memoir of his schizophrenic breakdown and recovery. The first freshman advisee I met when I started working at Pitzer began our advising meeting by explaining that she was considering suicide and wanted my opinion of whether it would be better to drive off Baldy Road or take some kind of poison. Eden Express helped me enormously in trying to understand what was going on with her and other mentally disturbed students (and others, too) over the years. It was also valuable to my thinking about schizophrenia with people who have been studying philosophical issues raised by the current revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
An Analysis of Knowledge and Valuation (1946) by Clarence Irving Lewis (1883–1964) is one of the masterpieces of American philosophy (not to say 20th-century English language philosophy). It was the backdrop for the kind of theory of knowledge I worked on until I gave up on analytic philosophy.